Hosting Political Candidates or Elected Officials

Office of Public Affairs and Communications

As an academic community, Notre Dame is defined by free inquiry and open discussion, where those with differing perspectives and viewpoints can engage one another in rigorous but respectful dialogue about the ideas and challenges of our time. We hope the Notre Dame community will always provide an example of the form of discourse that should animate our democracy.

As committed as we are to freedom of expression, the University is a nonprofit organization with certain obligations under federal law regarding its interactions with political campaigns. Quite simply, Notre Dame cannot participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The principle applies at all levels of politics—federal, state, and local.

While this general principle is straightforward, its application can be complex based on particular facts and circumstances. For this reason, the University has developed Requirements for Hosting Political Candidates or Elected Officials and accompanying FAQs.

Please note that under the policy, any invitation to elected officials or political candidates to visit or speak must first be reviewed and approved by the Office of Public Affairs and Communications ( and/or the Office of the President (, to ensure appropriate hosting and compliance with applicable laws. If you or your department/organization are contemplating extending an invitation to a presidential candidate—including those who are known to be contemplating such a candidacy but have not yet made a formal announcement—please contact Ann Firth (, vice president and chief of staff in the Office of the President. If you are contemplating an invitation to a U.S. congressional, state, or local candidate or elected official, please contact Tim Sexton (, interim vice president for public affairs and communications.

We encourage you to review the University’s policy and the FAQs as they address a wide range of issues and circumstances. Additionally, we would like to draw your attention particularly to the following overarching concepts:

  • Communications issued on behalf of the University (by departments, offices, leaders, or in a representative capacity by faculty or staff) cannot express endorsement of or opposition to a candidate for public office.
  • Political fundraising is absolutely prohibited on campus, and University funds cannot be donated to or expended on behalf of a political campaign or candidate.
  • University email, letterhead, and websites cannot be used in furtherance of a political candidate, political campaign, or political organization.
  • Any use of campus facilities in connection with political candidates and elected officials must follow the guidelines referenced above.
  • Staff and faculty should not engage in activities in support of or opposition to a political campaign or candidate during their working hours.
  • If a candidate is invited to speak on campus, the University must provide equal opportunity to all candidates for that particular office to speak on campus in accord with and consistent with University policies. The same parameters and provisions must apply for all such candidates.