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There are times where departments want to use funds for entertainment-type purchases.  Usually, these purchases are for food or beverages; however, they might be for other things such as gifts, office decorations, holiday cards, etc.  This page provides a quick tool to help departments know if a purchase is allowable or not.

As always, department staff should contact Business Services if they have any doubt or questions about allowable purchases.

How to make an entertainment-type purchase

What purchases are allowable?

As a general rule, public funds cannot be used for entertainment type purchases.

Exceptions to the general rule exist which is why we see entertainment-type purchasing on campus.   These purchases fall into two categories:

  1. Allowable purchases made from a small, designated pool of representational funds managed by the Chancellor or Extended Campus Directors;
  2. Allowable purchases which fall into several specific exceptions (see exceptions below);

Most entertainment-type purchases are made with department funds (non-representational), but it is easy for departments to make mistakes in violation of both University policy and State law

The Board of Regents stipulate that these purchases be subject to "to considerations of public perception and the appearance of impropriety."  In order to be allowable, an entertainment-type expense must unquestionably fall into one or more of the exceptions described below.

Who may approve these purchases?

Representational expenditures (those that fall within the definition of account code 8115) may only be approved by the Chancellor, or extended campus Directors. Furthermore, these expenditures may only be booked in the specific org and fund codes assigned to each.

Non-representational expenditures fall into the specific definitions for account codes 3008, 4008, 3018, and 4018.  The Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services is the SW delegate for approval of "non-representational" entertainment type expenses.  For full definitions of account codes, please refer to the SW Accounting Manual.

In order to streamline operations, UAS has delegated authority as follows:

Up to $1,000 per event

  • Academic Deans and Provost
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Enrollment Management
  • Library Director
  • Community Campus Directors
  • Director of Student Activities
  • Special Assistant to the Chancellor

Up to $5,000 per event

  • Director of Development

Exceeding $5,000

  • Director of Business Operations

What is the process?

  1. Complete UAS Form ENT-1 for every entertainment event to be paid for or sponsored by UAS, or by any UAS department.

    The form is event specific, and the same form can be used for multiple transactions related to a single event. A copy of the form must accompany standard purchase and payment paperwork submitted to the Business Office for each transaction. All information requested on the form must be provided. The form should be filled out so that a reasonably intelligent reader would have a good sense of the nature of the event and reason for the expenditure, based solely on the information as presented on the form and in attached documentation.

  2. Receive pre-authorization from an approver listed in the item above. This authorization is in addition to any other normally required authorization for that purchase.
  3. Attach a copy of the form to the paperwork for each transaction related to the entertainment event in question.

Exceptions for events involving employees

Exception for meals during work sessions

To be allowable, all of the following must be true:

  • Is the event happening during a normal meal period?
  • Was the scheduling during the meal period unavoidable?
  • Are participants required to participate?
  • Is the event/meal on-campus in a normal work environment?
  • Is the event non-routine, requiring urgent, time-critical attention to the business of the university?

Exception for traditional or ceremonial events

To be allowable, all of the following must be true:

  • Is the event traditional and/or ceremonial in nature?
  • Is it a formal, university sanctioned event, typically with participation of the Chancellor or extended campus Director?
  • Is it a campus-wide event?
  • Involving significant numbers of participants?

Exceptions for NON-employees

Exception for Traditional or Ceremonial Events

To be allowable, all of the following must be true:

  • Is the event traditional and/or ceremonial in nature?
  • Is it a formal, university sanctioned event, typically with participation of the Chancellor or extended campus Director?
  • Is it intended to principally involve the public / external participants?

Exception for hosting advisory councils, boards, etc

To be allowable, both of the following must be true:

  • Does it involve a large number of non-university participants?
  • Is the food incidental, merely to expedite the business purpose?

Exception for instructional, research and student service programs

To be allowable, all of the following must be true:

  • Is the event principally intended for non-employees (i.e. students and community members) who are an integral part of the program?  (Any employee participation must be incidental.)
  • Does the expense directly facilitate the educational, research, economic and outreach to individuals outside the institution?
  • Is the expense typical for an event of this type?
 
 

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