Dear faculty, staff, students and administration:
The university encourages faculty to participate fully in government processes — for example, by testifying before legislative committees — because this is a uniquely powerful way for KUMC to serve the State of Kansas. However, I request that you do so in a way that maximizes our effectiveness and coordination. The KU Lawrence campus has instituted a similar policy described below.
Should you accept an invitation to testify as an expert before a legislative committee, Board of Regents Policy requires that the Board be informed in advance of the testimony. To make this process as simple and efficient as possible, please contact Robert McCormack, government relations director, firstname.lastname@example.org. He can then notify our colleagues at the University of Kansas and the Kansas Board of Regents. You should plan to inform regarding the date, audience and topic you will be addressing. Please also provide a copy of the testimony, so that government relations and public affairs can be as prepared as possible for any comments or questions that follow.
I also ask that you explicitly inform your audience at the start of the testimony that you are testifying as an expert on the subject matter and not as an official spokesperson for the university. This step is very important because legislators often are not mindful of the crucial distinction between the informed opinions of our independent faculty members and official positions of the university as a public institution. If it's helpful to you, feel free to use the following language: "I want to emphasize that the opinions and perspectives in this testimony are my own and do not represent official Policy of the University of Kansas Medical Center or the views of university administration."
While not covered by Regents Policy, coordination of visits to Congress to see our representatives and senators in Washington, DC, is important to KUMC for many reasons. Just as with the state legislature, it is important for you to inform Public Affairs in advance of any meetings with members of the Kansas federal delegation or their staff.
In addition, whenever you write, phone or speak to members of the federal delegation about policy issues, please let them know clearly the vantage point from which you are speaking, i.e. private citizen, representative of a professional organization, etc. A disclaimer such as the one suggested for legislative testimony above should be part of your document.
Using your voice as an expert in your field is an invaluable way to advance the knowledge of science. I thank you for your commitment to get involved in the public policy process and appreciate your willingness to coordinate with our Office of Public Affairs.
Robert D. Simari, M.D.
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor