University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Board of Regents Governance

Regent Policy

No. 10

Customs and Protocols of the Board of Regents

1. The University is part of the executive branch of state government. Regents are fiduciaries to the University and hold it in trust for the long-term benefit of the public.

2. The Board of Regents is a deliberative body, whose members represent the interests of the public and the entire University, not any of its separate parts.

3. The authority of the Board is collective and does not rest with individual members (except to the extent otherwise specified by the Board).

4. When interacting with various internal and external constituents, individual Regents should make it clear that they are not speaking for the University or the Board (unless they have been specifically granted permission to do so).

5. Other than the conduct of their normal duties, individual Regents should not involve themselves in the internal governance mechanisms of the University without the blessing of the Board, its Chair, or a specific request of the President.

6. The President may ask individual Regents to perform special tasks for the benefit of the University, in addition to their normal duties, which are undertaken under the President's guidance and authority.

7. The Board is responsible for setting university policy in accordance with relevant statutes. The development and administration of policy is delegated to the President, who is held accountable for the same.

8. The ordinary path of communication between Regents and the administration is through the Chair and the Secretary of the Board. Regents should direct requests for information to the Secretary, and requests for attention to a matter to the Chair, who shall communicate to the President, reporting back to the requesting Regent.

9. The President serves under the Board's direction. The Board supports the President's leadership. The Board reviews the President's performance and the Chair is responsible for providing input to the President in that regard.

10. The agendas of the Finance and Asset Management Committee, Governance Committee, and full Board are managed by the Board Office under the direction of the Board Chair and the Committee Chairs, in consultation with the President and the Presidentís designee(s). The agenda of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee is managed by the Office of the Provost, under the direction of the Committee Chair. A Regent requesting the inclusion of an item on an agenda may direct such a request to any of the Chairs, the Secretary, or the President or designees.

11. The Chair of the Board is the Board's spokesperson, unless specifically determined otherwise.

12. The Board seeks to model the behavior it expects from all University constituents. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
  • Civility in its meetings and discourse,

  • Mutual respect for the views of other Regents,

  • Respect for presenters and University representatives,

  • Appreciation of the positional power of the Regents and the concept of leadership as a form of service,

  • Transparency in all matters before the Board,

  • Integrity in all of its dealings.

BR, January 15, 2009; [formerly numbered Regent Policy No. 12] July 11, 2019.

For related information, see:

  • Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 2, "Statement of Ethical Principles"
  • Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 11, "Policy Regarding Regent Conflicts of Interest"