Faculty, staff members, and friends of UM-Flint often ask how they can voice support for the nation's academic enterprise among elected leaders. UM-Flint encourages civic and political engagment by all members of the university community and offers the following as guidance for those of you who wish to contact government officials.
The University of Michigan-Flint Advocacy program is a volunteer advocacy group that seeks to engage, inform, and encourage alumni and friends of the university. Group member communicate with members of the Michigan Assembly and other elected officials regarding issues of importance to the university and higher education.
We invite you to get involved. During the legislative session, there are typically two to three “calls for help” to contact legislators by means of letters, emails, texts, or phone calls (all necessary information is provided). Volunteer advocates are vitally important to the University’s efforts to increase and strengthen support for its teaching, research, and public service missions. We hope you will join us.
Primer on Lobbying
Federal and state governments have strict regulations on lobbying activities of universities and public organizations. The rules set specific limits on the amount that the University of Michigan-Flint may spend on lobbying. Additionally, the University is explicitly prohibited from participating or supporting partisan political activities.
What is Lobbying
According to the Internal Revenue Service, “lobbying” is defined as attempting to influence legislation. Organization are lobbying when they attempt to influence legislation by contacting, or urging the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation. Lobbying includes attempts to communicate with the following
- Any member or employee of a legislative body, government official, or public employee who may participate in the formulating the legislation.
- The general public or any segment of the general public (this is grassroots lobbying).
To be considered “lobbying,” the communication must also:
- Refer to specific legislation,
- Reflect a view on such legislation, and
- In the case of communications to the general public, it must also encourage recipients to take action about specific legislation.