Can Montana University System employees engage in political activity?
Yes. Montana University System employees have a right to free speech but may not use public time, money, facilities, equipment, materials, supplies, networks, systems, or other public resources for political activity or for the purpose of trying to influence political or legislative action. Refer to the Official Interpretation of the Commissioner of Higher Education on Political Activity by Public Employees for specific prohibitions and allowable activities.
Can Montana University System employees be censored or disciplined for speaking or writing their personal views as citizens?
No. These freedoms and protections are fundamental to the preservation of free speech and academic freedom. In addition to respecting appropriate use of public resources and facilities, please remember that the public may judge the professions and the institutions of the MUS by the comments or statements of MUS personnel. This issue is addressed in the BOR Academic Freedom and Responsibility policy.
What is the University’s policy regarding firearms on campus?
Statement from UM Office of Legal Counsel regarding recent changes to Montana firearm laws:
Many constituencies have been closely following the Montana Board of Regents’ actions regarding HB 102, which was passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature and would significantly change long-standing Board of Regents policy regarding firearms on campuses.
The Board of Regents voted unanimously May 19 to seek judicial review of HB 102 to determine whether the law improperly encroaches upon the constitutional role and autonomy of the Board as articulated under Article X, § 9 of the Montana Constitution. The Board determined judicial review is an appropriate course of action to ensure that the constitutional roles of each entity are being properly exercised.
Today a court in Helena temporarily enjoined the June 1 effective date of HB 102 for the university system. Until further notice, Board of Regents Policy 1006 remains in effect and is the current policy with regards to firearms on campus. All existing processes and procedures remain in place and should be followed.
Current University of Montana policy relating to firearms on campus remains unchanged and in effect:
“The University of Montana restricts the possession and use of firearms on the campuses of the University of Montana. Individuals authorized to carry firearms without prior approval from the President or Chief of the University of Montana Police include:
- Peace officers
- Federal authorities who are empowered by federal law to be armed
Students living in residence halls or Residence Life facilities must store any firearm with the University of Montana Police and follow mandatory requirements for possession. All residents of the University Villages and Lewis and Clark Villages must register any firearm with Residence Life.”
Is the Office of Legal Counsel available to assist employees with personal legal issues?
No. The Office of Legal Counsel represents the University and its affiliate campuses. There are several resources that may help with personal legal issues found at: Montana Legal Resources.
Will the University protect me if I am sued in a civil court action?
Board of Regents Policy No. 804.4, provides that “Montana University System officers and employees are entitled to immunization, defense, and indemnification when sued civilly for their actions taken within the course and scope of their employment.” The policy does not apply in some instances: “No defense, indemnification nor immunity will be granted to an employee by the Board if (1) the conduct of the employee constitutes a criminal offense; (2) the employee compromises or settles the claim without the consent of the Board; or (3) the employee fails or refuses to cooperate reasonably in the defense of the case.” It is important as soon as you have notice that you are being sued in a civil action as an employee of the University that you contact University Legal Counsel immediately.
What is an electronic signature?
Under Montana and Federal Law, "The term "electronic signature means an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record."
How can I learn about UM's copyright policies and procedures related to campus captioning and media conversion?
This document is intended to serve as a guide for copyright policies and procedures for University faculty, staff and students.