School of Global Studies


General election 2019 – a guide for Sussex staff

A general election will take place on Thursday 12 December. Many staff have been asking what this means in terms of how the University should engage with politicians and political parties during the campaign period.

As an institution, Sussex is politically neutral and our independence from party politics allows us to use our voice as an organisation effectively, to engage with representatives from across the political spectrum on behalf of the institution and to act as advocates for our staff and students.

During the pre-election period, which has now begun, the University has to comply with legislation that is regulated by the Electoral Commission and which requires us to abide by the relevant rules regarding political neutrality.  As a registered charity, the University must also comply with Charity Commission guidelines which require charities to ‘retain the essential quality of independence’.

As individuals, each of us have our own personal views and experiences and the University values the diversity of our Sussex community and the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech.  We recognise our staff may be involved in politics, or may wish to comment on policy positions in a personal capacity.

To help provide clarity about how to ensure the University remains compliant with the relevant guidance and legislation during the election period, a short guidance document for staff is now available. This includes advice for anyone who is actively involved in party politics, as well as advice about sharing views on social media and ensuring that University accounts or channels are not used in a way that could be perceived as party political.

All staff are encouraged to read this guide and to seek further advice from the External Relations division if they have any questions. Contact details are given in the guidance document.

We are also working with colleagues from across the University, the Students’ Union and IDS to arrange a hustings event on campus for local candidates. More details will be shared in due course.

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Posted on behalf of: External Relations
Last updated: Friday, 8 November 2019