Office of the President

Policy on Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Executive Memorandum 18-020 August 13, 2018

From: Gayle E. Hutchinson, President 

Subject: Policy on Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Upon the recommendation of the Academic Senate and the concurrence of the Provost, I approve the Policy on Policies, Procedures and Guidelines, effective immediately.

Policy on Policies, Procedures and Guidelines


This policy is intended to ensure that California State University, Chico shall issue and maintain University policies, procedures, and guidelines using a consistent process and format. It provides continuity and guidance to the University community regarding the process for making and communicating University policies, procedures, and guidelines.

This policy is guided by the following principles:

  • “The duties of the Academic Senate as delegated to it by the Faculty shall be to formulate, recommend, review and revise all academic, personnel, and professional policies, including fiscal policies related thereto, broadly and liberally defined” (Article II, Section 2 of the Academic Senate Constitution.)
  • “Joint decision-making and consultation between administration and faculty or academic employees is the long-accepted manner of governing institutions of higher learning and is essential to the performance of the education missions of such institutions…” (Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations, Section 3561 (B). See also California State University, Chico’s Statement on Shared Governance.)
  • The President has final authority to review and approve policies recommended by the Academic Senate.
  • There are clear distinctions among policies, procedures, and guidelines.
  • The process for formulating and adopting new policy shall be clearly defined understandable, transparent, and easy to navigate.
  • Stakeholder input and feedback shall be broadly sought and considered at all stages.


Policy: Policies are principles put in place to govern university actions, activities, and functions. Policies state what is done and under what authority. Broadly, policies:

  • Are applicable university wide
  • Carry the expectation of compliance
  • Change relatively infrequently and chart a course for the foreseeable future
  • Help insure compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  • Reduce institutional risk

At California State University, Chico:

  • Policies are referred to as Executive memoranda (EMs).
  • Policies will be published and maintained on a University Policy website, that links to relevant procedures. An archive of decommissioned and prior policy will also be maintained on the website.
  • Policies are ultimately approved by the President of CSU, Chico, after going through procedures of shared governance.
  • The Trustees of the California State University are the ultimate policy making body of the University. University policy is subordinate to California State University policies, executive orders, and memoranda.
  • Policies must not conflict with Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations, California State    University policies, Collective Bargaining Agreements, executive orders, and memoranda.

New Policy: For the purposes of this document, the process for adopting ‘new policy’ should be read to apply to all policy change, including revisions to, or decommissioning of, existing policies.

Procedures: Procedures specify operational and management mechanisms, tasks, or steps required for a program, department, or division to implement a policy. Not all policies contain procedures. Procedures are generally developed and approved by the office or division responsible for implementing the policy. Procedures must remain consistent with University policy as well as Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations; California State University policy, executive orders, and memoranda. Procedures must be specific to the University policy they interpret, be cross-indexed with the relevant policy, and posted on the University Policy website.

Guidelines: Guidelines advise how a policy shall be implemented. The responsible office may issue guidelines for a University policy or procedure. Guidelines are operational in nature, must specify the University policy they interpret, be cross-indexed with the relevant University policy, and posted on the University policy website.

Responsible Office: The responsible office is the California State University, Chico office that is responsible for maintaining a policy. The office administrator has responsibility to ensure campus adherence to the policy and to create and maintain procedures and guidelines to support the policy as necessary. In consultation with the Academic Senate, the office shall ensure that existing policies for which it is responsible are reviewed periodically and may offer recommendations for revision or decommissioning. In the case that multiple offices are affected by a policy change, a responsible office will be determined and designated by the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate.

The Office of the President is responsible for posting current policies and revisions, removing decommissioned policies, and cross-listing relevant procedures on the CSU, Chico University Policy website.

Responsible Parties: The Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, as defined in the Academic Senate Constitution, is responsible for collecting feedback regarding University Policies, and working with the Office of the President to revise and improve the implementation of policy.

Policy Details

  1. Characteristics to Determine if a California State University, Chico Policy May Be Needed

Issues that rise to the level that are addressed via a California State University, Chico policy should generally share a number of characteristics that include and are not limited to ones that:

  • Support the University’s mission, vision, and values
  • Apply broadly across the institution
  • Endure across time and administrations; change infrequently and set the course for the foreseeable future
  • Establish the University’s position
  • Support equity and integrity in practices across the institution
  • Promote quality and operational efficiency, reduce redundancy, and provide guidance for managing the institution
  • Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations and are not inconsistent with Federal or State law, California State University policies, or collective bargaining agreements and other union negotiated contracts.
  • Manage institutional risk
  • Are not procedures or guidelines as defined above
  • Are written only as necessary to elaborate Executive Orders
  1. The University Policy Operating Procedure

Proposing a new University policy

Any University student, faculty, or staff member may propose a new policy to the Academic Senate, which shall consider it in accordance with the body’s constitution and bylaws. New policies must go through the Academic Senate process. The policy should be thoroughly discussed by the relevant Academic Senate Standing Committee, and the Academic Senate, according to the constitution and bylaws of each body.

If the policy proposal does not originate in a standing or Ad hoc Senate committee, it is referred to such a committee by the Academic Senate Executive Committee (EC) for review and recommendation. The relevant Academic Senate committee solicits and/or reviews feedback from stakeholder groups as appropriate to the subject matter and makes a recommendation to the Academic Senate. If the committee does not recommend Senate action, the reason will be communicated to the Academic Senate. It is the responsibility of Senate to make policy recommendations to the President. The President has the sole authority to approve all new policies and refer them to the responsible office for implementation. The President’s response to policy recommendations shall be forwarded to the Chair of the Senate within four weeks of the President’s receipt of the policy recommendations. If the President does not approve a Senate-recommended policy or approves it in a modified form, the reason shall be communicated at the immediately preceding meeting of the full Academic Senate.

Consistent with the principle of stakeholder input, it is considered a “best practice” for policy proponents to consult closely with the administrator in the office that would be responsible for the policy and with the division Vice President, prior to Senate consideration.

New policies should be thoroughly edited at each stage of the process, with a complete edit undertaken by the Responsible Parties prior to the policy being signed by the president. New policies should use the Executive Memoranda template, available on the University Policy website.

Implementing a New University Policy

A new policy should identify a responsible office. If a responsible office is not identified, the President’s Office shall assign one. The Office of the President shall inform the responsible office when the policy is approved. The responsible office shall develop an implementation and communication plan for the policy. The Office of the President indexes the new policy, along with any associated procedures and guidelines, and publishes it on the University policy website. The Office of the President shall maintain this policy website as well as an archive of obsolete or superseded polices.

In coordination with the Office of the President, the responsible office communicates the policy to the university community and provides training and information about requirements as necessary. The responsible office shall also consult with Academic Personnel Services/Human Resources to determine if the new policy affects the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of any represented employees to ensure proper noticing of the appropriate Union. Responsible offices receive feedback on policies and their implementation. The Executive Committee, or Responsible Parties, receives feedback on policies and implementation on an on-going basis. The Office of the President ensures that policies are reviewed as needed but at least every five years. The feedback and review of policies will be shared with the full Academic Senate.

Revising or Decommissioning a University Policy

Responsible offices are charged with periodically ensuring that policies for which they are responsible are reviewed. They may propose to their Vice President or the President that a policy be revised or decommissioned when it is no longer needed or is more effectively combined with or replaced by another policy (per this policy, “new policy” also includes policy revision). Other University students, faculty, or staff may also propose revising or decommissioning a policy. In all cases, these proposals shall be considered by the Senate and the President in the same manner as a new policy proposal. The Office of the President moves a decommissioned policy from the current policies section of the University Policy website to the archive section. The Office of the President, in coordination with the responsible office, communicates the change in status to the university community. When an Executive Order effectively replaces or decommissions a campus policy (Executive Memorandum), the change should be noted on the university policy website, and the replaced policy should be moved from the current policies section to the policy archive.

III. Establishing a University Policy on an Interim Basis

On occasion, circumstances require the urgent adoption of a policy, such as one mandated by an audit or external agency requirement. In such cases, the timeframe may not allow for complete Senate review. In this circumstance, the President, in consultation with the Senate Executive Committee and University subject matter experts, may approve a University Policy on an interim basis. The President or the Senate Chair shall inform the Academic Senate as soon as feasible when such a policy is adopted, and the broader campus community will be notified. Interim policies shall be enacted for six months, but may be renewed for an additional six months if the Senate is unable to complete its review of the policy in this timeframe. A University policy may not be maintained on an interim basis for longer than twelve months in total duration. The interim status of the policy should be noted on the University Policy website.

  1. Establishing or Suspending a University Policy on an Emergency Basis

In rare circumstances, the President may approve a policy on an emergency basis. The policy will not be designated as interim, and it will be effective immediately. Similarly, an existing policy may need to be suspended on an emergency basis. In the case of an emergency suspension, the policy can be suspended in part or in whole. When a policy is suspended on an emergency basis, the president should specify recommended action or default policy during the suspension.

In the case of either suspending or establishing a policy on an emergency basis, the President will communicate this approval or suspension and its rationale to the Senate Executive Committee through the Senate Chair. The emergency policy approval or suspension will then be communicated to the broader campus community. The Senate may decide subsequently to review and recommend changes in the approved policy, or to decommission the policy. A University policy may be maintained or suspended on an emergency basis for a maximum of three months. The emergency status of the policy should be noted on the University Policy website.

  1. Chico State Auxiliary Organization Policies and Procedures

Each California State University, Chico auxiliary organization (e.g., University Advancement Foundation, Sponsored Programs Foundation, and Associated Students) may create its own policies and procedures. All new and modified policies must be communicated to the University president prior to implementation. Auxiliary organization policies and procedures must not conflict with University Policies; Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations; and California State University policies, executive orders, and memoranda.

Appendix A

  • Policy

                                  -  Policies that are superseded

                                  -  Date the policy is effective

                                  -  Status of the policy (e.g. interim, suspended)

                                  -  Responsible office

                                  -  Link to any accompanying procedures and/or guidelines

  • Archive of decommissioned policies
  • Explanation of policy process, with flow chart
  • EM Template

Appendix B - Recommended Practices for Policy Writing and Revision

  • Policies should be revised in a holistic manner, so that substantive revision also includes updating and/or correcting the entire policy document
  • Each policy should deal with a single issue area
  • Revising the references or appendices to a document does not need to go through the policy revision process detailed in this document. The changes or updates should be noted on the policy website.

As a policy revision moves through the process, authors are encouraged to use track changes or other editing tools to show the changes being proposed.

PDF version of EM 18-020 (PDF)