My University in a Political Campaign Video

During the first year of studies at AUA students are required to pass an online introduction course to AUA policies and code of ethics. We learn how important it is to follow policies and laws in order to maintain healthy environment for any company, organization, and for each citizen.

And, I do so.

On the first day of pre-elections campaign of Yerevan Avagani (Assembly of Aldermen), we are introduced with a promotional video of Republican Party of Armenia.

What a surprise! We see AUA’s classroom during the first few seconds. It is practically impossible not to recognize because no other university has a similar classroom. Furthermore, the scene shows students and a lecturer.

 

Would an average person understand that it does not represent the political preferences of AUA students and lecturers? Do my lecturers and I have the right to be free of political propaganda?

Let us quickly refer to AUA policies. The chapter about political and religious activity at AUA states:

“As an institution committed to helping build Armenia’s future, AUA encourages its students, faculty, and staff to be active citizens. Moreover, the academic study of political processes is an important part of the university’s scholarly mission and is protected by academic freedom. At the same time, AUA must avoid partisan political activities that would suggest the university endorses a particular political party or candidate for office; nor can the university devote a substantial portion of its resources to lobbying in either the United States or Armenia.

Faculty and staff should note that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service denies non-profit tax-exempt status to any institution that supports a candidate for public office, and that nonprofit status can be revoked if a significant fraction of the institution’s activities is dedicated to political activity. Moreover, the U.S. Federal Corrupt Practices Act defines support broadly to include the donation of services such as facilities and equipment.”

Apparently, yes, I have that right.

I will withhold my assumptions until we will receive a public explanation from the University authorities.

 

With deepest sympathy,

Arpi Janyan

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