Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a policy? 

A policy is a governing principle that mandates or constrains actions.

2. What are procedures?

A Procedure defines the implementation of a policy. Procedures are a step-by-step description of the tasks required to implement organizational policies. Procedures are freestanding documents located on departmental websites that are linked within the corresponding Presidential Policy, as applicable. A quick comparison between a policy and procedure can be found in the Policy Development Toolkit.

3. What are Presidential Policies? 

Presidential Policies address all operations of the University except for those reserved to the Board of Regents, to the Academic Senate (RSO 105.2), or the Academic Personnel Manual. A Presidential Policy:

  • Applies across the University of California;
  • Is warranted to ensure compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, University policies, and Board of Regents’ Bylaws, Standing Orders, and Policies;
  • Enhances the University's mission, promotes operational efficiencies, and reduces risk to the University;
  • Endures from one Presidential administration to another and sets a course for the foreseeable future; and
  • Is approved by the President or designated executive upon recommendation of the Policy Steering Committee.

4. How do I find a policy?  

 All Presidential Policies are located in the Policy Library. You can find specific policies using a number of tools - 

If you still need assistance, you can contact the Policy Office.

5. There is a different policy published on a departmental Website than what is in the Policy Library. Which one is the official policy?

The Policy Library is the home of official University of California Presidential policies. "Policies" posted on department Web sites are not Presidential policies. Departments should provide links to the Policy Library when referencing official Presidential policy. Departments can develop departmental policies that may be posted on their own Web sites. Those policies would apply only to the personnel within that department. Departmental policy can be more restrictive, but cannot be more permissive than Presidential policy. 

6. How are new policies developed? 

The policy development process was designed to ensure that each policy is easy to understand, is reviewed by the appropiate committees and stakeholders and that the policy is compliant with all federal state and local laws. At the start of the policy development process, the Policy Owner must submit a Policy Action to the Universitywide Policy Office. The policy action asks key questions of the policy owner to make sure that the Policy being developed is reviewed by the appropriate bodies such as the senate, the students or staff, as needed. The Policy Action, once completed, is reviewed by the Policy Office, the Office of the General Counsel, the Ethics, Compliance and Audit department and the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). Once the plan has been reviewed and approved, the policy owner will begin to draft the policy. After the draft policy is ready, the Policy Owner submits the policy to the PAC for review, to make sure that the draft policy is consistent with regulations, that the Policy Owner has consulted with the correct parties and that it is submitted to the correct review bodies. 

Once the Policy is finalized and vetted, the Policy Owner will submit the policy to the PAC for final approval. If the PAC approves, the policy is submitted to the Policy Steering Committee, which is the decision making body of the Office of the President. If approved by the Policy Steering Committee, the policy is presented to the President for Issuance. All issued policies are hosted on the Policy Library.

7. How do I know if a policy was recently updated? 
The Policy Updates page provides a list of policies that have been updated in the last six months, as well as a short description of what was changed and why the update was necessary. You can also find a list of all policies updated in the last 12 months in the New and Recently Updated Policies tab below the search bar.

8. If I need further clarification on a policy or a specific example to discuss, who should I contact? 
Each policy displays a primary contact, known as the Policy Owner, on the cover page of the document. The Policy Owner is available to answer questions regarding their policies and can provide additional information and guidance, where requested.

9. What should I do if I want to comment on or have suggestions for a current policy or procedure? 

If you have a suggestion or comment on a current policy, you may contact the Universitywide Policy Office or the Policy Owner. All feedback is reviewed by the Policy Owner and may be considered when future policy reviews are conducted. 

10. I am looking for an archived policy or a previous version of a current policy. Who can I contact?

The Universitywide Policy Office (UPO) is charged with coordinating the editing, review, issuance, and archiving of all official Presidential policies. If you are looking for an archived policy, please contact the UPO

Still have a general question about policies? Let the Universitywide Policy Office know!