I. Policy Statement
The University of Puget Sound creates and implements policies to establish standards for the campus community and to provide guidance and governance for university operations. In establishing a Policy on Policies, the university aims to adopt consistent, uniform principles for the development, adoption, review, revision, and decommissioning of policies that have general institutional applicability. In adopting these standards, the university endeavors to make its policies easily accessible and understood, enhance operational efficiency, reduce institutional risk, and ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
A. General Applicability
This policy applies to the development, adoption, review, revision, and decommissioning of policies by university faculty, staff, and students.
- Board of Trustees. This policy does not apply to corporate governance documents within the sole purview of the Board of Trustees, such as the Corporate Bylaws and Resolutions.
- Faculty Senate. This policy does not apply to the policies and procedures within the sole purview of the Faculty Senate, including amendments to the Faculty Code or the Faculty Bylaws that have another approval process identified.
- Staff Senate. This policy does not apply to the policies and procedures within the sole purview of the Staff Senate, including amendments to the Staff Senate Bylaws that have another approval process identified.
- Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS). This policy does not apply to the policies and procedures within the sole purview of the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS), including amendments to the ASUPS Constitution and ASUPS Bylaws that have another approval process identified.
Campus Community: Current university faculty, staff, and students.
Policy: A written statement of general applicability that provides guidance and direction to members of the campus community on issues relevant to the university’s mission, values, governance, and operations.
Policy Owner: The office, position, or role responsible for drafting, reviewing, seeking approval for, communicating about, enforcing, revising, and decommissioning the policy in accordance with the Policy on Policies.
Procedure: Written guidance or related information that describes how to comply with a policy and/or accomplish a task or goal referenced in a policy. Procedures should be written in a format that is easy to follow, using numbers or bullets. Procedures must be reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure they are in agreement with the most recent revision to the policy.
Division: A broad functional or operational area led by a provost or vice president. (For example: Academic Affairs, Enrollment, or Student Affairs.)
Division Policy: A policy that is only applicable to a Division’s staff and/or faculty or others working or studying within the Division, which is not relevant to the entire university. Division policies can create additional specifications, requirements, or restrictions but cannot contradict a University Policy or Procedure.
Unit: A specific, clearly defined functional or operational area led by an associate vice president or similar role. (For example: Registrar, Residence Life, or Student Financial Services.)
Unit Policy: A policy that is only applicable to that Unit’s staff and/or faculty or others working or studying within the Unit, and not relevant to the entire Division or university. Unit policies can create additional specifications, requirements, or restrictions but cannot contradict a Division or University Policy or Procedure.
University Policy: A policy that has general application throughout the university.
IV. General Policy Standards
A. Controlling Authority
The Office of General Counsel, in collaboration with the President’s Cabinet, is the deciding authority on whether a policy or procedure should be classified as a Unit Policy, Division Policy, or University Policy, and is responsible for determining the appropriate governing body to approve any University Policy coming forward for adoption, revision, or decommissioning.
B. Format and Content
All University Policies must follow the University Policy Template and must include the following sections:
- Policy Statement. A brief explanation of the reason and background for the policy;
- Coverage. A summary of whom the policy applies to – for example: staff, students, faculty, and/or third parties such as vendors, consultants, and/or visitors to campus;
- Definitions. A list of definitions of terms used in the policy;
- General Policy Standards. The substance of the policy, using multiple sections and sub-sections as needed;
- Effective Date. The date the policy goes into effect;
- Related Statutes, Regulations, and Policies. Any related local, state, or federal statutes or regulations, or related Division, Unit, or University policies and procedures. The policy should link to all listed statutes, regulations, or policies;
- Policy Owner. Identify the office, position, or role responsible for drafting, reviewing, seeking approval for, communicating about, enforcing, revising, and decommissioning the policy;
- Policy Contact. Identify a phone number or email address to receive questions or inquiries about the policy;
- Date Adopted. The date the policy was approved by the appropriate authorizing authority;\
- Date Last Reviewed. The date the policy was most recently reviewed; and
- Date Last Revised. The date the policy was most recently revised.
All University Policies must also have an identifying number, which will be assigned by the Office of General Counsel. Assigning identifying numbers to Policies ensures consistency and clarity in the lifecycle of a Policy, as it undergoes regular review, and may be significantly revised or renamed. Unit and Division Policies and Procedures need not follow the University Policy Template, but are encouraged to reference related University Policies and Procedures for ease of user reference and consistency in governing authority.
V. Policy Development
A. University Policies
Recommendations for new University Policies should be made to the Cabinet member responsible for the relevant Division or operational area, such as:
- Academic, academic support, experiential learning, faculty, library, or student career and employment services matters to the Provost;
- Employment, facilities, financial, and technology matters to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer;
- Enrollment, admission, and student financial aid matters to the Vice President for Enrollment;
- Counseling, Health and Wellness Services, security, athletics, student matters, and Title IX/Equal Opportunity to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students;
- Alumni, communications, donor, and external relations matters to the Vice President for University Relations;
- Institutional equity and diversity-related matters to the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity;
- Institutional or community-focused matters to the President; or
- Risk management, insurance, corporate governance, legal matters, this policy, and proposed policies not falling within any other area to the Vice President and General Counsel.
The Cabinet member shall review the proposed policy, ensure that appropriate offices and constituencies have been consulted, and work with the Office of General Counsel to determine the appropriate approving authority and process.
B. Division and Unit Policies
Division and Unit Policies may be developed at the discretion of the issuing Division or Unit. Faculty or staff responsible for Division or Unit Policy development must ensure that Division or Unit Policy does not contradict any University Policies, and should consult with their Division’s Vice President or Provost to resolve any discrepancies.
VI. Policy Adoption
A. University Policies – General
Once a proposed University Policy has been reviewed and approved by the Division Vice President or Provost, it will be effective upon the date noted (if administrative approval is sufficient) unless it must be sent for approval to the relevant office or entity (for example, Cabinet or the Board of Trustees). The Office of General Counsel will determine whether a policy requires approval beyond the authority of the Division’s Vice President or Provost. Policies addressing matters of institutional compliance, overarching governance and conduct applicable to trustees, or other matters of significance will typically require Board approval, such as: codes of conduct, conflict of interest, debt, document retention, employee benefits, endowment management, faculty early retirement or career change, gifts, hazing, intellectual property, naming of university buildings, facilities, or programs, or those policies determined by local, state, or federal law to require approval by the Board of Trustees.
The Office of General Counsel must be notified about any newly adopted or revised Policy. If Cabinet approval is required, it will promptly be added to an upcoming Cabinet agenda. If Board approval is required following Cabinet approval, it will generally be added to the relevant Committee’s agenda at the next scheduled regular Board meeting unless there are compelling circumstances requiring Board approval more quickly, in which case the President will authorize seeking approval by the Executive Committee or full Board by written consent.
B. University Policies – Interim
The President or the Cabinet, upon the request of a Cabinet member, may establish an interim University Policy if there is a time-sensitive need for a University Policy to be published that does not allow for the completion of the formal process detailed in Section VI.A., above. Interim University Policies will remain in effect until a formally approved policy becomes effective. The interim phase should only last as long as is strictly necessary; the Policy Owner must seek completion of the formal approval process expeditiously. The Policy Owner
must consult with the Office of General Counsel before establishing an interim policy.
C. Division and Unit Policies
Division and Unit Policies should be developed, approved, and adopted by the specific Division or Unit and are applicable only to the Division’s or Unit’s scope of authority. The Division Vice President or Provost should review and approve all Division Policies. The relevant associate vice president, assistant vice president, director, or manager of a Unit should review and approve all Unit Policies.
VII. Policy Review and Revision
A. Policy Review
Policy Owners must monitor when University Policies are scheduled for review. The Policy Owner may initiate the review process at any time as deemed necessary. However, University Policies must be reviewed as often as is required by relevant regulations, statutes, laws, or policies. If there is no legal requirement for frequency of review, a University Policy must undergo review every three to five years, as determined by the Office of General Counsel.
Policy Owners should confer with applicable university governance groups and subject matter experts as appropriate to ensure the overall impact of revising the University Policy is considered. During the Policy Review process, the Policy Owner should examine whether the University Policy requires revision to ensure that it:
- Is in compliance with relevant local, state, or federal statutes or regulations, and/or university policies and procedures;
- Is clearly written and easy to follow;
- Provides guidance or standards that are still relevant to the current operations of the university;
- Harmonizes with related University policies and procedures;
- Supports and is in the spirit of the stated mission of the university;
- Addresses concerns about the impact of the policy raised by members of the campus community; and
- Has an equitable impact on members of the campus community and does not disparately affect the ability of Campus Community members to access university operations, services, or programs.
B. Policy Revision
If the Policy Owner determines after Policy Review that the Policy should be revised, the Policy Owner should follow the same steps for policy approval that are explained in Section VI – Policy Adoption, above.
VIII. Decommissioning a Policy
A. University Policies
If a Policy Owner believes a University Policy they are responsible for is no longer useful, applicable, or is more effective if combined with another University Policy, they may choose to decommission the University Policy. Policy Owners should confer with applicable university governance groups and subject matter experts as appropriate to ensure overall impact of decommissioning the Policy is considered. Policy Owners shall work with the Office of General Counsel to seek formal decommissioning approval by the President’s Cabinet, or by another body, such as the Board of Trustees, as appropriate. The Office of General Counsel must be notified when a Policy has been identified for decommissioning.
B. Division and Unit Policies
Division and Unit Policies may be decommissioned at the discretion of the Division or Unit head.
IX. Effective Date
This policy is effective as of May 12, 2023.
X. Related Statutes, Regulations, and Policies
Policy Owner: Office of General Counsel
Date Adopted: May 12, 2023