Original Issuance Date:     September 24, 2015
Last Revision Date:            November 5, 2018

1.     Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the general parameters for holding and funding UW System official functions.

2.     Responsible UW System Officer

Vice President for Finance

3.     Scope

This policy applies to all UW System official functions, such as events and ceremonies.

4.     Background

The University of Wisconsin System historically provided funds to be used by its President to cover costs associated with hosting official functions. The Wisconsin State Universities (WSU) allocated funds to each of its Presidents for this purpose. On March 5, 1970, the Attorney General supported the authority of the Board “to establish expense accounts for the several WSU Presidents as the Board deems necessary to carry out the proper functions of the State Universities.”

Though the UW System no longer specifically allocates funds for this purpose, UW Institutions continue to host and fund official functions.

5.     Definitions

Approving Authority: The UW System President, a UW System Vice President, or a Chancellor, Vice Chancellor or Dean of a UW System institution.

Official Function: Institution-sponsored events that may have a social component and are not directly related to ongoing UW operations and programming, but substantially advance or contribute to the institution’s mission.

6.     Policy Statement

An Approving Authority may make reasonable and moderate expenditures (excluding alcoholic beverages) directly associated with a UW official function. An Approving Authority, in advance of expenditures being made, must formally authorize in writing expenditures related to these official functions.

The source of funds for expenses related to official functions must be gifts, program revenue or trust funds, not general purpose revenue (GPR). It is incumbent on the Approving Authority to know and understand the nature and full extent of any restrictions or requirements associated with the expenditure and the related allowed uses of the proposed funds, including consideration of donor intent. This approving authority must document the justification for authorization.

Examples of functions and activities that may be considered appropriate are (not a comprehensive list):

  • Functions for parents of preregistering students.
  • Inauguration ceremony for a new President or Chancellor.
  • Functions for graduating classes and their parents.
  • Alumni Homecoming functions.
  • Functions for community leaders, prominent visitors, legislators and officials, or leaders of educational programs.
  • Functions for Board of Visitors or officials from other public or private institutions.
  • Functions related to opening of new facilities and dedication ceremonies. The preponderance of people in attendance must be from outside the institution.
  • Functions for officially recognized student groups.
  • Functions and recognition functions to honor distinguished faculty, staff and students for significant, meritorious achievements

Expenses for University-related Foundations or affiliated organizations’ board of directors’ meetings and expenditures for pure social functions for faculty, staff, and students are not considered appropriate charges to any source of funds administered by the UW System.

7.     Related Documents

Section 20.285(2)(e), Wis. Stats.
UW System Travel Policies
UW System Administrative Policy 435 (SYS 435), Headquarter City & UW System Sponsored Events Policy

8.     Policy History

Revision 1:               November 5, 2018
First approved:       September 24, 2015

9.     Scheduled Review

November 2023