Section 6: Policies and Procedures


The university community is governed by a number of written principles arising from different sources. The highest level is the United States Constitution followed by federal laws that are adopted by the United States Congress. At the state level, there is a Florida Constitution, a document adopted by the people of Florida, and the Florida Statutes adopted by the Florida Legislature. Administrative rules/regulations are the next level of written legal principles. These are authorized by the Florida Legislature and must be adopted by state agencies through a formal process of public notice and legislative review. Formal rules/regulations have authority almost at the level of legislatively enacted statutes. The Florida State University Constitution has been enacted as a formally adopted rule/regulation. (Appendix C) The University Constitution provides the basic legal document which, subject to state and federal law and the authority of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors. The Constitution outlines the academic organization of the University, the functions of its various officers and units, and describes the make-up of the Faculty Senate.

As provided in a 2002 amendment to the Florida Constitution approved by the people of Florida, “a board of trustees shall administer each public university and a board of governors shall govern the state university system.” Under this authority, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) established that regulations adopted by the BOG for the entire university system and by the university boards of trustees for individual universities are the basic university “legislation.” It also established procedures for adoption of BOG and university regulations. The next level of governance is policies and procedures. University Regulations are adopted by the Board of Trustees and are university-wide “laws.” Regulations must be consistent with federal and state law and BOG Regulation. Policies are adopted by the President or Vice Presidents under the specific executive authorities granted to the President by the FSU Board of Trustees. Policies generally involve more detailed matters of procedure and matters not specifically addressed in state law or BOG or FSU Regulation. FSU Policies may not conflict with State and Federal law, BOG Regulation or FSU Regulation. Policies are adopted by generally more informal procedures at the local level. Formal university-wide policies may be found at the policies website which also provides the adoption procedure. These are the policies adopted by the President and Vice Presidents governing each of their respective areas of responsibility. The Faculty Senate also adopts certain policies and procedures relating to its governance and to purely academic or other faculty issues. Of further relevance is any Collective Bargaining Agreement with an appropriate employee representative organization.

NOTE: Certain policies and procedures that are of general interest and are useful to faculty have been referenced here in alphabetical order. There are other policies and procedures in existence that may be of importance to individual departments or to more specific situations. It is always important to verify that any policy or procedure found here, on the university Web site or elsewhere, is the most current and accurate applicable policy and procedure. Please check the central University repository or ask the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement or the General Counsel’s Office, if in doubt. Many university academic entities and other units may have purely internal policies which are included in their by-laws and posted on their department websites. Faculty Senate academic policies and procedures are found in the General Bulletin. These policies must, of course, be consistent with law and general university policies.


Adjuncts assigned as instructor of record must be evaluated each semester by department chairs, directors, or deans. Each unit may determine the structure of those evaluations, which should utilize appropriate materials such as student course evaluations and/or peer observations of teaching. Negative evaluations may result in decisions not to reappoint adjunct instructors. Note that evaluations of other instructors (faculty and graduate teaching assistants) are covered by the appropriate collective bargaining agreements. For more information, see FSU Policy 3A-6, Evaluation of Instructors of Record.


Click here for the entire Florida State University Alcohol Policy. A few highlights follow.

Alcohol will be permitted at Florida State University only in those settings that:

  • Comply with federal or state laws, local ordinances, University regulations, foreign country laws (in the case of study abroad programs conducted by Florida State University International Programs, Inc.), Student Conduct Code, and this policy;
  • Present minimum health and safety risks; and
  • In no way inhibit the full participation of those who choose not to drink alcohol.

Except with special permission, only certain designated locations on campus are approved for serving alcoholic beverages as specifically outlined in the full Alcohol Policy. For special permission for faculty events, consult with the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement. For student events, contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. For direct support organizations or other university events, contact the Office of Vice President for University Relations.

No individual under the legal drinking age (minimum of 21 years of age) may serve, sell, consume or possess alcohol on university properties, except to the extent allowed by law within licensed premises or designated areas of the university. However, even if all participants at an on-campus event are over 21, it does not presume that alcohol may be served except as provided in the Alcohol Policy and with any necessary permission.

No individual may serve or otherwise provide alcohol to persons under the legal drinking age.

The Sale of Alcohol: The sale of alcohol on campus must be approved by the President or his or her designee. Although the President or designee may approve the sale of alcohol on campus, only the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco can issue the permit required to sell alcohol in the State of Florida.

Promotional Guidelines: The on-campus promotion of activities or events shall not advertise alcohol or sponsorship by alcohol marketers without prior written approval of the Vice President for University Relations.

Laws and Regulations: All members of the campus community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests) must adhere to all applicable state and local laws and university regulations related to the sale and use of alcohol.

Any organization found not to be in compliance with the university alcohol policy at their event may be subject to university disciplinary action and may forfeit its right to any fee support from the university.

Standard of Conduct: Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace

The University standard of conduct is that no employee will report to work under the influence of or unlawfully possess, unlawfully use, or unlawfully distribute illicit drugs and alcohol on University property or as part of any University activities.

Legal Sanctions (Alcohol and Drug)

State law prohibits the possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21, punishable for the first offense by a possible term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days and/or a $500 fine. Serving or selling alcohol to minors is also a criminal offense.

The illegal possession or sale of alcohol and drugs has a wide range of consequences from the minimal punishment of a fine to very long terms in state or federal prison for certain drug offenses.

Available Rehabilitation and Treatment (Alcohol and Drug)

Drug and Alcohol counseling and rehabilitation programs are available through the Employee Assistance Program. [Note that the Faculty Assistance Program, part of the Employee Assistance Program, Web site at, is available to assist faculty on a strictly confidential basis with a number of personal problems that may be affecting the faculty member’s work including family, financial, emotional and stress, in addition to substance abuse.]

A Dean, School Director, or Department Chair who determines that a faculty member in their unit may have such a problem will contact the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement, who will arrange for assistance from the Faculty Assistance Program. The goal of this service is to counsel the at-risk faculty member into participating in a rehabilitation program at one of the local service agencies or a similar program in the private sector.

University policies and regulations and the BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement provide that faculty whose alcohol or substance abuse impairs their ability to perform assigned duties will be required to enter a prescribed rehabilitation under the Compulsory Disability Leave policy. Refusal to comply with its provisions can lead to disciplinary action. Failure to fulfill the terms and conditions of the program can lead to the faculty member being released from employment. In addition, help is also available through the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 850-224-1818
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 850-599-2876

Institutional Disciplinary Sanctions (Alcohol and Drug)

The University may invoke disciplinary actions on employees who violate the standards of conduct described.

Disciplinary sanctions for the illegal possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol will be enforced by the appropriate authority and may range from a letter of reprimand to a suspension without pay, up to and including dismissal from employment, in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or other applicable regulations, policies and procedures, as well as referral for prosecution for violation of the criminal law. Sanctions may also include completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program.


The use of animal subjects in research parallels that of the use of human subjects including the need for prior approval.

The University and funding agencies are committed to providing the highest care for and responsible use of animals in research, teaching, and testing. Any research, teaching, or testing involving vertebrate animals by FSU faculty, staff, or students must comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines. This policy covers both funded and un-funded research as well as thesis, dissertation and special projects. University policy is mandated by the Congress through the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as well as various state regulations.

The Institutional Official responsible for animal research is the Vice President for Research. Oversight of compliance is the responsibility of the FSU Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC). Facilitating animal-related research and teaching at FSU is the responsibility of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR). Check with the Office of Research, Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) Secretary at 850-644-2462 and the Office of Research policy on Oversight of Animal Use for Teaching, Exhibition, and Research (Policy 7-IACUC-1) for current requirements.


The University has a comprehensive Anti-Sexual Misconduct Policy (see FSU Policy 2-2, Anti-Sexual Misconduct Policy). The Policy is based on the idea that all forms of sex and/or gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct violate the University’s values and moral standards, which recognize the dignity and worth of each person. The Policy defines sexual harassment and misconduct; informs members of the community regarding expected standards of conduct; differentiates between “Responsible Employees” (including faculty members), who must report alleged violations, and “Confidential University Representatives,” who can discuss related concerns with students on a confidential basis; describes reporting and investigatory mechanisms to resolve alleged violations of the Policy; provides information about rights for complainants and respondents; and outlines resources for those affected by sexual harassment and misconduct. The University’s Title IX Statement serves as a quick-reference to important information and resources contained in the Anti-Sexual Misconduct Policy. The University’s Title IX Compliance Policy (2-2a) covers that conduct and procedural standards falling under the jurisdiction of federal Title IX regulations. 

Sexual Relationships with Students and Conflicts of Interest

The following policy concerning conflicts of interest applies to students who are being supervised or evaluated by faculty as well as graduate students who are serving as teaching assistants and thus supervising or evaluating undergraduates.
Sexual relationships between faculty members and students where a direct supervisory or evaluative relationship exists are fraught with the potential for exploitation. The respect and trust accorded a faculty member by a student, as well as the power exercised by the faculty member in a direct supervisory or evaluative role, make voluntary consent by the student suspect. In their relationships with students, faculty members are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias. When any direct supervisory or evaluative role exists, a consensual sexual relationship between a student and a faculty member is a conflict of interest and must be ended immediately. Any such relationship must be disclosed to the faculty member’s supervisor immediately. Direct supervision includes any type of evaluative role. Examples of direct supervision of the student include serving as the following:

  • the student’s instructor in a class;
  • a thesis or dissertation director;
  • a member of the student’s thesis or dissertation committee;
  • a member of the student’s comprehensive or doctoral exam committee; or
  • a member of other committees where the focus is evaluation or supervision of the student’s academic competence or assistantship.



The educational “fair use” exemption to the copyright law is often misunderstood. It is actually a quite limited exemption for classroom use of excerpts of copyrighted materials. These excerpts must be brief and are limited to one chapter, an article from a periodical or newspaper, a short story or essay, or a chart, cartoon, diagram, picture or the like. Moreover, the material may only be used for a single class and may not be developed into a permanent classroom document. An exception would be when a copyright release is obtained from the copyright holder. So-called course packs compiled by legitimate commercial print shops usually have been through this copyright release process.

Further information concerning copyright and fair use may be found at under Copyright Information and You may also contact the Office of General Counsel on matters relating to official University activity.

The Teach Act of 2002

The Teach Act of 2002 essentially extended fair use to online courses; however, there are certain restrictions. The course must be set up so that the materials cannot be retained by the student past the class session and the online instruction must be mediated by an instructor. Click here for more information on the Teach Act.

Library Photocopying

In order to fall within the fair use exemption, library photocopies are not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” Otherwise, photocopying copyrighted material may violate the copyright laws. More information on this aspect of fair use may be found at: and


Florida State University ensures that all instructors of record (tenure-track and specialized faculty as well as adjunct instructors) possess the academic preparation, training, and experience to teach in an academic setting, meet or exceed the expectations of accrediting bodies, and accomplish the mission of the institution. The credentials of full-time faculty members are verified upon hire, usually through having earned the highest degree in the discipline, and need only be supplemented if and when the faculty member is assigned to teach in a discipline different from the one into which he/she was hired. Adjunct instructors’ credentials must be verified by chairs or directors the first time they are assigned to teach and again if they are assigned to teach within another academic discipline. For more information, see FSU Policy 3A-2, Policy for Credentialing Faculty Members


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of students' educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Students have specific, protected rights regarding the release of such records, and FERPA requires that institutions adhere strictly to these guidelines.  FERPA guidelines protect students by guarding against the release of their records without their consent. 


The Division of Finance and Administration has adopted a number of Policies and Procedures related to the everyday non-academic operation of the university. They are each assigned an Online Policy or “OP” number. These are relevant to everyone in the university and may be accessed at The following subject areas are addressed:

  • OP-A Business Operations
  • OP-B Facilities & Space
  • OP-C Faculty & Staff
  • OP-D Financial
  • OP-E General University
  • OP-F Records & Information
  • OP-G Safety/ Insurance
  • OP-H Technology


The University Honorary Degree Committee is an advisory committee appointed by the President to represent the University community. The Committee reviews information and nominates persons to receive honorary degrees. The President selects the recipients of honorary degrees. For more information, please contact the Office of the President at 644-1085.

Eligibility: In general, it shall be the intent of the Committee to honor persons of outstanding achievement who have gained national or international recognition or made a significant scholarly, creative, public, business, or humane contribution to the United States or to Florida State University. Please note: The nomination of active FSU employees or current Board members is not encouraged and will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

Nominations: Any active or retired faculty member or any other member of the university community or friend of the University may suggest potential honorary degree recipients to the Committee.

Nominations will be accompanied by supportive data which should include, but not be limited to: (1) a resume, CV, or biographical sketch; (2) an explanation as to why an award should be given; and (3) names and addresses of distinguished persons in a position to provide objective evaluations of the recommendation. Three letters of recommendation may be sufficient to meet the requirements of (2) and (3).

Procedural Guidelines: The Chair is responsible for scheduling committee meetings, collecting items for the agenda and organizing the work of the group. The President will select the chair of the committee. In order to conduct official committee business, a majority of the members shall be present. The Committee shall vote on a list of candidates to recommend to the President.

Advancement of a candidate from level 1 (nomination) to level 2 will require the approval of a majority of the members of the Committee. Every year the names of those nominees who have not advanced beyond level 1 will be removed from consideration unless re-nominated.

Advancement of a candidate from level 2 to level 3 (recommendation to the President for an honorary degree) will require the approval of a majority of the members of the Committee. Every two years the names of nominees who have not advanced beyond the second level will be removed from consideration.

Failure of any member to attend five consecutive meetings of the Committee will constitute cause for removal from the Committee by the President. The Chair of the Committee will notify the President when a member has not attended five consecutive meetings. The President will then appoint a replacement.

Emergency meetings and votes may be held through email for matters requiring urgent attention.


Because the University receives federal funding, federal regulations require the approval by the Human Subjects Committee of all projects planned by students, faculty or employees collecting data from human subjects where such data will be published. It should be emphasized that use of human subjects may include use in psychological or other forms of testing or use in other than what might be traditionally considered as medical experimentation. The use of such data may be disallowed in any formal or published research activities where the required prior approval is not obtained. 


Neither this policy nor other policies or procedures associated with FSU IT resources are intended to abridge academic freedom, constitutional guarantees of free speech, or freedom of expression. (See Finance and Administration Policy 4-OP-H-5.) The use of IT resources is available to all members of the University community. While the rights of academic freedom and intellectual creativity are recognized, the interests of the University, students, faculty, and staff must be protected.

All uses of University IT resources are subject to applicable rules, policies and procedures of the University and/or governing boards as well as Florida Statutes governing computer fraud, misuse of state equipment resources, public information, and related criminal offenses. Material accessible to the FSU community through networks and materials disseminated from FSU should be restricted neither on the basis of content, nor because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to its creation.

However, University IT resources may not be utilized:

  • To access or view pornographic or obscene materials unless necessary for academic instruction or research.
  • To harass another person. Users should not transmit to others or display images, sounds, or messages that either could be perceived by a reasonable person as being, or have been identified as, harassing.
  • To intentionally damage or disable computer systems, networks, or software.
  • To undermine the security or the integrity of computing systems or networks or to attempt to gain unauthorized access. Users may not use any computer program or device to intercept or decode passwords or similar access-control information. Security gaps should be reported to the appropriate system administrators immediately.

The University cannot guarantee absolute privacy of electronic communication.

Users who violate this policy may be denied access to University IT resources and may be subject to other penalties and disciplinary action, both within and outside the University. Violations may be handled through the University disciplinary procedures applicable to the relevant user. Additionally, the University may temporarily suspend, block or restrict access to an account, independent of such procedures, when it reasonably appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of University or other IT resources or to protect the University from liability. The University may also refer suspected violations of applicable law to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

In addition to the Office of Information Technology Services, the University Libraries also serves as a source of information regarding information technology resources. The FSU Information Security and Privacy office supports the University’s mission of maximizing excellence in all programs by fostering information security and privacy.


Institutes and centers are university entities established to coordinate intra- and inter-institutional research, service, and/or educational training activities that supplement and extend existing instruction, research, and service at the state universities.

Institutes and Centers are established to focus in-depth study and research on broadly defined educational, social, economic and scientific problems and issues.

There are two types of Centers: (A) State of Florida Institutes or Centers or (B) University Institutes or Centers.

State of Florida Institutes and Centers

A State of Florida institute or center has, among other characteristics, a statewide mission; includes two or more universities; and is approved by the Board of Governors.

A Memorandum of Understanding must first be approved by the University Board of Trustees which will be presented to the Council of Academic Vice Presidents for submission to the State University Presidents Association. The Chancellor will consider these recommendations in submitting the request for approval to the Board of Governors for final approval.

University Centers or Institutes

A university institute or center is established normally within a single university and is funded by appropriations for that center and/or grants or donations. It may expend funds appropriated by the Legislature to that center. Additional institutions may participate, in some instances, with one university as the host.

University centers or institutes are created under university-established procedures. A more detailed description of each such centers or institutes has been issued by the Chancellor. Any department chair or faculty member interested in creating new centers or institutes should first contact the Provost’s Office. For more information, see the Office of the Provost’s website and BOG regulation 10.015.


Sovereign immunity is a judicial doctrine that precludes bringing suit against the government without its consent. The university and its employees enjoy immunity from suit except to the extent that has been waived by the Legislature. It is a complicated area of the law, but generally, the university is liable up to $200,000 to any one person or $300,000 in total for any one claim. A faculty member would not be personally liable in most situations as long as the conduct in question was within the scope of that faculty member’s duties or authority and as long as the action was taken without any personal malice.

Limitation on Personal Liability-Statute

Florida Statutes, 768.28(9) (a) provides: No officer, employee, or agent of the State or any of its subdivisions shall be held personally liable in tort or named as a party defendant in any action for any injury or damage suffered as a result of any act, event or omission of action in the scope of his employment or function unless such officer, employee or agent acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton or willful disregard of human rights, safety or property.

Liability-University Policy

To implement the principles of sovereign immunity and protect the interests of the university, faculty and staff, the University has adopted the following guidelines:

Any faculty member named in a civil action arising out of the performance of his or her duties or responsibilities should immediately upon receipt directly deliver all legal documents to the Office of the General Counsel. Please deliver by fastest means possible including electronic delivery and immediately notify the office by phone if there will be any delay. The office must evaluate the rights and responsibilities of the affected faculty member.

Failure to notify the University, through this Office, in a timely fashion, may affect the rights of the parties and the ability of the University and the Board of Trustees to defend any action. See BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 21.4.

Where a faculty member is named in a civil action in his or her individual capacity as opposed to official capacity, or if it is otherwise alleged that he or she acted in bad faith, with malicious purpose or otherwise in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety or property, the faculty member may be advised to seek outside counsel to represent the faculty member individually. In any event, a faculty member is always free to consult and retain outside counsel to represent his or her interests in any civil litigation arising out of the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities. The university cannot provide legal services or advice for purely private faculty matters.


University Library policies of general interest to the faculty are posted on the web. 


Lobbying is the personal solicitation to induce legislators or other governmental officials to vote or take action for one’s own benefit or that of another person or group. Generally, one must be registered to lobby before the state Legislature or a state executive agency. For purposes of the University, there are normally only a limited number of people registered to lobby for the University or any of its units; the President, the Associate Vice President for University Relations and the official university lobbyist. As individuals, faculty and staff may always lobby for personal causes or for other non-University causes and are responsible for whatever registration, disclosure or other ethical or legal requirements may apply.

Considerations of ethics are also involved and all University employees are governed to some degree by Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, the state ethics law. For a good overview of state ethics law (and Sunshine Law), see the Guide to the Sunshine Amendment and Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees.


Policy Statement

In fostering academic freedom, it is the policy of Florida State University to uphold the highest standards of integrity in research and creative activity, and to protect the right of its employees to engage in research and creative activity. Researchers are expected to adhere to the standards of research in their area of endeavor, and to encourage adherence to those standards by their colleagues and by those under their supervision. Particularly unacceptable are fabrication or falsification of data in scientific research, and plagiarism in any research or creative endeavor. Deviations which are believed to constitute misconduct are to be reported to an appropriate University official. Misconduct does not include honest error or honest difference in interpretations or judgment of data.

Florida State University is committed to adhering to and enforcing applicable federal, state and local laws and to following procedures required by funding agencies from which contract and grant funds are secured. Researchers are to be aware of any special provisions regarding standards of research and of procedures required by funding agencies for resolving allegations of misconduct in research. Application for funding from an agency shall indicate that the researcher agrees to the procedures required by that agency should it be necessary to investigate an allegation of misconduct in research.

For the full text, see FSU-Policy 7A-2 at


(Section 267.062, Florida Statutes)

  1. Except as specifically provided by law, no state building, road, bridge, park, recreational complex, or other similar facility shall be named for any living person.
  2. The division shall, after consulting with the Florida Historical Commission, recommend several persons whose contributions to the state have been of such significance that the division may recommend that state buildings and facilities be named for them.
  3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) or s. 1013.79(11), any state building, road, bridge, park, recreational complex, or other similar facility of a state university may be named for a living person by the university board of trustees in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board of Governors of the State University System.

The Naming Policy for Florida State University, as approved by the FSU Board of Trustees, is consistent with Section 267.062, Florida Statutes and BOG Regulation 9.005. Click here for FSU Policy 8-2, Naming Policy.


A proposal for changing the name of any college, school, or academic department may originate with the faculty and administration of that unit. Such a proposal shall consist of the specific name being considered and a rationale for the change.

The proposal shall be presented to the faculty of the unit in a formal manner, and the faculty shall be afforded an opportunity for discussion of the issue in a forum presided over by the dean or the dean’s designee. The faculty shall then be given an opportunity to vote by secret ballot on the proposed change.

If a majority of the faculty in the unit approves the proposed change, the dean shall forward it to the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for submission to the Council of Deans and the Faculty Senate for discussion and response. If both groups approve, the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement shall consider the proposal and submit it to the Provost for consideration. Upon their concurrence, the proposal shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees as a consent agenda item.


Each of the University Divisions maintains an organizational chart. These provide a graphic statement of how each Division is organized and provide a ready means of determining basic structure and authority. The organizational charts for the major divisions (Office of the President, Finance and Administration, Sponsored Research, University Relations, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs) may be found by searching for “Organizational Charts” on the FSU Web site. For any questions or to obtain more detailed Departmental organizational charts, contact the Classification Department in Human Resources at 850-644-4908.


Faculty members who plan to engage in outside activity must complete and submit the Florida State University Faculty Outside Activity Statement form (FSU Form FOA 802) for approval by the chair/supervisor and dean/director/vice president each year and before any new outside activity begins. Approval of outside activity must involve determining whether an outside activity interferes with the performance of a faculty member’s assigned duties and whether the activity violates State Statute by doing business with one’s own public employer (i.e., have contractual relationships with companies doing business with the University). The relevant form is located on the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement website at


(BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, See Article 18)
(FSU Regulations 4.063 and 6.009
(FSU Policy on Patents and University-Sponsored Educational Materials, under revision, see

Inventions and creative works are intellectual property. Inventions are ideas and are protected by patents while creative works are protected by copyright. Procedures for disclosing each type of intellectual property created by FSU faculty and staff and assigning ownership of each type of intellectual property vary slightly.

For more information, please see Article 18 of the BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, FSU Regulations 4.063 and 6.009, and Section 6 of the FSU Policy on Patents and University-Sponsored Educational Materials at


Faculty members are free to support political candidates as private citizens but must not use their professional status or any other resource of the University to influence the political process. Specifically, if they have donated to a campaign or signed a political petition, they should request that their administrative title not be included. They must also be careful to consider the implications of sending political or fundraising materials to those who work for them or doing anything else that might be interpreted as pressure to support a candidate or an issue.

FSU Policy on Political and Campaign Activities 


This policy applies to all employees and, in limited situations as noted, students of the University. All federal and state laws, as well as Board of Governors regulations and Florida State University (FSU) regulations and polices shall apply, including, but not limited to, those pertaining to political and campaign activities, student freedom of expression rights and responsibilities, academic freedom and responsibility, use of campus facilities, electronic communications, posting, promotions and advertising on campus.

Background Information

As a state university, it is imperative that FSU maintain its integrity and credibility in the public forum. This is particularly true of the political process and the manner in which University employees affect or are affected by activities such as campaigning, lobbying, holding public office, or engaging in other political activities.


Government Entity: Any state, federal, or local governing or advisory body composed of elected or governmentally appointed officials, or any quasi-public body that holds recognized authority.

University: The Florida State University, its Board of Trustees; all employees, including faculty, staff, agents, and contractors while engaged in work for the University; students: all campuses, facilities, and instructional centers, wherever located.

Policy Statement

Every member of the University community has a right to participate or not, as he or she sees fit, when off-duty and in his or her individual capacity, in the political process. However, current state laws and regulations prohibit state employees from using state resources, including, but not limited to, using state property, information technology (e.g., email, websites, listserv. etc.), materials, supplies or equipment in connection with political campaigns or activities, including lobbying and political solicitation of any kind. As individuals, Florida State University employees are encouraged to support candidates or issues of their choice and participate in the democratic process as a privilege of citizenship. As an institution, Florida State University may not participate or intervene in any political campaign for public office.

No member of the Florida State University community shall speak or act in the name of the University in a political campaign or legislative activity. Those who, in their official capacity, speak for the University, must make it clear when expressing individual views that they do not in any way associate these activities as formal representation or endorsement by the University. The use of any institutional mark, insignia, seals and stationary is prohibited as well. However, wearing of political lapel buttons is acceptable, but not advised when performing official University functions, i.e. teaching class, presiding over a meeting, representing the University at conferences, etc. Bumper stickers on personal vehicles are fine, but prohibited on University owned or leased vehicles.  Employees may reasonably display partisan political signs, photos, and posters in their individual workspace or office, provided they do not create a hostile work environment, or otherwise impair or disrupt University operations. Employees are cautioned, however, that such displays must not violate Section I04.31, Florida Statutes (Political Activities of State, County, and Municipal Officers and Employees) or Section ll0.233 (Political Activities and Unlawful Acts Prohibited), or both. Such displays should not be made in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the display reflects an official position of the University.


Recognized student organizations on campus may sponsor candidates’, political and/or voter activities in specified areas at the university by following all applicable rules, regulations, policies and laws pertaining to facilities, postings and organization registration requirements as outlined. However, student organizations or activity groups associated with various academic programs cannot participate in campaign activities even if participation is in-kind or reimbursed for actual expenses. For example, it is not appropriate for an FSU music group to display the FSU name or otherwise advertise or state its affiliation with the University while performing at a campaign rally.

Elected Officials on Campus

Florida State University welcomes visits by elected officials and their staffs, whether they visit as private citizens or in their capacities as government officials. Invitations to elected officials to visit any campus of Florida State University in their official capacity are to be coordinated and approved in advance with the Office of Governmental Relations.

FSU will neither host nor sponsor a political rally or fundraiser and under no circumstances is the University responsible for generating press coverage or soliciting attendance at such events.

Academic Freedom

There is no restriction on discussion of political issues or teaching of political techniques. Academic endeavors which address public policy issues are in no way affected by this policy.


The President of the University is designated as its principal spokesperson and representative on all government relations matters with all levels of government. The President may delegate this authority as appropriate. In no case shall an employee of the University formally represent the President or Board of Trustees without prior approval and delegation by the President. If an individual employee of the University who is not the President's designee is invited by any government entity to address an issue before it, the employee shall publically clarify that his or her response and participation is not necessarily the formal position of the President or the Board of Trustees. No state resources may be used to support these activities unless approved by the President or his/her designee in advance of the event.

University employees may run for public office or participate in appointed public service, but it is incumbent upon the individual to demonstrate to his/her university supervisor that no conflict of interest or conflict of commitment exists. The employee must conduct all campaign-related activities on his/her own time and without the use of institutional resources and technology.  If the elected or appointed public position adversely affects the duties and responsibilities of the individual relative to the University, appropriate adjustments in compensations, length of contract, or prescribed duties shall be agreed to in writing and approved by the President or his/her designee. The individual's immediate supervisor shall be responsible for any required written forms or approvals.


Amendment I, United States Constitution
Florida Statutes: Section l I.062, F.S.; Section l 04.31, F.S.; Section I 06.15. F.S.; Section 110.233
FSU Regulation 6C2-2.007, Use of Campus Facilities
FSU Regulation 6C2-3.003, Students Freedom of Expression, Rights and Responsibilities
FSU Faculty Handbook 7.42. Political Activity
FSU IT Policy, Electronic Mail and Electronic Communications
Board of Governors Regulation. 5.945, Employee Ethical Obligations and Conflicts of Interest JRS Rule 115, Public Institutions


Baccalaureate Degrees

The recommendation of the student’s academic dean to the Vice President of Faculty Development and Advancement is required. Approval will be granted if 1) the work in progress at the time of the student’s death, had it been completed, would have been accepted by the faculty in the degree program as meeting the major, minor, and other departmental requirements for the degree and 2) the total number of hours earned would have met the minimum total number of hours required for the degree or would have been close enough for the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement to approve the degree in exception to the standard process.

Master’s and Specialist’s Degrees

In addition to the Baccalaureate Degree standards stated above, the recommendations of the student’s Supervisory Committee and the Dean of The Graduate School are required for these degrees to be granted posthumously.

Doctoral Degrees

In applying the standards stated above for Baccalaureate, Master’s, and Specialist’s degrees to Doctoral degrees, the student’s supervisory committee and academic dean must certify that they accept the research or creative activity required for the doctoral degree in question as having been substantially completed, even though the doctoral dissertation may not have been completed in final form or the papers required for elaboration of creative works or performances have not been finally submitted.

Memorial Degrees

If the requirements for a posthumous degree are not met, the academic dean may request that a Memorial Degree be conferred to recognize that the deceased undergraduate or graduate student has enriched the lives of others and will be remembered within the Florida State University community. 

Posting Policy

This policy is meant to promote a better-looking campus by placing some restriction on where fliers may be posted and the manner in which they may be posted. Also, it is meant to protect University property, which is subject to constant repair, cleaning and repainting as the result of careless posting and chalking.

Florida State University strives to create a campus culture that supports the academic mission of the University and provides an environment conducive to learning. Moreover, it is important that the campus environment is aesthetically pleasing and welcoming for faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members, and visitors. The campus should be free from excessive and abusive postings, chalking and the distribution of commercial and promotional materials, which deface and depreciate the value of our grounds, facilities, and campuses.

When these acts occur, it is imperative that University officials, with the assistance of our University community, take the appropriate action to uphold a positive campus culture by educating the citizens of our community, encouraging positive participation in campus activities, and addressing the improper posting, chalking and distribution of materials on FSU campuses.

For further guidance, see FSU Regulation 2.0131 at


For faculty, it is important to remember that existing policy requires that all purchases more than $10,000 be approved by the Provost. Many contracts may not require an actual outlay of cash but may have long-term impact on the University; therefore, faculty should consider a commitment of university resources of any kind to be considered under this threshold.

A purchase less than $10,000 would generally require the approval of the Dean or Director of the College, or equivalent unit. The appropriate authority within the unit should be consulted before any purchase is made. It should also be noted that certain items may not be purchased with funds without specific prior authority. These include brief cases, desk pen and pad sets, holiday decorations, and cards. More details may be found in the above-cited policy.

Even with proper department or college approval, Procurement Services should be consulted regarding large purchases (850-644-6850) because some must go through the competitive selection (bidding) process while others are exempt.

Of related concern is the disposal and trading in of University Property. The Division of Finance and Administration, Surplus Property Management, should be consulted regarding these issues. (850-645 7624)

A detailed summary of the University’s procurement policy can be found here, FSU Policy 4-OP-A-6. Please also see FSU Regulation 2.015.


Florida has a very broad public records law. Section 119.011(11),

Florida Statutes states: “Public records” means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.”

Public records are available to the general public for inspection and copying and may not be disposed of except pursuant to certain established retention schedules. The university charges for copies of public records at the current rate of $.15 per one sided page and $.20 for two sided. Additional charges may be imposed for “extensive use” of clerical, supervisory or information technologies which the University has defined as time in excess of 15 minutes. An appropriate supervisor and then, if necessary, the Office of General Counsel should be consulted where there is any doubt concerning any such request or related charges. Additional information concerning records management may be found in FSU Policy 4-OP-F-3.

Also, see the Guide to the Sunshine Law and Florida Attorney General.


The Office of Research policies of general interest to the Faculty are posted on the web.


As of January 2014, Florida State University became entirely smoke-free. For more information see F&A Policy 7-OP-B-7 at


A Substantive Change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Examples include closing a program (including a certificate program) initiating coursework or a programs at a different level than currently approved, initiating off-campus sites where a student can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program (including a certificate program), or changing the location of a campus initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium.

The purpose of the Substantive Change policy is to establish the requirements, procedures, and processes necessary to ensure timely coordination and notification of substantive changes involving Florida State University to the university’s regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The policy complies with the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality as well as the Commission’s policies and guidelines. For the full text, see FSU Policy, Substantive Change Policy.


The moral norm that guides conduct and informs policy at Florida State University is responsible freedom. Freedom is an important experience that the University, one of the freest of institutions, provides for all of its citizens--faculty, students, administrators, and staff. Freedom is responsibly exercised when it is directed by ethical standards.

As the Florida public university most deeply rooted in the liberal arts tradition, Florida State University not only focuses on intellectual development, but as a community of moral discourse, it also recognizes the need for the development of the whole person. The University maintains a comprehensive educational program ranging from classroom instruction to research and creative activities at the frontiers of human knowledge. These modes of searching for the truth are mutually enhancing and provide the context for the liberating experiences students gain from contact with ideas and individuals. Education based in the liberal arts provides an opportunity for students to learn to express themselves; to think critically both quantitatively and qualitatively; to gain an understanding of and respect for self and others; to understand the world by knowing more about its history, the role of science and technology, and social and cultural achievements; and to develop specialized talents for a vocation. This opportunity is provided with the conviction, as reflected in the University Seal, that through such an educational experience one can come to a clearer understanding of the complex moral issues inherent in human life and can develop the knowledge and skills for effective and responsible participation in the world.

Florida State University shares a commitment to the dignity and worth of each person and is guided in its many endeavors by that underlying value. Through academic activity, community involvement, social interaction, cultural experience, recreational and physical activity, and religious involvement, students find many avenues in the university community for the development of the whole person.

The University shares this society’s commitment to the rule of law and expects members of the community to abide by the laws of the city, state and nation, as well as University rules and regulations.

The University aspires to excellence in its core activities of teaching, learning, research, creative expression, and public service and is committed to the integrity of the academic process. The Academic Honor Policy is a specific manifestation of this commitment. Truthfulness in one’s claims and representations and honesty in one’s activities are essential in life and vocation, and the realization of truthfulness and honesty is an intrinsic part of the educational process.

The University is a place of both assent and dissent and is committed to academic freedom and civil dialogue. In a free and vigorous academic community an ongoing clash of ideas is to be expected and encouraged. The University has a special obligation to see that all have an opportunity to be heard.

Florida State University is committed to nondiscrimination in matters of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, age, and physical disability. This commitment applies in all areas with students, faculty, and other University personnel. It addresses recruiting, hiring, training, promotions and applicable employment conditions. It is also relevant to those aspects of the University concerned with the choice of contractors, suppliers of goods and services, and with the use of University facilities. The University believes in equal opportunity practices that conform to both the spirit and the letter of all laws against discrimination.

A responsible student recognizes that freedom means the acknowledgement of responsibility to the following:

  • to justice and public order; to fellow students’ rights and interests;
  • to the University, its rules/regulations, regulations and accepted traditions;
  • to parents and teachers, and to all others whose support makes one’s advanced education possible;
  • to city, state and national laws;
  • to oneself; and
  • to the opportunity for specialized training and continuing education toward the ends of personal fulfillment and social service.

Students are urged to use their freedom in the University community to develop habits of responsibility which lead to the achievement of these personal and social values. Responsible student behavior requires observance of the Student Conduct Code, which is based on respect for the dignity and worth of each person and the requirements for successful community life.

Relations among all persons should be characterized by mutual respect and equality.  The University denounces all forms of sexism and racism. Sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual coercion of any sort are wrong and constitute a violation of fundamental moral requirements and state and federal law. Minimally responsible behavior requires that no one take sexual advantage of another.

The cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of the University community provides an opportunity for learning about those different from oneself. The University believes that each individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and accorded the full opportunities of the University, without regard to prejudicial assumptions or attitudes. Discrimination based on race or ethnicity resulting from acts or policies is illegal and incompatible with the concept of responsible freedom as espoused by Florida State University.

The University enforces all laws relevant to alcohol and controlled substances and further strongly discourages the use of illegal substances at any time. The University disseminates and encourages the dissemination by others of information concerning the responsible use of alcohol.

The University is a compassionate community. In its treatment of students, it recognizes the wisdom both of letting students experience the consequences of their actions and of providing the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that can overcome past difficulties. The University provides ongoing student support through the health center, counseling services, and the academic advising process.

The university experience is a time for adventure, fun, excitement, the making of new friends, and the discovery of new possibilities. There are numerous individual and organized opportunities for students to develop and to learn in the course of their university years to exercise newly acquired freedom deliberately and responsibly.

Matriculation to Florida State University, then, is a summons to the exercise of responsible freedom in a community of teaching, learning, and discovery.


In cases where local, state, national, or global events affect the continuity of operations of Florida State University, the President, Provost, or their designated chief academic officer may suspend, amend, or implement such academic policies and procedures as needed to deal with the crisis. Whenever possible, key individuals in the university governance structure will be consulted; however, time constraints and the nature of the situation may require timely decisions that preclude such consultation.  This authority is limited to the reasonable duration of the emergency and in no way abrogates the University’s commitment to shared governance under normal operational conditions. 


The decision to close a degree or certificate program, or an instructional site, should be made carefully and should be coordinated with central university administrators, including the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) liaison. Of special concern is that affected students in these programs must be informed of their options and given a reasonable time to complete their studies before the final closure. For more detail, see FSU Policy 3A-4, Policy for Teaching out when Closing a Branch Campus, Instructional Site, Degree Program, or Certificate Program


The University General Counsel’s Office (or University Attorney) is the office of the University that provides legal representation to the University and its administration. It also provides legal advice and representation to faculty, in some cases, relative to their official functions and duties at the University. It cannot provide any personal legal representation to individual faculty or students. The office is available and should be consulted if faculty have any legal questions about their official functions as a member of the faculty. Initial contact should be through the Department Chair, Dean, or the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The office may be reached at 850-644-4440 and is located in Suite 424, Westcott Building.


The authorized use of various University facilities is outlined in both policy and regulation (FSU Regulation 2.007).

As relates to faculty, this regulation is supplemented by the BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement relating to use by UFF, faculty office space and use of facilities by retired faculty. See Sections 3.1,21.2 and 24.4, BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Generally, regulation defines three user groups: University Person, Groups and Organizations, University-Related Groups and Organizations, and Non-University Persons, Groups and Organizations. The first group includes official university persons and organizations. The second includes groups promoting the interests of the University and the third includes all others. Generally, it is presumed only the first two groups will have use of university facilities, with the first group always having priority use for official university business and functions. Generally, academic areas are under the final scheduling authority of the University Registrar, and other spaces are generally under the scheduling authority of Oglesby Union Guest Services, University Housing, Campus Recreation, the Director of Athletics or the President’s Office, as appropriate.

Events of a political nature are limited to those sponsored by University persons, groups, or organizations. See Political Activity.


Many of the university symbols, such as the seal, the Seminole head, logo and others, have been federally registered and are the property of the University. For more information see FSU Policy OP-E-4 at and Any questions concerning their use should be directed to the FSU Office of Licensing at 850-644-8690.

The FSU Office of Communications is always a good reference when using the university names, photos, symbols or in other branding or publicity issues.


Florida State University is committed to providing and maintaining a respectful environment that is conducive to safe working, learning, and living for all members of the institutional community. The University must have an environment in which all faculty, staff, students, and guests can study, live, and work without intimidation or fear.

In keeping with this commitment, it is the policy of Florida State University that acts of violence, threats of violence, and behavior meant to intimidate others is strictly prohibited. Such prohibition includes any act, behavior, or communication which is abusive, threatening or disruptive to the work, education, or well-being of any individual or groups of individuals employed by, enrolled in, or visiting the University.

Anyone who believes themselves to be a victim of violence should report their concerns to the Florida State University Police, and/or any University vice president, assistant vice president, dean, director, or department chair. Any threat or violent act by an employee or student will be considered serious misconduct and may be the basis for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

For further guidance, see FSU Policy 4-OP-C-10.

Legacy Sort
Legacy Priority