Establishing University Policies


Policy Statement

Washington and Lee University establishes university policies to guide and govern institutional operations and to set standards and expectations across the University. The University seeks to bring consistency to creating and adopting university-wide policies, which will help the University maintain accountability and bring transparency to the process of policy adoption and review. The University also seeks to provide members of the campus community and those doing business with the University a clearer explanation of what governing principles and standards apply University-wide, rather than only to specific departments/schools. The following site: ( provides a central location for most policies that affect the W&L community.


This Policy applies to creating, adopting, and amending policies that are intended to apply University-wide or that will impact a substantial portion of the University community.


Procedure - a set of detailed rules or specific actions that implement a University Policy.

Related Policies - those policies that are cross-referenced or substantially affected (but not contradicted) by a University policy.

Responsible Office - the University office/department responsible for administering and updating a University policy.

University Policy - formally approved guiding or governing principle(s) regarding the conduct of University affairs. This definition includes policies that apply University-wide or that impact a substantial portion of the university community, not school or department protocols, rules, or guidelines, even if they are labeled "policies." In the event of a conflict between a University policy and a school or department "policy," the University policy will prevail.


A. All University Policies and Procedures

  1. Should be:
    • Formally approved according to the process described in §IV below
    • Maintained, regularly reviewed, and updated by the Responsible Office, as necessary
    • Accessible to the W&L community and, when necessary, to those doing business with W&L
    • Distributed to all affected constituents/departments in a timely manner
    • Posted on the Office of General Counsel's central policy location (all other offices should link to that official site rather than posting their own versions of an approved policy)
  2. Standard Format:

University Policies need not have identical format, but should contain the following standard elements:

    • W&L Seal
    • Policy Title
    • Approval Date and Effective Date (if different)
    • Revision Date(s) (if applicable)
    • The Name and Title of the individual/entity who approved the policy and therefore can revise the policy
    • The Name of the Office responsible for administering and updating the policy

Note: Some existing policies predate this Policy and therefore are not in the standard format. In time, these policies should be reviewed and converted to the standard format.

B. School/Department-Specific Guidelines, Rules, or Protocols

There are department-specific or school-specific "policies" that do not meet the criteria for a University Policy. These should be identified as only pertaining to a certain department or school and the term "policy" should not be used as a label for them; rather, departments and schools should use terms such as "rules," "guidelines," "protocols," or "standard operating procedures." School or department-specific guidance documents should not conflict with University Policies.

Policy-Making Process

A. New Policies

Recommendations for new policies should initially be made (in the format noted above) to the President, Provost, or his/her designee(s) for the appropriate areas: Academic matters to the Provost; Employment/Fiscal/Administrative matters to the Vice President for Finance and Administration/Treasurer; and Student Affairs matters to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Once a proposed policy has been reviewed and received approval from the President, Provost, or designee(s), it will either be effective upon the date noted ( if administrative approval is appropriate) or sent for approval to the relevant office or entity (e.g., faculty, Board of Trustees).

B. Interim Policies

The Board of Trustees, President, Provost, or his/her designee(s) may establish an Interim Policy where there is a need for a University policy in a time frame too short for completion of the formal process described above. In such a situation, the Interim Policy will remain in force as long as necessary until a formally approved policy becomes effective.

C. Revisions/Amendments

Recommendations for revisions/amendments to existing policies should be made to either: 1) the person/entity who approved the most recent version of the policy; or 2) the Responsible Office for the existing policy. Substantive revisions/amendments should be approved using the same process for adoption of new policies described above. The following minor "clerical" corrections may be made by the Responsible Office without further approval: corrections to reflect the new name of a department or new title of an individual; clarifications of grammar or syntax; and typographical errors.

The date of the most recent revision should be noted at the top of the policy, underneath the policy's original approval date. All substantive revisions and "clerical" revisions to reflect the new name of a department or new title of an individual should be annotated in a separate section at the end of the policy. These annotations should include the date the revision/correction was approved, as well as a brief summary of the nature and location of the changes within the Policy.

D. Notifications

The Responsible Office is responsible for notifying the affected constituents within the University of a new or revised policy. The notification should generally occur through a posting on the Office's webpage, direct email or hardcopy delivery, or some similarly suitable means of dissemination. Notification of a new/revised policy should also be sent to the Office of General Counsel, so that it may be included on a webpage of University Policies.

Revision History

3/1/2009 - Revised to add minor, non-substantive clarifications.