Policy on Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Month/Year Posted: 
February, 2017
Policy Number: 

Humboldt State University Policy

Policy on Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Policy #17-01

Responsible Office: Office of the President

Applies to: all members of the University community

Approved by the University Senate on this date:  December 6, 2016

Approved by the President of Humboldt State University on this date:  February 16, 2017


This policy is intended to ensure that Humboldt State University 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 Senate shall consider policies with respect to the general welfare of the university. It shall review established policies, consider new policies, and study matters of concern to the University community. (University Senate Constitution 2.1)
• The President has final authority to review and approve policies recommended by the University 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.


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

California State University Policy
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.

Humboldt State University Policy
A Humboldt State University policy provides specific principles for University operations, administration, or programs. Policies are applicable university-wide and are typically developed through the University Senate and enacted by the President.
University 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 responsible office. 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: Humboldt State University 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. The office shall ensure that existing policies for which it is responsible are reviewed periodically and may offer recommendations for revision or decommissioning.

Policy Details

I.  Characteristics to Determine if a Humboldt State University Policy May Be Needed

Issues that rise to the level that are addressed via a Humboldt State University 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 or California State University policies
• Manage institutional risk

II.  The University Policy Operating Procedure

Proposing a new University policy

Any University student, faculty, or staff member may propose a new policy to the University Senate, which shall consider it in accordance with the body’s constitution and bylaws.

In most circumstances, if the policy proposal does not originate in a standing or Ad hoc Senate committee, it is referred to such a committee by the Senate Executive Committee (SenEx) for review and recommendation. The Senate committee solicits and/or reviews feedback from stakeholder groups as appropriate to the subject matter and makes a recommendation to the University Senate. If the committee does not recommend Senate action, the reason will be communicated to the University 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 to the 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.

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 from the website.

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 and ensure that policies are reviewed as needed but at least every five years.

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. 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.

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 University Senate as soon as feasible when such a policy is adopted. 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 12 months in total duration.

IV.  Establishing 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. The President will communicate this approval and its rationale to the Senate Executive Committee through the Senate Chair, and the Senate may decide subsequently to review and recommend changes in the approved policy.

V.  Humboldt State Auxiliary Organization Policies and Procedures

Each Humboldt State University auxiliary organization (e.g., Humboldt State University Advancement Foundation, Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation, Humboldt State University Center, and Humboldt State University 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.

Expiration Date

No expiration date. To be reviewed no later than February 2022.

History (required)

All changes must be listed chronologically in the format below, including all edits and reviews. Note when the policy name or number changes. Note if an edit or revision date is exclusively for the policy section or the procedure section:

Recommendation approved by the University Senate: 12/06/2016
Transmitted to the President: 01/24/2017
Approved by the President: 02/15/2017
Scheduled for review on or before: 02/15/2022