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Purchasing Guidelines and Information

A. Purchasing Authority

All purchasing activities are carried out in accordance with applicable by-laws and directives from the Board of Trustees, and follow sound business practices. 

B. Purchasing Objectives

  • To assist the campus community with the identification, selection and acquisition of required materials and services.
  • To acquire materials and services as economically as possible, within acceptable standards of quality and service, while utilizing professional ethics and our best business practices.
  • To select the vendor to be used, considering delivered cost, quality required, vendor capability, vendor service record and delivery dates.
  • To maintain a consistent and fair policy toward the entire business community, while maximizing the opportunity for small business participation.
  • To ensure compliance with all University policies as well as Federal and State procurement regulations.

C. Signature Authority

Authority is granted to certain individuals by the University Board of Trustees, and only these individuals have the authority to enter into a contract purchase agreement or otherwise obligate the University other than those purchases for departmental supplies. A purchase order, when used, constitutes a contract that is binding on both the University and the vendor. Some vendors may also require accompanying terms, conditions, agreements or forms. All documents without an authorized signature will be considered invalid and not binding upon the University.

D. Terms and Conditions

The General Terms and Conditions and/or a purchase order (collectively, the “Agreement”) shall constitute the complete and exclusive statement of the Agreement between University and the vendor with respect to the purchase of any goods and/or services. To the extent that vendor terms and conditions conflict with University General Terms and Conditions, the latter shall control.

E. Roles & Responsibilities

When purchasing goods and services, it is important to understand the two distinct roles that exist in the decentralized purchasing environment at Wesleyan:

Financial Service's role: Financial Services has the ultimate authority to purchase goods and services for the University. This responsibility can be delegated and shared with departments to buy certain goods and services. In departments, this responsibility falls on department buyers.

Department buyer's role: A department buyer has the delegated authority to purchase materials, supplies, services, and repairs when these goods and services:

  • Do not exceed $500.
  • Do not qualify as equipment
  • Do not require a signed contract
  • Do not require on-site labor

F. Authorized Purchases

There are four authorized methods for procuring and paying for goods and services for the University:

  • E-Commerce
  • Purchase Order (when required by vendor)
  • University Credit Card (Bank of America VISA Commercial Card)
  • Vendor Voucher / Miscellaneous Invoice
  • Personal credit cards should only be used for travel related expenses.

G. Unauthorized Purchases

Only the Purchasing Department has the authority to enter into a purchase agreement or can otherwise obligate the University for procurement indebtedness. Individual faculty and staff members are not authorized to sign on behalf of the University, or to bind the University in any manner. State Law provides that individuals who do not have delegated authority, and who enter into unauthorized agreements, may be held personally responsible for the cost of the goods or services purchased.

H. Competitive Bidding

All competitive bids, for product and services of $500 or more, will be solicited by the Procurement Specialist. In addition, Financial Services reserves the right to obtain competitive quotations regardless of dollar value whenever, in its judgment, the quotations may best serve the interest of the University.

I. Sole Source Vendors

A sole source vendor purchase is one where there is only one vendor capable of providing an item or service, and therefore it is not possible to obtain competitive bids. An example of single sourced vendor is office copiers and service.

J. Vendor Selection

Financial Services welcomes suggested vendors on all requisitions, however the final selection is the responsibility of the Procurement Specialist. Factors evaluated prior to the selection will include price, product quality, delivery and past performance. It is extremely important that no commitments, expressed or implied, be made by faculty or staff to vendors.

K. Sales Tax

The University is exempt from state sales tax. Upon request, Accounts Payable Office will furnish a copy of the University's tax exemption certificate to the requesting department.

L. On-Site Work / Insurance Requirements

Under a variety of circumstances, outside organizations are required to provide evidence of commercial general liability insurance and to name the University as an additional insured to the organization's insurance policy in order to be permitted to conduct business on University property. All such arrangements require a written contract or agreement with the University. Purchasing works with the Office of Risk Management to ensure that proper insurance requirements are in place before any on-site work begins.

M. Personal Purchases

Financial Services will not facilitate or approve any transaction for purchases of a personal nature. Requisitions and vouchers containing items which appear to be of a personal nature will be questioned by Financial Services and will be returned to the requisitioner if the purchase is inappropriate. Personal purchases are acceptable from vendors if the University has sanctioned the vendor for this purpose and the employee has paid for the product with a personal credit card.

N. Conflicts of Interest 

Employees of Wesleyan University who act on its behalf have an obligation to avoid activities or situations which may result in a conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest. Employees must not use their University positions to influence outside organizations or individuals for the direct financial, personal or professional benefit of themselves, members of their families or others with whom there is a personal relationship.

O. Gifts and Gratuities

In order to avoid a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, at no time should an employee solicit or accept gifts from a vendor or contractor or from a potential vendor or contractor. Ordinary business courtesies, such as payment for a modest lunch are acceptable, but should not be abused. Gifts which are promotional items without significant value (less than $25.00), and which are distributed routinely by the vendor to clients, are also acceptable. All gifts, or "free" items received in conjunction with a purchase are perceived to be University property. As such, they must either be used within the department or forwarded to surplus property. Gratuities or gifts of money to an employee cannot be accepted at any time.

P. Capital Equipment

Capital equipment is defined as those items which individually cost more than $500 and have a useful life of one year or more. Capital acquisitions are identified with bar coded tags affixed to the equipment.

Q. Surplus Product and Equipment 

Items that departments no longer use that are deemed to have a useful life. Please contact the University Procurement Specialist to determine the disposition of these assets.