Guiding principles for legislative session

With the Nebraska Legislature now in session, it is helpful to remind University of Nebraska employees and colleagues of guiding principles regarding communication and engagement with state elected and agency officials.

The university’s Executive Memorandum 2 names the NU vice president for external relations as the official representative for the entire university system to the governor’s office, the Nebraska Legislature, agencies of the state, Congress and federal agencies.

However, university employees are free to:

  • Engage with state elected officials as private individuals, not in an official university capacity.
  • Offer their personal expertise on public policy issues and make their personal opinions publicly known.
  • Join the UNMC Delegates program, which works with the UNMC Office of Government Relations to advocate on health and wellness issues.
  • Join the NU Advocates Program, which works with the NU vice president for external relations’ office to advocate to and share with state officials the University of Nebraska System’s impact across the state and issues impacting higher education.

Learn more about legislative do’s and don’ts at the UNMC Office of Government Relations website.

When asked to testify before the Nebraska Legislature:

Unless directed by the University of Nebraska senior leadership team to engage policymakers on a specific matter, employees must explicitly state that they are acting as an individual, not representing the official position of the University of Nebraska and not engaging with state officials while in an official capacity.

Advocating to the Nebraska Legislature or state agency officials:

Unless acting at the request of the president and chancellors, employees engaging in policy advocacy should do so on their own time and should not use university resources (i.e., letterhead or university email accounts or phones) to do so.

Meeting with the Nebraska Governor, state senators, and their staff:

University personnel should inform and coordinate with the UNMC Office of Government Relations on requests to visit with the governor, state senators, and members of their staffs if engaging in public policy or advocacy.

For more information or clarification, contact UNMC’s interim Vice Chancellor for External Relations Chris Kratochvil, MD, or UNMC’s Director of Government Relations Mark Bowen.

1 comment

  1. Ally DeringAnderson says:

    Great reminder – thank you for doing this

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