There are different types of policies at OSU.  Click here to see the hierarchy of policy and see the descriptions below for more detail.

Note: OSU is currently updating its policies, transitioning those that were inherited from the Oregon University System (OUS) into OSU-specific policies. Many of the policies adopted from OUS have not been updated to reflect the new governance structure of the university. Please see the notes on those changes here. Additionally, while OSU transitions its policies, there remain a number of university-wide policies that do not yet reside in the UPSM but are located in manuals within different departments. Find links to other policies here.

Board of Trustees Policies

Oregon State University is governed by its Board of Trustees. The Board’s conduct is governed by bylaws and supplemented by policies and processes. The Board can take actions and adopt resolutions that establish and carry out the University’s mission. Because the Board is the final institutional authority, these bylaws and Board policies have precedence over university policies, university standards, unit rules, or procedures. The Board’s focus is one of oversight and policy determination.

University Policy

A university policy is a statement that applies broadly across the university, governing the OSU community of students, faculty, staff, volunteers, licensees, and contractors.  University policies are intended to be concise and understandable, contain a minimum amount of detail, and generally, do not require frequent change.  A university policy accomplishes one or more of the following:

  • Promotes the university’s mission, values, and relationships with key stakeholders;

  • Contains governing principles or rules that create administrative structures, describe desired outcomes, delegate authority, assign responsibility, mandate or constrain action, and provide minimal procedures for implementation;

  • Promotes compliance with laws, regulations, or other externally imposed requirements;

  • Mitigates institutional risk or promotes operational efficiency.

University policies are found in the UPSM

University Standards

University standards are similar to policies, but also govern individuals outside the university community and are enforceable through the judicial system. All individuals or entities entering university real property, using university resources, or participating in university programs are subject to university standards. All university standards must include an appeals process. Units of the university are not permitted to develop university standards outside the process overseen by the Executive Policy and Standards Committee.

University standards are found in the UPSM.

Unit-level Rules

Unit rules address needs at the unit level or control issues that affect a subset of the university. Colleges, departments, and other units of the university may develop specific implementation mechanisms for operations, administration, or programs within that particular unit. Unit rules are developed and approved by the unit and describe a unit’s approach to implementing relevant university policies or university standards. Unit rules are applicable only to their home units, or to functions over which that unit has authority, but may involve the implementation of processes that affect the entire university and university community. Unit rules may be more restrictive than university policies and standards, but must remain consistent with them and with relevant statutes and regulations.

Examples of unit rules include the Fiscal Operations Manual or the Office of Human Resources Policy Manual.


Procedures are descriptions of the tasks required to support and carry out university policies, university standards, or rules. Procedures articulate the process for accomplishing tasks or controls and are intended to ensure activities are accomplished completely and consistently. Procedures have a narrower focus than university policies or rules. They are often changed to improve the processes and are typically more detailed than university policies, university standards, or rules. Procedures often state who will accomplish a task, how it is performed, and when it must be done.

Faculty Senate and Academic Policies

The Faculty Senate represents faculty in all academic and administrative units. It has legislative responsibility regarding educational standards, curricula, academic regulations, and faculty welfare, and makes recommendations to university administration.