Effective Date: February 1, 2023

Occidental College establishes College Policies to set standards and expectations across campus, promote administrative effectiveness, and support the College’s adherence to both its mission and legal requirements. This Policy on the Approval and Maintenance of College Policies clarifies which types of policies are considered to be College Policies and are therefore subject to the procedures described herein. It also articulates a process for policy review, approval, amendment, and maintenance. This Policy is intended to aid in decision-making and compliance with laws and regulations, as well as to ensure that College Policies are consistent, transparent, accessible, and current. In support of these goals, the Office of the General Counsel will maintain a Policy Directory that will either contain or link to policies that broadly affect the College community.

This Policy governs the approval, amendment, and maintenance of essential policies that apply to all or a substantial portion of the College community. It also provides guidance for policy-making at the department level.

College Policy – A guidance, requirement, or principle broadly affecting College operations or community behavior, that is on a matter of institutional importance, and that has been approved consistent with this Policy. Formal review and approval, as outlined in this Policy, is required to issue, amend, or withdraw a College Policy. Policies that do not meet this definition, including those that predate this Policy or apply only to a specific department or group, shall continue to be effective and enforceable, except to the extent that they conflict with a College Policy. Policies were in effect before this Policy was issued but otherwise meet the definition of College Policy are expected to undergo review and formalization in time (and no later than the next time they are amended). The Policy Committee, as defined herein, will determine which policies are properly classified as College Policies and will maintain a list for internal reference.

College Policies that are excepted from the approval procedures outlined in this Policy include:

  • Policies established by the Board of Trustees.
  • Academic policies that govern the requirements for admission, courses of study, conditions of graduation, and nature of degrees to be conferred. Such policies shall be approved and amended by the Dean’s Office in consultation (where appropriate) with the faculty, President, and/or Board of Trustees.
  • Policies stated in the Faculty Handbook, Student Handbook, Employee Handbook, or any Collective Bargaining Agreement to which the College is a party. Such policies are reviewed, approved, and amended according to their own terms, and when applicable, through negotiation or shared governance. Where the College (through the Policy Committee) has determined to issue as a separate College Policy an individual provision or policy within the Student Handbook or Employee Handbook, such College Policy will be controlling, and the relevant handbook will be modified to reference it.
  • Policies or amendments that solely reflect a legal or contractual requirement or benefit. Such policies and amendments shall be issued by the Office of the General Counsel, in consultation (where appropriate) with other College officials, and subject to approval by the President or the President’s delegate(s).
  • Anti-discrimination policies issued by the Civil Rights & Title IX Office. Such policies shall be developed, adopted, and amended by the Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator in consultation with other offices and organizations as appropriate, and must be approved by the President of the College or President’s delegate(s).

Responsible Officer(s) – The senior-level administrator(s)—either a member of Senior Staff or that person’s delegate—with primary oversight of the substantive area covered by a College Policy. Responsible Officers are responsible for developing and maintaining College Policies within their area of oversight, consistent with this Policy.

Policy Committee – The Chief Operating Officer, Vice President for Academic Affairs,Vice President for Student Affairs, and Responsible Officer(s) for the policy under consideration. The Policy Committee is advised by the General Counsel and may include additional administrators and faculty as appropriate, depending on the subject matter. The Policy Committee advises the President regarding whether to adopt, amend, or withdraw a College Policy.

Policy Directory – List of essential or frequently used policies by subject matter, including all College Policies. Available on the Policy Directory website.

Procedure – A set of actions required to implement a policy.

A. Approval of New College Policies
All College Policies must be formally approved according to the process described below. If an administrator is uncertain about whether a policy meets the definition of College Policy, they should consult with their Vice President and/or the General Counsel.

  • Recommendations for new College Policies should first be submitted to the Senior Staff member responsible for the administrative area. If the Senior Staff member supports the new policy, they will then assign a Responsible Officer(s) (if not the Senior Staff member), provide an opportunity for Senior Staff and others to offer comments as appropriate, and provide a final proposal to the Policy Committee.
  • The Policy Committee will review the policy proposal and will generally take one of the following actions by consensus:
    • Approve the proposed policy;
    • Determine that the proposed policy does not meet the definition of College Policy, and refer it to the relevant department or unit;
    • Request input and/or revisions from other College community members before taking further action;
    • Make or request certain revisions before re-review and approval; or
    • Decline to approve the proposed policy.
  • If the Committee approves the proposed College Policy, it will present the policy to the President for review.
  • Following the President’s approval of a new College Policy, it will be promptly disseminated according to the Notifications section in this Policy.

B. Amendments to College Policies
Substantive changes to College Policies must be approved by the Policy Committee according to the process set forth in this Policy for adopting new College Policies. The Policy Committee will determine whether such changes merit review by the President. Responsible Officer(s) and/or Senior Staff members may make non-substantive changes (e.g. contact names and addresses, technical or clerical corrections, minor clarifications, formatting) without review by the Policy Committee.

C. Withdrawal of College Policies
To propose the discontinuation of a College Policy, the Responsible Officer(s) must submit a request to the Policy Committee for formal withdrawal. If the Policy Committee approves withdrawal of the policy, it will determine whether approval by the President is also necessary and appropriate.

D. Notifications
The Responsible Officer(s) should inform all affected constituents of a new, substantively revised, or withdrawn College Policy. Notice may be given by email, posting on a College web page, live announcement(s), or any other means reasonably expected to place affected constituents on notice of the change. The Responsible Officer(s) must also inform the General Counsel for maintenance of the Policy Directory.

E. Format
College Policies should generally contain the following sections, when applicable:

I. Policy Statement: short summary of the reasoning and intended impact of
II. Applicability: the constituents, divisions, departments, and/or units to whom
the policy applies
III. Definitions: the Responsible Officer(s) should review for consistency with
definitions in other College Policies
IV. Policy
V. Policy History
        Responsible Officer(s)
        Effective Date (if known)
        Last Revision Date
VI. Related Policies and Resources

Note: Pre-existing policies may not follow this standard format and should be updated in time.

F. Interim Policies
The President or a Senior Staff member may establish an Interim Policy when it is necessary to adopt or substantially amend a College Policy immediately or within a time period that does not allow for the complete review process as outlined in this document. The Interim Policy must state an expiration date that is not more than 120 days from the date it was issued, unless the Policy Committee has granted an extension of that expiration period.

G. Departmental and other Unit-Specific Policies
Departments and other units may follow their own established procedures for the development of policies that are not classified as College Policies, so long as all such policies and guidelines are approved by the Senior Staff member overseeing that area. In the event of a conflict between a College Policy and a departmental or unit-specific policy, guideline, rule, or practice, the College Policy will be controlling. To avoid conflict, all department, division, and unit web pages that include or reference College Policies must link to the policy as it exists in the Policy Directory, rather than posting their own versions of College Policies.

H. Policy Maintenance
Responsible Officers are accountable for reviewing and revising College Policies as needed and monitoring relevant changes in applicable rules, laws, regulations, and best practices. Responsible Officers should review a new College Policy within a year of its first being issued. Otherwise, Responsible Officers should review each College Policy within their purview at least once every three (3) years after that.


Responsible Officer : General Counsel


Effective Date : February 1, 2023