1.01—University Policy on Policy Structure

Effective: 11/10/2004
Senate Proposal: No
Responsible University Officer: General Counsel
Responsible Office: Office of General Counsel

Policy Statement

The policies of Michigan Technological University support and protect the integrity of the institution. This policy sets forth the policy hierarchy and structure for the university. Generally, policy is intended to be timely and relevant as well as stable and consistent – being revised when needed, but with appreciation for the value of established practices. Policies and their supporting procedures that exist across campus are to be in support of and aligned with the university’s legislative purpose and its strategic plan. 

Purpose of the Policy

Policies that exist at all levels within the university structure should not conflict with one another. When such a situation inadvertently arises, it is important that interested parties understand what policy governs. The following hierarchy applies to policies across the university:

A. Generally Applicable

Many policies are generally applicable across campus.  The hierarchy of those policies are as follows: 

  1. Board of Trustee Bylaws, Policies, and Ordinances (approved by the Board of Trustees)
  2. Temporary University Protocols (approved by the President, as delegated in Board Policy 3.2) (an historical example would be the COVID-19 Protocols)
  3. University Policies (approved by the President, as delegated in Board Policy 3.2)
  4. University-Wide Departmental Policies, such as those from Human Resources, Financial Services, or Environmental Health and Safety (approved at the Vice President level, as delegated by the President)

B. Applicable to those within organization, unit, or location

Other policies apply only to those within a specific category, organization, unit or location.  Generally, these policies should not conflict with other policies.  When conflicts do arise, policies approved by the Board of Trustees apply first, then policies approved by the current President.  Examples of policies that fall within this category include Senate Policies and Graduate School policies. 

C. References to Other Policies

All policies that rely upon or reference a policy higher in the policy hierarchy must link to the higher-order policy rather than copying some or all of the language from the higher-order policy whenever possible.  This allows lower-level policies to remain consistent with higher-level policies in the event of changes to the higher-level policy. 

D. Questions Regarding Policy Interaction

Questions regarding policy hierarchy or interaction are to be submitted to the Office of General Counsel for review and interpretation. 

E. Compliance with Laws and Regulations

University Policies are intended to comply with all applicable controlling laws and regulations.  At times, university policies will fall out of compliance due to inadvertent oversights or due to changes in such laws and regulations.  In those instances, portions of any university policy that conflict with applicable controlling laws and regulations are invalid.  Remaining portions of any such university policy that do not conflict with applicable controlling laws and regulations remain in effect.  The policy hierarchy is not affected by such situations except when they may lead to an illogical result.  In those instances, the Office of the General Counsel will render a written opinion on the applicable policy hierarchy until such time as the affected policy or policies are able to be revised. 


This policy applies across the university. 


Office of the General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees 906-487-2229


Board Policies Manual – Compilation of Board of Trustees Bylaws and Board of Trustees Policy, which is available on the Board of Trustees website or from the Office of the General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustees Bylaws (“Board Bylaws”) – Codified in chapters one and two of the Board Policies Manual, the Board Bylaws establish the rules for Board of Trustee meetings and addressing the Board of Trustees, establish the Board of Trustee committees, set forth the Board Officer and Expenses, and identify the University officers reporting to the Board of Trustees.  

Board of Trustees Policy (“Board Policy”) - Codified from chapter three through fifteen in the Board Policies Manual, the Board of Trustees policies are defined in Board Policy 3.1.

Policy – Provides the university with a framework and understanding of the university position on the matter which it addresses

Policy Committee - A standing committee that reviews and provides feedback to the Responsible University Officer on matters related to policy and procedures.

Procedure – Supports a policy by providing specific directions on how to perform a task called for in a policy. 

Responsible Office – Listed on each University Policy, the office or unit that is responsible for maintaining the policy, including any needed reviews, revisions, or decommissioning.

Responsible University Officer - The administrative staff member responsible for maintaining the policy, including any needed reviews, revisions, or decommissioning.  This should be the senior administrative staff member over the named Responsible Office (most commonly, a vice president) unless delegated to another individual.

University Administrative Policies (“University Policy”) – Statements of administrative policy in accordance with Board Policy 3.2.

University Administrative Procedures (“University Procedures”) – Documented steps or activities that accomplish the goals and directives of University Policy.


04/10/2017 Transfer of policy page from HTML to CMS. General Policy numbers renamed from "2.1000" to "1.00 General University". Specifically from "2.1001 Establishing and Creating University Policy and Procedures" to "1.01—Establishing and Creating University Policy and Procedures".
06/04/2015 To reflect current titles, "Board of Control" is now "Board of Trustees".
08/11/2014 Changed Responsible Office to Business Operations.
03/27/2012 To reflect current University titles and practice, MTU is now Michigan Tech, a copy of the policies and procedures are now found at the vice president's office in room 314 of the Lakeshore Center, and the email address for questions is now hbwebmaster.
11/10/2004 Changed responsible University officer to VP, Administration and responsible office to Human Resources.
08/19/2003 Added writing style guide and revising a policy procedure, and changed responsible office to CFO.
9/7/2023 Updated language and changed responsible Univeristy officer to General Counsel.