U.S. Election Guidance

Because election day (Nov. 8, 2016) is quickly approaching, the university is providing information to help everyone in our campus community — students, faculty and staff understand the policies and guidelines that are in place regarding electioneering, leafleting, chalking and other political activities.

Towson University values and supports the expression and exchange of ideas and encourages its students, faculty and staff to exercise their rights and privileges by participating in the political process. At the same time, the university does not condone behavior that violates the freedoms of speech, choice, assembly, or movement of other individuals or organizations. Responsible dissent and dialogue carries with it a sensitivity for the rights of others.

In accordance with both Maryland law and university policy, faculty and staff are expected to observe the following rules with respect to participation in national, state, or local political activities:

  • Individuals and groups within Towson University who endorse (or oppose) a candidate for political office, or who take a position on an issue for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate, must make it clear they are speaking as individuals and are not stating a university position.
  • Individuals and groups within the university community may not use Towson University's name or resources in connection with any political activity.
  • Towson University's name or logo may not be used on stationery or other documents intended for political purposes, including soliciting funds for political support or conducting a political campaign.
  • Towson University funds and other resources, including but not limited to bulk mail services, mailing lists/listservs, information technology services, office supplies and equipment may not be used for political purposes.
  • Towson University employees may not perform tasks related to partisan political activities during working hours or at their job location.

To help ensure that all state, University System of Maryland and Towson University requirements are followed, current policies and guidelines are listed below for your information.

Time, Place and Manner

Towson University supports the right of university students, faculty and staff to engage in protected speech and assembly, including demonstrations, marches, picketing, leafleting and protesting. However, university Time, Place and Manner Policies (PDF) have been established to ensure that such activities do not unreasonably disrupt university operations, violate the protected speech activity of others, endanger the safety of others, or risk destruction of university property. 

State Ethics Commission Guidelines

Maryland’s State Ethics Commission Guidelines (PDF) for state employees, including University System of Maryland and Towson University employees, are provided as guidance for your participation in political campaigns or political activities that take place outside normal work hours and at places other than your job location. 

Chalking Procedures

“Chalking” has become a standard communications, advertising and public awareness tool for student groups at Towson University. While the university administration fully supports student involvement and political engagement, students and student organizations who wish to chalk on campus must adhere to established Chalking Procedures (PDF)

Polling Places

Towson University serves as the location for two polling places for the general election, one for early voting (Administration Building) and the other on election day (University Union Loch Raven Room). As a general practice, the university supports electioneering in the vicinity of the two polling places on election day and during the early voting period. Certain areas near or adjacent to these polling places will be designated as limited public access areas on those days when these polling places are open for voting. Electioneering, including signs and leafleting, will be permitted in clearly specified areas during certain times. Signs must be removed by the candidate’s campaign representative within one hour after polls close. The university reserves the right to remove signs that are placed on campus outside the designated electioneering area.

The Administration Building and University Union will remain open, with normal operating hours, during the time the polls are open.

Additional Resources

The following resources provide additional important information for all persons who wish to vote in the state of Maryland, and for college students (at TU and elsewhere) who wish to vote in Maryland regardless of whether they are in-state or out-of-state students: