COVID-19 Response and Reopening

G-2-1 COCC Beverage and Food Policy

Hosting Groups and Official Guests:
The College or an employee, in the normal conduct of a program or activity, may serve as host for official guests of the institution by paying for their meals and refreshments. Examples of official guests include, but are not limited to, visiting scholars, dignitaries, potential donors, public officials and guest speakers. The overarching definition of an official guest is "a person who has been invited to a COCC facility or function for a specific purpose that benefits the College's mission." Pre-approval by the appropriate Dean, Vice President or President is required prior to extending an invitation and a clear benefit to COCC must be documented when requesting payment of invited guests' food and beverage expenses. With the exception of pre-approved guests, it is not permissible for a COCC employee to pay for a guest's food and beverage expenses and then seek reimbursement.

Exception: Regulations that govern reimbursement for expenses related to the interview process for COCC positions shall be dictated by current Human Resources practices.

Departmental Receptions & Intra-Departmental Functions:
Expenditures for refreshments, snacks, meals and non-alcoholic beverages may be appropriate for business, instructional or other planned meetings and events. Providing refreshments for a lengthy intra- departmental function or gatherings such as Program Advisory Committee meetings, which occur on an irregular basis, such as once or twice a year, may be appropriate when a planned meeting is called to accomplish a specific mission-related purpose. Providing refreshments for a weekly or monthly staff meeting is not appropriate. In some circumstances, the only time of the day where a comprehensive faculty/staff meeting is feasible is during the lunch hour. Using a "reasonableness test," it would be appropriate for the department to pay for a meal/refreshment (pizza, box lunches, etc.) during a working lunch at a College location. However, an intra-departmental working lunch held at a local restaurant would not be appropriate for reimbursement.

There may be an occasion where students or volunteers are participating in a planned after-hours support activity (e.g., event setup) for a specific purpose that benefits a College program or event. Using a "reasonableness test," it would be appropriate for the department to pay for a snack/meal/refreshment (pizza, sandwiches, non-alcoholic beverages, cookies, etc.). However, an after-hours activity held at a local restaurant would not be appropriate for reimbursement.

Departments may wish to hold receptions accompanied with food/beverages to honor employees for outstanding achievements, length of service and retirement. Generally, it is inappropriate to expend College funds for these purposes. However, as outlined in the COCC accounting procedure entitled Employee Gifts and Events, a department can seek approval to help fund refreshments at an on-campus reception for a retiree (see accounting procedures - below -for details).

Meals/Beverages on Day Trip (no overnight stay):
Non-overtime meals/beverages, including lunch, can be reimbursed only when the employee is attending a conference, seminar, convention, board meeting or, committee meeting as a representative of COCC where non-COCC employees are present. Breakfast and dinner can only be reimbursed if College related travel requires the employee to leave two or more hours before or return two or more hours after the regular work-day. Employee will be reimbursed using the current in-state per diem rates.

Alcoholic Beverages:
Institutional funds cannot be expended for alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may be served at banquets or other special group activities conducted as part of a planned College event with the approval of the President. The full cost of alcoholic beverages must be recovered through charges to the participants or sponsoring group. If alcoholic beverages are purchased in the course of an event, the costs must be separated from meal charges.

Extended Approval:
When appropriate, the President may grant a comprehensive pre-approval in writing beyond the limitations stated above to an employee whose specific assigned duties include advancing the interests of the college. Such extended pre-approval shall be granted annually or until revoked by the President.