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Finance and Administration
Promotions and Sponsorships
Before agreeing to provide a state resource at no cost or reduced cost in connection with a promotion or sponsorship, University administrators should consider state ethics statutes and requirements. See BPPM 10.21, 10.22, and 20.37.
This section provides policy and procedures intended to minimize the possibility or appearance of special privilege due to position with the University or the misuse of state resources.
The proper stewardship of state resources, including funds, facilities, tools, property, and employees and their time, is a responsibility that all state officers and employees share. State employees have an affirmative duty to ensure that any personal use of state resources is the most efficient in terms of time and resources. (WAC 292-110-010)
University units occasionally seek to stimulate University business activity by offering promotions to potential customers. Such units may include service centers (see BPPM 30.15), auxiliary enterprises, and other self-supporting operations, e.g., SRC, Housing and Dining, Intercollegiate Athletics. For purposes of this policy, a business promotion is considered to be a special price reduction or free goods or services provided to customers of the service center or enterprise.
In order to comply with University policy and to avoid any appearance of violating state ethics statutes, the responsible administrator is to observe the following requirements relative to promotions:
- The promotion must be consistent with mission of the University and the department. Refer to the following website to access the University’s mission:
- The promotion must be consistent with a written marketing or business plan that has been approved by the responsible area administrator, e.g., dean, vice president, vice provost, associate vice president. The plan must be approved and in place before the promotion is offered.
- The unit accounts for the actual cost of each promotion transaction as a promotional expense.
- The promotion may not be offered to or accepted by employees, supervisors, or administrators of the sponsoring service center or entity offering the promotion.
- Discounts or reduced prices are not to be provided as a special privilege. Such a practice is a violation of RCW 42.52.070. A business promotion that includes discounts and reduced prices is to be provided to all persons who purchase a given product or service. NOTE: This requirement applies to discounts and reduced prices related to a promotion only. It does not apply to standard pricing. For example, the standard price for children’s entry to an event may be less than the standard price for adults or standard staff prices might be less than standard prices for the general public.
University academic and support departments occasionally seek to promote an activity, entity, or idea by providing items at no charge to the public or University personnel. Such items might include inexpensive items that identify the department or the University.
In order to comply with University policy and to avoid any appearance of violating state ethics statutes, the responsible administrator is to observe the following requirements relative to nonbusiness promotions:
- The promotion must be consistent with missions of the University and the department.
- Each provided item must be of de minimis value. Those with questions about de minimis value may contact the Internal Audit Office; telephone 509-335-2001.
For purposes of this policy, a sponsorship is a contractual relationship between the University and an individual or group promoting an event. In accordance with the contract, the University provides goods or services for the event in exchange for reasonable consideration.
In order to comply with University policy and to avoid any appearance of violating state ethics statutes, the responsible administrator is to observe the following requirements relative to sponsorships:
- The department is to have a contract with the sponsor in place prior to any activity connected with the sponsorship.
- The contract is to be approved by an authorized University official and is to stipulate that the University receive reasonable consideration in exchange for the sponsorship.
- The contract is to identify the exchange of reasonable consideration by the parties.
- The contract is to be prepared and approved in conformance with procedures in BPPM 10.11.
See BPPM 10.24 for information about charities and the Combined Fund Drive.