The External Affairs team serves as the primary point of contact for the University’s interests in local, state and federal government processes. Primarily focused on monitoring/tracking, reporting, informing and communicating policy and funding priorities at various governmental levels, the External Affairs team also works to build and maintain productive relationships with all levels of community leaders, public officials and their staffs.
The University interacts with government officials in multiple ways across a variety of issues. To better illustrate the University’s relationship with public agencies, we’ve provided a brief summary below of the ways in which UNCG interacts with different branches of government. It’s important to emphasize that the University’s institutional viewpoint on any specific issue or topic can only be represented by members of the senior leadership team or their designees. The External Affairs staff can provide situation-specific guidance on this distinction for UNCG employees and students.
Rooted in our motto of “Service” and the “Taking Giant Steps” Strategic Plan goal focused on vibrant communities, UNCG maintains a vested interest in serving the surrounding community and strives to be a good neighbor and collaborative partner within the greater Greensboro area. External activity at the local level consists of regular communication with City Council Members, City staff, neighborhood association representatives and civic leaders to inform our institutional work and foster authentic and responsive connections. Common topics of shared focus may include coordinated research and academic activity in support of community building, zoning and ordinance issues, transportation flows, and economic development initiatives.
North Carolina’s state government has a long history of providing robust support to public higher education in North Carolina. The North Carolina General Assembly continues to hold significant policy, budgetary, oversight and appointment responsibilities with respect to the operations of the UNC System. Throughout the biennial legislative session, UNCG monitors legislative activity of interest to the institution and its stakeholders including issues related to enrollment and operations funding, personnel matters, facility maintenance, educational priorities and Board appointments.
As a public research institution, UNCG holds a substantial portfolio of federally-directed research activity funded by agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Health and Human Services. UNCG and its stakeholders also receive significant support through student and institutional aid programs outlined in the Higher Education Act of 1965. Beyond funding matters, UNCG is regulated by federal law and federal agency guidance in matters such as Title IV (student financial aid), Title IX (sex-related discrimination in educational settings), Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Equal Employment Opportunity), and the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill). The Director of Federal and External Affairs works to inform federal budget and policy decisions, develops communication channels with Congressional members and their staff, and coordinates with UNC System representatives and national higher education associations to facilitate connections with federally funded programs and activities on campus.
Contacting Elected Officials
Exercising your Right to Engage with the Civic Process as a Private Citizen
Every individual within the University community has a right to interact with public officials in their capacity as a private citizen. it is imperative that individuals clearly distinguish and articulate the distinction between their individual perspective and the official positions of the institution in order to retain the full scope of protections affiliated with private civic engagement. Personal political activity should not be conducted with the use of official resources (working hours, University letterhead, logos, email) as noted in the UNC System Policy Manual 300.5.1.
Members of the UNCG community are frequently invited or wish to engage with elected officials as academic authorities in their field of expertise or on behalf of professional organizations. In such circumstances, it is imperative that individuals clearly distinguish and articulate the distinction between their connection to the discipline, profession or organization and the official positions of the institution. It can be helpful to communicate with the Director when engaged in such advocacy to share the disciplinary perspectives and trends that have an impact on the work at our institution.
Institutional Engagement with Elected Officials
As a public institution, UNCG adheres to statutory and regulatory limitations when engaging elected officials. Only designated senior level officials are authorized to directly identify and communicate institutional priorities and positions on behalf of the institution and/or the UNC System. The University engages with legislators as an informational resource to contextualize policy and funding issues but does not participate in political advocacy or activism.
As a public institution, UNCG is considered to be an agent of the government and must uphold the rights and protections guaranteed in the United States Constitution, including provisions related to free speech.
Guidelines for Contacting Government Officials
Under certain circumstances, state and federal ethics laws apply to local government officials when conducting official business. In addition, the State mandates that local governing boards establish a code of ethics to govern their conduct. The Director of Federal and External Affairs can provide support when contacting local officials to assure proper compliance and coordination when representing local interests on behalf of the University.
At the State level, the University conducts informational engagement through a designated legislative liaison but does not employ professional lobbyists, in accordance with NC ethics laws and UNC System policy. The Director of State and External Affairs is authorized to communicate the priorities of UNCG and the UNC Board of Governors to state government officials, the North Carolina General Assembly, key legislative and government staff, third party advocates and other education groups on behalf of the University and the Chancellor.
Because the Director serves as the formal liaison to the state government, the Director should be kept informed of any discussions with state officials and must be informed prior to any communications related to larger University priorities or interests. The Director should be engaged in opportunities related to academic or educational activities (e.g., scheduling visits to the Capital, asking officials to speak to classes) to provide assistance with planning and protocol. The Director is also well versed in state ethics laws and should be consulted immediately on questions regarding the extent to which state officials can receive gifts, meals, etc.
Similar to activity at the State level, the University employs an educational and responsive approach in communicating priorities at the federal level and does not contract with professional lobbyists. Before any campus employee may initiate contact with covered federal government officials to discuss priorities or interests on behalf of the University, prior approval from the Director of Federal and External Affairs, in consultation with the Chancellor and Provost, is required in accordance with Federal ethics and compliance regulations. Covered federal government officials include any member, officer, or employee of Congress or the President, Vice President, officers and employees of the Executive Office of the President, and various high-level officials and uniformed officers in the executive branch. Scenarios that specifically require advance approval by the Director of Federal and External Affairs are outlined in 300.1.7 of the University of North Carolina System Policy Manual, “Regulation on Contacts with Covered Federal Government Officials” and are further governed by the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). Violations of the LDA can result in serious penalties.
The Director may also be consulted on academic or educational activities (e.g., scheduling meetings with Congressional members, campus visits by elected officials or agency heads, Congressional support requests) to provide insight regarding protocol and facilitate connections with relevant internal resources.
This page is intended to serve as a general resource for frequently asked questions and common interactions. For additional information or to report covered activity, please contact us:
Director of State and External Affairs
Director of Federal and External Affairs
Spartans in Service
Rep. Virginia Foxx (M.A. 1972, Ed.D. 1985), United States House of Representatives
Dale Folwell (B.S. Accounting ‘86, M.A. Accounting ), North Carolina State Treasurer
Sen. Michael Garrett (B.S. Business Administration, 2007), North Carolina State Senate
Sen. Joyce Waddell (Ph.D. Home Economics-Child Development & Family Relations, 1979), North Carolina State Senate
Rep. Sarah Stevens (B.S. Social Work, 1981), North Carolina House of Representatives
Rep. John Faircloth (M.P.A., 1980), North Carolina House of Representatives
Rep. Mitchell Setzer (B.A. 1987), North Carolina House of Representatives
Rep. Ashton Clemmons (EdS, 2017), North Carolina House of Representatives
Rep. Cynthia Ball (B.A. Psychology, 1976), NC House of Representatives
Kay Cashion, Guilford County Board of Commissioners
Justin Outling (B.A., ‘05), Greensboro City Council
Tammi Thurm (‘81, MBA ‘85), Greensboro City Council