Governance And Legal Affairs
Section 216 University of Maine System Policy on Policies

Effective:  March 20, 2023
Last Revised: March 20, 2023
Responsible Office: Clerk of the Board
Contact: Board of Trustees Office, 581-5840,
Review Cycle: every three years

Policy Statement

All University of Maine System (UMS) policies are classified as Board of Trustees Policies and are accessed on the Board of Trustees website under the Policy Manual section.  A UMS Board of Trustees policy is a philosophical foundation or principle which establishes a behavioral norm and standards, expectations, required action(s) and consequences for violation(s) of: i) policy and ii) standards identified in policy.

This University of Maine System Policy on Polices addresses the process for developing, issuing, and maintaining all UMS Board of Trustees policies.  The purpose of this policy is to provide the UMS community with a well-developed and understandable framework for Board policies.  Furthermore, uniformity of process is intended to enhance shared governance under Unified Accreditation.

This policy applies to all UMS departments, employees, faculty, staff and students.  Administrative Practice Letters are not included and will adhere to their own unified processes. 

Definitions:  Policies

Academic Policies: Academic policies are policies which primarily address the pedagogical and research mission of the System. 

Facilities Policies: Facilities policies relate to the institution’s ownership of real property and physical facilities.

Financial Policies: Financial policies outline the financial responsibilities and obligations of the System.

Governance & Legal Affairs Policies: Administrative policies primarily address governing the operations of the System. 

Human Resources & Labor Relations Policies: Human Resources & Labor Relations (HR & LR) policies primarily address employment, contract, and equity policies.

Information Technologies Policies: Information technologies policies relate to information security and accessibility.

Research & Public Service Policies: Specific research and public service policies.

Student Affairs Policies: Student policies are policies which primarily address student life at the System. 

Definitions – Other

Policy Initiator: The policy initiator is any employee, faculty or staff member who develops a policy proposal. 

Procedure: Operational standards that define how a policy is implemented and followed.

Red-lined version:  A document comparison by which changes are identified between two versions of the same document for the purposes of document editing and review that has either been added to or removed from the current policy.

Responsible Official: The responsible official is the appropriate office (Office of the Vice Chancellor, Office of General Counsel, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, or other leadership office) whose jurisdiction covers the subject matter of the policy.  The responsible official is also responsible for coordinating all required tasks associated with the policy review and revision.

Stakeholder: Stakeholders are UMS community members who are affected by the policy being developed. 

New Policies

Policy Development

The Policy Administrator for UMS Board of Trustees policies is the Clerk of the Board of Trustees in consultation with whomever is appropriate for each new policy proposal.  The Clerk may also designate someone else to act as the Policy Administrator on a case-by-case basis and at his/her discretion.

All proposed new UMS Board of Trustees policies will be put forward by the Policy Initiator.   The development of the proposed policy will follow the process set forth in the Administrative Practice Letter (APL) for Policy Proposals:  APL XI-A. 

Revisions or substantial amendments to current Board policies do not require a policy proposal. The Responsible Official for the content area of the current Board Policy should prepare a red lined version of the current policy. When the Responsible Official determines the version is ready, this red lined version will be submitted to the Board of Trustees Office to follow the normal policy approval process.

Otherwise, for a new proposal the Policy Initiator will submit the proposal for review and approval to the correct Responsible Official who is designated for the content area of the proposed policy or policy change. In many, if not most, cases the Responsible Official will be the Vice Chancellor for that content area. Upon receipt of the proposed policy from the Initiator, the Responsible Official may return it to the Initiator and request additional information and/or suggest amendment/s. The Responsible Official may also reject the proposed policy and in doing so, must provide the Initiator with a clear rationale for the rejection of the proposed policy. If the Responsible Official approves the policy, it is then forwarded to the Chancellor for approval.

After the proposed policy is approved by the Responsible Official and the Chancellor, the Responsible Official will develop the draft policy to submit to the Clerk of the Board. The draft policy will not include all of the information contained in the policy proposal. The Responsible Official shall consult with the Clerk of the Board to determine what information is appropriate for the draft policy and, if needed, determine what details should more properly be placed in an APL to be linked to the draft policy.

Policy Format

A standard policy format is intended to provide clarity and consistency. Although not all policies will contain all of the format elements, UMS Board of Trustees policies are required to be written and maintained following the basic outline below:

Section Category
Policy Number and Title
Effective Date
Last Revised Date
Responsible Official
Review Cycle
Policy Statement
Policy Body
Related Documents & Resources

For policies that predate this Policy on Policies, the format described above is not applicable. Policies undergoing revision are required to be reformatted in the above-indicated approved policy format.  All policy text and related documents, including policies under revision, are required to use gender-neutral pronouns and language and be developed using the model of unified accreditation and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Policy Approval Process

When the Responsible Official and the Clerk of the Board determine that a new or revised Board of Trustee policy is ready to move forward, it will first be submitted to the appropriate Committee of the Board as an information item.  Following this Committee review, the policy will be reviewed in a full Board of Trustees meeting where the Board may provide input on the proposed new or revised policy.  Any suggested changes to the policy may then be implemented by the Originator and the Responsible Official and resubmitted to the Board Committee which conducted the initial review for approval.  Following approval by the Committee, the policy will again be presented at a full meeting of the Board of Trustees for final approval.  The date of full approval by the Board will be the effective date of the policy.  More detail about this process may be found in APL XI-A.

An exception to the policy approval process could be deemed necessary to align Board Policies with State and Federal Laws that are time sensitive and would require authorization by the Responsible Official, the Clerk of the Board and the Board Chair.

Policy Section Category

The Board of Trustees Policy Manual web site will list policies by name and category and will provide links to related procedures. Policies will be assigned to one of the following categories which indicate the appropriate Responsible Official:

Section 100:  Introduction – Clerk of the Board

Section 200:  Governance & Legal – Clerk of the Board and General Counsel

Section 300:  Academic Affairs – Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Section 400:  Human Resources & Labor Relations – Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

Section 500:  Student Affairs – Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Section 600:  Research & Public Service – Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Section 700:  Financial Affairs – Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Section 800:  Facilities – Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Section 900:  Information Technologies – Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Section 100:  Other – As applicable

Existing Policies

Policy Revisions Process

Revisions or substantial amendments to current policies do not require a policy proposal.  The Responsible Official for the current policy should submit rational for the policy revision along with a red-lined version of the current policy to the Vice Chancellor responsible for the content area for review and approval.  If the Vice Chancellor determines the red-lined version of the policy is ready to present to the Board of Trustees, it will be submitted to the Clerk of the Board to follow the policy approval process as outlined in APL XI-A.

Policy Changes Without Board Approval

Certain policy changes that are non-substantive or which are required by a change in the law or administrative regulations may be made without the approval of the full Board as set forth in the procedure above.  The Clerk of the Board, in consultation with the Responsible Official putting forward the proposed change, shall determine if the proposed change falls within the category that does not require full Board approval.  The Responsible Official and the Clerk of the Board may consult with any other party they deem necessary or helpful to make this determination.  Non-substantive changes, other than those required by law or regulation may take many forms, including but not limited to grammar or spelling corrections or other technical changes of that nature, including changes in the names of programs or departments or required renumbering.

Policy Retirement or Deactivation

If a Responsible Official believes that a policy they oversee is no longer useful, applicable, or is more effective if combined with another UMS policy, they may choose to deactivate the policy with the permission of the Clerk of the Board and approval of the Board of Trustees.  The Responsible Official should confer with applicable UMS governance groups and subject matter experts as appropriate to ensure overall impact of deactivating the policy is considered. A deactivated policy will be securely archived and will display as repealed.

Policy Location

To ensure ready access to institutional policies, the University of Maine System will maintain an official Board of Trustees Policies web page ( with links to applicable procedures. The web page will be maintained by the Board of Trustees Office in a standard electronic format. The documents on this web page will constitute the official electronic depository for all current System-wide policies for the University of Maine System.

Related Documents & Resources

This section may list resources including links to related documents, resources or contacts in addition to the one listed in the header under “Contact” from Responsible Office.  These can include the following:

  • Documents such as policies, guidelines, manuals, contracts, APLs etc.
  • Other documents such as laws, regulations, statutes, etc.
  • Departmental websites where procedures are maintained
  • Contact information for relevant subject matter experts

Related Documents:

Administrative Practice Letter, Section Y – Governance – APL XI-A – University of Maine System Policy on Policies