UWM, its leaders and its faculty are often asked to speak out on public issues and current events. Here is guidance for those who are considering statements.

Representing the University

The chancellor is the only person authorized to speak on behalf of UWM or to designate someone to speak on behalf of UWM.

Anyone else must make it clear that they are speaking on their own behalf, not as a spokesperson for or representative of the university.

Subunit Statements

Departments or other subunits that wish to comment on public events or issues must:

  • Ensure their message is consistent with the institutional message
  • Receive approval from their division head
    • Academic departments should get approval from their dean as well as the provost.
  • Consult with Olivia (Liv) Hwang, the vice chancellor for Marketing & Communications, before issuing or posting their statement

Departments and subunits also should look at what associations within higher education are doing and consider adding their voices to a broader group statement, rather than issuing their own. They should ensure that all group statements are consistent with this guidance.

Faculty Experts

Faculty members may wish to add their voice to public discussion on issues and events where they have expertise. In these situations, they should:

  • Make it clear that they are speaking as academic experts and not as a spokesperson for the university or their department
  • Clearly articulate their academic qualifications and stay within the bounds of their expertise
  • Present their comment as an academic review/analysis for public consideration
  • Avoid taking a political position
  • Exercise caution when speculating about actions or events that have not yet taken place

Crafting Messages

All messages must comply with UW System guidance on political activity, both in their content and the resources used to create and disseminate them.

In addition, strong messages will:

  • Reflect the university’s core values
  • Acknowledge the event or issue’s impact on the campus community and offer links to university resources
  • Recognize that there will be a difference of opinion within our campus community
  • Avoid references to outside groups, fundraising or advocacy