Dear Campus Community:
As you know, the College Republicans, a student organization here on campus, is sponsoring a campaign event for Donald J. Trump for President tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Trask Coliseum. According to UNC and UNCW policy, registered student organizations have the ability to host speakers and events, as is the case here. This is not a university-sponsored event, but we are nonetheless taking our obligations to our campus community's safety and well-being very seriously.
Whenever a political candidate visits campus, we expect a passionate response from both supporters and detractors. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, as a public university, UNCW must remain committed to free speech, the free exchange of ideas, and our faculty, staff and students' right to engage in political dialogue.
That said, the safety of our employees, students and visitors remains our paramount concern. Several police agencies are hard at work preparing for tomorrow's event, including UPD, the Wilmington Police Department, other local authorities, and the Secret Service. While we presume that the event will be a peaceful one, and we strongly encourage civility and respect among those planning to attend, we are preparing for all possibilities, as we would for any large campus event.
Those traveling to and from campus tomorrow should anticipate changes in traffic patterns. The doors of Trask open at 11 a.m. and we anticipate increased traffic well before and after the event. Regarding parking:
- Visitors on campus tomorrow for tours, admissions purposes, camps, etc., should be directed to park in the M lot (at the intersection of Riegel Road and Price Drive). If this lot fills up, an attendant will direct visitors to alternate locations.
- Two parking lots, Eaton Plaza (between Trask Coliseum and James Hall) and A Lot (between Hanover Gym and Hoggard Hall) will be closed as of 7 a.m. tomorrow. Employees who usually park in those lots should instead park in K Lot (Trask Coliseum), E Lot (Fisher Student Center) or C Lot (Kenan Auditorium).
It is appropriate to remind employees about prohibitions on the use of State/University resources as well as our positions as State employees related to partisan support of candidates, but also for our support or opposition to public or political issues at the local, regional and national levels. North Carolina law prohibits State employees from using their positions, or state property, equipment, and resources to support or oppose any person or political issue. For example, N.C.G.S. § 126-13 prohibits state employees from engaging “in political activity while on duty or within any period of time during which he is expected to perform services.” These prohibitions govern your activities while in your capacity as a State employee or surrounding the use of university equipment, including electronic resources, such as email.
Employees wishing to attend the student organization's event, or who plan to be absent from their duties tomorrow, should utilize the vacation leave policy subject to your supervisor's approval.
We appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by our on- and off-campus community, and want to reassure you that we are not taking them lightly. We are doing everything in our power to make this student organization's event a productive and safe one for all involved. Thank you for your continued engagement in these important matters.
Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli