Office of the President

University Policy on Hospitality Expenses; Supercedes EM 99-028; Superceded by EM 09-007

Executive Memorandum 01-016 August 16, 2001

From: Manuel A. Esteban, President

Subject: University Policy on Hospitality Expenses; Supercedes EM 99-028; Superceded by EM 09-007



It is the policy of California State University, Chico to make payment of hospitality expenses from university funds when consistent with the mission and fiduciary responsibilities of the university. Hospitality expenses may include the provision of meals (catered or restaurant), refreshments, promotional materials, gifts, awards, honoraria, or travel expenses of official guests. This policy defines when such expenses are permitted from the various university funding sources, including state general fund, university-controlled special funds, and university foundation funds. In all cases, hospitality expenses must be directly related or associated with the active conduct of official university business, be cost effective, be in accordance with the best use of public or foundation project funds, and in conformance with IRS regulations.



Something of value, usually tangible personal property, given or bestowed upon an individual, group, or entity in recognition of service or achievement directly benefiting the university


Something of value given or bestowed upon an individual, group, or entity with the expectation of benefit accruing to the university


A payment given as a token of thanks and appreciation (e.g. , guest speaker honorarium)

Official Guest

An individual invited by an official university host to attend a university meeting, conference, reception, or event. Examples of official guests include employees from other campuses or the Chancellor's Office, members of the community, or media representatives. Employees from various departments of the CSU,Chico campus are not considered official guests.

Official Host

A university employee who hosts a meeting, conference, reception, or event

Promotional Materials

Gifts of tangible property that are distributed to promote the name or image of the university, provide information, or enhance university productivity. Promotional items are to be of minor value and bear a logo, image, or information identifying the university. Examples of promotional items are pens, folders, calendars, or clothing items of minor value (e.g. , hats and visors).

Expenses and Events

The types of expenses and events which may be supported by university and/or foundation funds are identified on Exhibit A. Payment of or reimbursement for hospitality expenses for employee birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, farewell gatherings, and like events are not permitted.

Caterers and Other Food Providers

Non-campus individuals or businesses providing food for campus events will be required to provide the following in advance of the event:

  • A copy of their current Butte County Department of Health license/permit if in the Butte County Department of Health "caterer" classification
  • A copy of a "Food Safety Training" certificate if in the Butte County Department of Health "cook for hire" classification; such training certification is to have been within twelve months preceding the event; certification is to be provided by the Butte County Department of Health, or similar agency offering state-approved training/testing on food safety; for the first year of this policy, food providers in this category shall be allowed to provide food for campus events without the certification, but must obtain the certification within one year of the policy effective date.
In addition, all caterers and food providers will be required to provide evidence of coverage to meet current campus insurance requirements in advance of the event. These requirements, specified by the University Risk Management Department.


Meals supported under this policy shall be an integral part of the event and not solely a matter of personal convenience. Generally, formal business should continue through the meal time if meals are provided as part of a meeting. Conference meals should not be supported by state general fund monies or university-controlled monies if fees are collected from the attendees specifically for the event and deposited in non-general fund accounts.


Hospitality expense requests funded by state general fund monies or university-controlled monies are to be submitted and approved by Procurement and Contract Services in advance of the event or purchase to every extent possible. In all cases, events catered by off-campus caterers must be pre-approved. Reimbursements will be allowed for expenses meeting the criteria for permitted expenses when it is impracticable to obtain advance approval (e.g. , meals at restaurants with interviewees).

Procedures and forms for submittal of general fund and university-controlled special fund hospitality expenses:


All hospitality expense requests shall be signed by the appropriate vice president or provost or their designee. Designees must be named in writing by the appropriate vice president or provost. No individuals may approve their own expenses and individuals may not approve the expenses of their supervisor. The individual approving the request must evaluate whether the event/expense serves a clear university business purpose, is consistent with the mission of the University, is cost effective, and is in accordance with the best use of public or foundation project funds.

Annual Reports

The Procurement and Contract Services department shall provide an annual report to Cabinet that summarizes the hospitality expense activity for each vice presidential area.

Attachment: Exhibit A - Hospitality Expenses, Events, and Funding Summary Hospitality Policy