Guidance Letter B-010


SUBJECT:  Memberships and Subscriptions

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this policy is to establish a process for approval of institutional memberships and subscriptions.
  2. Scope
    The guideline applies to all divisions/departments and individuals except the campus Library which is exempt from the guideline in its entirety.
  3. Definition
    1. Membership dues or subscriptions are any expenditure from state funds by an institution or school which entitles subscription of material or membership, associate membership, or participation in activities of an organization.
    2. Organization is a group (public or private), association or society whose purpose is to promote common interests and share information.
    3. Professional library is a collection of periodicals, books, publications, or reference materials maintained for the use of faculty, staff, and students.
    4. Publication directly related to the mission means a publication without which the mission of the institution would be impossible or difficult to perform.
  4. Process for Approval of Memberships and Subscriptions
    All requests for institutional memberships and subscriptions must be recommended for approval through the appropriate supervisors with final authority resting with the executive administrator.
  5. Criteria
    1. The institution may be a member of an organization or maintain subscriptions if the membership or subscription is directly related to the goals and mission of the institution.
    2. The institution may not pay the membership dues or subscription of an individual.  An exception may be granted in rare instances where an organization does not permit institutional membership or where an individual membership (in the name of the institution) is less expensive than an institutional membership.  However, memberships necessary to maintain or enhance an employee’s professional status should be considered the responsibility of the employee and the association dues considered a personal expense.
    3. Duplicate memberships and subscriptions should be evaluated with the intention of providing only one membership/subscription per institution.
    4. Membership dues and subscriptions consisting in excess of $1,000 per year must be approved initially by the president and the Chancellor.  A written request for approval must be submitted to the president and include an explanation of the specific benefit the institution derives.  A listing of other institutions which maintain the membership or subscription may be requested.
    5. Where membership dues are included as part or all of the expense of an organization meeting for which the institution pays the expense of an employee to attend, the appropriate expenses shall be considered membership dues under these guidelines and should be subject to the established membership approval process.
    6. Faculty and staff membership in civic organizations is encouraged; however, state funds may not be used to pay for memberships.
    7. The institution may not subscribe to political publications for other than instructional purposes.
    8. Professional libraries may include subscriptions related to their function or purpose.  Institutions and schools are encouraged to maintain professional libraries in central locations so that faculty, staff, and students may benefit from the periodicals.
    9. The institution may subscribe to newspapers within the service area for public information and instructional-related purposes only.  The only exceptions to the above are that the athletic department may subscribe to newspapers outside the institution’s service area and that subscriptions to newspapers with national distribution may be held for instructional purposes.

Source:  TBR Guideline No. G-080 
Revised:  January 1, 1993