Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of university Policies?
University Policies protect the integrity of the university's mission and operations, and reflect the governance structure of the university.

What is considered an official university Policy?
A university Policy is a rule that has been officially sanctioned by the president of Carnegie Mellon University and that generally has university-wide applicability. A Policy may include governing principles, it may either mandate or constrain action, it may ensure compliance with laws, or it may mitigate the university's risk.

What is the difference between an official university Policy and a college, school, department or divisional-level directive?
Many departmental or divisional procedures and guidelines, although useful and important, do not meet the criteria above, and therefore they are not considered university Policies. Individual colleges, schools, centers, institutes and departments may create, communicate, maintain and enforce directives that are applicable to their respective authority, as long as these are not in conflict with official university Policies.

Who has the authority to approve official Policy?
The University Leadership Council, a senior-level university committee, reviews Policies and makes recommendations to the president. The president (and Board of Trustees as required) must approve the document before it becomes an official Policy of the university.

How are Policies changed, created and approved?
Administrative changes, modifications resulting from changes in relevant laws or regulations, corrections or minor edits to existing policies can be made at any time as needed. However, existing Policies requiring substantive changes, or new Policies, must follow a specific process to allow notice and opportunity for comment to appropriately broad audiences, honest, transparent evaluation of comments received, and broad communication of the resulting Policy. See the University Policy on Policy Development for details.

I have a question about a Policy. Who should I contact?
For questions related to a specific Policy, please contact the person listed as the Policy Owner in the table at the top of the Policy. For general Policy questions, please contact the University Policy Office.

Who has responsibility for a Policy?
The Policy owner is responsible for the implementation of a Policy, as well as related processes, instructions, training, procedures, forms and the Policy's maintenance.

What should I do if I believe a university Policy has been violated?
CMU provides a hotline that all members of the university community should use to confidentially report suspected unethical activity relating to financial matters, academic and student life, human relations, health and campus safety or research. Students, faculty and staff can anonymously file a report by calling 844-587-0793 or visiting All submissions will be reported to appropriate university personnel.

Is there a standard Policy format?
University Policies are drafted using a standard set of required information. This ensures consistency among Policies and increases clarity and uniformity of information.

If I see a need for a Policy or want to create one, who do I contact?
To submit your suggestion, or for help creating a Policy, please contact the University Policy Office.

Can anyone comment on a Policy?
Any member of the Carnegie Mellon community can new Policy under review and development.

How often are Policies reviewed?
All Policies are subject to review by the Policy owner one year after adoption or substantial revision, or when there is a change in applicable law, regulation, or policy, whichever comes first.

What types of edits determine the approval process?
Substantial revisions to Policies necessitate a complete review through the formal Policy process. A substantial revision is any change to a Policy that will require campus-wide review and communication, or a change in applicable law, regulation, or policy. Simple editorial changes, such as grammar, title, typographical errors, or other minor changes to a Policy can be made at any time. For more information about whether a change constitutes an editorial or a more substantial revision, please contact the University Policy Office.

How do I know if a Policy has changed?
Policies that have been recently updated will be announced on the Policies News and Updates page.