Miscellaneous Governance Policies of the Board of Trustees
In accordance with good governance practices as guided by the revised Internal Revenue Service Form 990, the Washington and Lee Board of Trustees adopted the policies set forth herein.
Trustee expense reimbursement for board-related travel:
Generally, travel costs related to board service (transportation, lodging, meals and other travel expenses) for trustees and companions are expected to be borne by the trustee as part of his/her contribution to the University. In exceptional circumstances, only where specified in advance by either the Rector or the President, board member travel costs may be reimbursed. By way of example, if the Rector asks a trustee to make a trip to interview a potential trustee, or if the President asks a trustee and his/her spouse or domestic partner to attend a development event out-of-town, reimbursement could be authorized. In such cases, reimbursement will be made under the policies and expense guidelines applicable to W&L employees and any special authorization needed for the specific travel costs involved may be given by either the Rector or the President.
First Class or charter travel:
When W&L employees travel for University business, they should travel by the least expensive means available, which means air travel in coach class, preferably under advance purchase options, and not by first class or charter travel, unless exceptions have been made by the Treasurer or President. If an employee desires to upgrade to first class or business travel, that employee is personally responsible for any such upgrade, absent prior authorization by the President or Treasurer.
Travel for companions:
IRS regulations provide that any reimbursement for companion (spouse, domestic partner) travel is considered taxable income to the employee unless the companion travel is a) for a bona fide business purpose, b) benefits the University, and c) is documented.
Under the accountable travel plan as described by the Internal Revenue Service, all expenses must be documented and receipts provided. In addition, when companion travel is covered, the following conditions must be met in order to exclude the travel costs from the taxable income of the employee:
- the companion attends and contributes to the official function, and
- the purpose of the travel, the activities of the companion relating to University business and the expenses incurred are fully documented.
At its regular May, 2006 meeting, the Board of Trustees officially recognized the need for the President's spouse to travel with the President on official University business. Specifically, while performing his/her official duties in the areas of advancement, alumni relations, and other business of the University, the President may be accompanied by his/her spouse, who is expected to make an important contribution to achieving the purposes of the travel or events. In those cases, the University's policy is to authorize payment of all travel and related expenses of the President's spouse. By 2018 policy amendment, the Board authorizes payment of all travel and related expenses of the President's domestic partner, or other companion approved by the Rector for travel on official University business, in the circumstances set forth above for spousal travel.
Reimbursable travel by companions of other University employees is to be approved in advance by the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer and only if the travel meets the IRS qualifications noted above.
Housing allowance or residence for personal use:
In recognition of the unique role of the President, the University requires the President, as a condition of employment, to live in a residence on campus and to use the premises frequently for University-related functions and activities.
Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 119, the value of University housing is not taxable to the President because s/he is required to occupy University-owned housing for the convenience of the University.
Payments for business use of personal residence:
No W&L employee will be reimbursed for use of his or her private residence for University business purposes or functions unless they have advance approval from the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, and only under extraordinary circumstances.
Health or social club dues or invitation fees:
W&L shall not join a health or social club with institutional fees unless approved by the President, and only if the membership is necessary for University business purposes. The University maintains an institutional membership in the Lexington Golf and Country Club (Club) for University business purposes for use by the President and Vice President for Advancement, and other W&L employees at the discretion of the President. All fees and expenses for personal use of the Club and any other organization to which W&L may belong shall be reimbursed to the University.
Personal services (e.g., maid, chauffeur, chef)
No employee is expected to perform personal, non-business related services for any W&L supervisor, director, manager, or any other W&L employee. The University maintains custodial services at Lee House, and provides event planning services and support for the President for presidential functions.
Revised October 6, 2018: Added provisions on trustee expense reimbursement to require advance authorization by Rector or President for reimbursement of trustee travel costs in exceptional circumstances. Also recognized authorization for payment of travel expenses for President's domestic partner or other approved travel companion to the same extent as spousal travel authorization.