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Columbia College Policy on Policies


The College believes that policies serve an integral role in supporting its institutional mission, values and vision, and in creating a culture of compliance College-wide for all members of the College community. This policy is intended to decrease risk and increase compliance and consistency across the College as well as make College policies organized and easily accessible to students, faculty and staff so that all individuals are able to educate themselves regarding the College's policies, procedures, practices, and processes.

Centralized policy management is designed to reduce risk College-wide by helping to make compliance, policies, and access uniform across the College and all of its venues. This policy sets forth the processes by which College policies are developed, drafted, approved, reviewed, amended, implemented, and maintained. A defined policy process that is consistent with best practices enhances operational efficiencies and ensures effective decision-making across the College.

A policy template is included at the end of this policy to be used for all College policies.


This policy applies to all written institutional policies, procedures and/or processes, whether stand-alone documents, those included in broader catalogs or handbooks in other formats.


To help ensure the College is complying with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations as well as other various compliance obligations related to the operations of the College, the College's Office of the General Counsel is charged with the responsibility and oversight of policy management at the College and may designate other members of the College community to assist in this responsibility. Policy management includes, but is not limited to, the development of new policies, reviews, and updates of existing policies, as well as oversight of the College's Online Policy Library.

All new College policies shall adhere to the procedures set forth in this policy. Existing College policies will undergo a review to bring them into compliance with this policy. Note, there are certain College faculty policies contained in the faculty handbook that are not covered by this approval/review process.

I. Initiation of a New Policy

The policy making process begins when an individual, department, committee, and/or other source from the College community proposes a new policy. The need for a new policy commonly comes about either reactively due to some event or new requirement or is proposed and implemented proactively.

The source of the new policy proposal should contact the Office of the General Counsel at this early stage to discuss the reason for the policy, impact of the policy, and whether an amendment to an existing or similar policy can accomplish the goal of the new policy, among other considerations.

The proposal of the new policy will be reviewed, evaluated, and a decision will be made at this stage as to whether or not the new policy process will move forward by the Office of the General Counsel, in consultation with the source of the proposal and/or other members of the College community as necessary. When evaluating policy objectives at this initial review stage considerations include, but are not limited to, legal compliance, guidelines, regulations, legal sufficiency, ambiguity, risk and/or liability for the College, and should/can the College bind itself in a manner set forth in the policy proposed.

This step shall be conducted prior to drafting a new proposed policy.

II. Policy Drafting and Development

If the proposal of a new policy is approved, the source of the new policy shall prepare a draft of the policy. The Columbia College Official Policy Template (included below) should be used for all new policies institution-wide. All new policies shall follow the consistent format and include, at a minimum, the following sections: Purpose, Scope, and Policy. There is also an internal administrative header section that must be completed and included.

After drafting, the policy shall be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel and it will be reviewed and edited for formatting, grammar, tone, organization, and consistency with other College policies. The draft may go through multiple versions with the input from the source of the policy and Office of the General Counsel to ensure it serves its desired purpose and is consistent with this policy and other College policies, as applicable. The draft of the new policy will be finalized at this stage with final approval coming from the Office of the General Counsel.

If the proposal a new policy results in amending an existing policy, the source of the proposed amendment to the existing policy should provide to the Office of the General Counsel a draft of the amended policy clearly identifying both proposed revisions and any proposed removals. The proposed revisions will then be reviewed and handled in accordance with the paragraph above.

III. Policy Implementation, Dissemination and Location of Policies

After the policy receives final approval, depending on the nature of the policy, it may be announced by various means will typically be communicated to all potential stakeholders - those who will be most involved in the policy's compliance and/or affected by the policy. Certain policies may also require affirmative steps to train and educate students, faculty, and staff.

A key step in the implementation and dissemination stage is for the policy to be easily searchable and accessible for all members of the College community. The College utilizes a centralized, searchable and accessible Online Policy Library where the single and most up-to-date versions of all official College policies are located (see section V below for more information).

IV. Policy Maintenance

The College endeavors to review certain policies on a schedule so that they can be kept current with existing law and regulations, comply with appropriate rules and regulations, and be flexible to the dynamic higher education environment. College departments are responsible for reviewing their own policies, determining whether any revisions or amendments are necessary, keeping the policies up-to-date, and submitting revised policies for inclusion in the Online Policy Library consistent with this policy.

V. Structure and Organization of the Online Policy Library

The College's Online Policy Library is the single centralized source where all official College policies are maintained and can be found on the College's website. The Online Policy Library is easily searchable and College policies are also organized in alphabetical order as well as by the following categories based on the application of the policy: students and employees. Note that some policies may apply to more than one category. All references to College policies contained and/or set forth in other sources or locations should include hyperlinks to the official College policy found in the Online Policy Library and should not include the text of a policy as the text of the policy is subject to change. When policies need to be updated, the version found in the Online Policy Library will be updated. To the extent a policy has conflicting versions, the Online Policy Library version of the policy will govern.

VI. Questions

Questions regarding this policy, new or existing policies, the Online Policy Library or any related questions should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel whose contact information can be found here:


Columbia College Official Policy Template


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