University of California, San Diego

Disbursements Division

November 29, 1999


SUBJECT:  Entertainment Special Events - Holiday Gatherings

The Office of the President has issued a revision to Business and Finance Bulletin, BUS 79, Entertainment. UCSD's Policy and Procedure Manual 350-30, University Sponsored Entertainment, will be reissued with the updated policy. Because the revision includes policy pertinent to special and social events; and since this is the holiday time, this notice is being issued in advance to highlight some of the new as well as existing policy that is to be followed when planning events.

In the context of this notice, exceptional entertainment expenses refers to the cost of the designated meal/refreshments per person for a holiday party for employee recognition and for justified expenses for spouses/guests in conjunction with other special and social events as well as for expenses such as nonfood cost for catering, rental of facilities, and extra household help for all events.

Exceptional Entertainment: Employee Recognition

UC policy allows for employee recognition functions such as holiday gatherings to be approved as exceptional entertainment if reimbursement is limited to only the employees in attendance, within the allowable cost per person, and permitted under the fund source. If the allowable per person meal costs are exceeded, a written justification must be included as to why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary.

Exceptional Entertainment: Special and Social Events - Other

The approval authority should evaluate the event in terms of cost, benefit, availability of funds, and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired business objectives. Specific guidelines include:

Entertainment should be cost effective, in accordance with the proper use of public funds, and must be directly associated with the conduct of official UCSD business.

Entertainment must serve a clear UCSD business purpose, with no personal benefit derived by either the official host or attending employees.

Entertainment expenses for either an employee's spouse (or equivalent) or for a guest are not considered to be reimbursable unless such entertainment serves a bona fide UCSD business purpose. For example, an entertainment expense incurred for the purpose of generating the goodwill of prospective university donors is considered a legitimate business objective.

If the allowable per person meal costs are exceeded, a written justification must be included as to why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a business purpose.

A guest list including the name, title, and either the occupation or the business relationship is to be provided.

Events held at private residences should follow all applicable entertainment and Internal Revenue Service policies.

A new form, Special and Social Events - Other, should be completed and approved by the appropriate approving authority and submitted with the Request for Reimbursement for Entertainment Expense. Please visit the Travel and Entertainment web site for the new form, allowable rates, and entertainment policy and procedure:


Questions on this policy as well as on payment options may be directed to the Travel Office either at telephone extension 43734 or by email Travel@UCSD.edu.

                                                Faye E. McCullough
                                                Disbursements Division