Use of Name When Acting in a Johns Hopkins Capacity In a Letter to Support Public Policy Positions


Faculty and staff MUST contact Government Affairs before participating in public policy discussions on behalf of Johns Hopkins. In addition, Johns Hopkins employees seeking advice regarding related public policy activities can contact Government Affairs at 443-287-9900, or on the Web.

Government Affairs, which is part of the Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs (GCPA), is responsible for public policy and lobbying activities on behalf of the institution. Any request for information, testimony and institutional position statements received from policy makers, their staffs, advocacy groups or other organizations participating in the policy debate should be coordinated with Government Affairs. This is necessary, in part, to ensure compliance with federal, state and local laws governing reporting and disclosure requirements.

Appropriate use example
The request:
Dr. Smith receives an e-mail message from her professional society urging all members to send their senators a letter in support of Senate 24, a piece of legislation relevant to Dr. Smith's professional duties at Johns Hopkins. Later, the society invites Dr. Smith to testify as a Johns Hopkins expert and meet with members of Congress to advocate passage of the bill.

Analysis: The pending legislation is related to Dr. Smith's professional duties at Johns Hopkins, and she has conferred with the dean and Government Affairs.

Decision: Since Dr. Smith is authorized by the dean and Government Affairs, she may advocate for the bill as a representative of Johns Hopkins (including sending a letter of support on Johns Hopkins letterhead, and participating in hearings and meetings on the bill). Dr. Smith should coordinate all communications with Government Affairs. Government Affairs is responsible for tracking all such advocacy efforts for the purpose of lobbying reporting obligations arising from applicable law.

However, if Dr. Smith is not authorized by the dean, in consultation with Government Affairs, to represent Johns Hopkins, she must make it clear in all her communications that she is not speaking or writing on behalf of Johns Hopkins and that her letter or testimony is not intended to reflect the views of the institution. She may only refer to her Johns Hopkins affiliation for the purpose of identifying herself.

Inappropriate use example
The request:
The Immigration Action Center contracts with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Economics to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of a legislative proposal to expand state-sponsored health coverage for undocumented pregnant women. After completing the analysis, the report's authors, in conjunction with the Immigration Action Center, schedule a press conference at Johns Hopkins to announce the release of the report. After consulting with Government Affairs, the authors learn that the institution has not yet taken a position on the legislative proposal.

Analysis: While the report is disclosing the research that was conducted by Johns Hopkins faculty, the report does not imply an endorsement of the legislation by the institution.

Decision: The press conference can take place at Johns Hopkins, but since the institutional position on the legislation is undetermined, no Johns Hopkins logo should be displayed so as to avoid conveying the perception of an institutional endorsement. In addition, press releases and other public statements regarding the report should clarify that the report does not reflect the views of the institution and should not be perceived as an institutional endorsement of the legislation.

Inappropriate use example
The request:
Legislation introduced in the Baltimore City Council would change the zoning of a parcel of land near Dr. Jones' home. Dr. Jones, a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty, sends a letter on Johns Hopkins letterhead to his City Council representative expressing his opposition to the zoning change.