Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should we do if an item's property tag has become damaged, unreadable, inappropriately removed, was placed in an inconvenient location, or is otherwise  problematic?

A: In these cases it might be necessary to use an ink marker, engraver, or paint to mark the item with the appropriate property number. Most inventoried items have manufacturer's serial numbers that are included in the property records and can be used to confirm the appropriate property number.

Q: Can property be donated to another organization?

A: Yes, property can be donated to a public agency, public school, or a registered 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Before a donation can be considered, the items must be offered to any other university department that may be able to utilize them. Departments that are interested in donating items to other organizations must be familiar with the survey and donation processes in the Property Management Policies and Procedures, located on the Financial Services forms page. Property that is to be donated must be approved by the survey board before it is donated if the property has a property number. 

If a donation of computers is to be made, the owner department must comply with the University’s data security requirement for a documented data purge, and provide an IT Footprints number or other IT approved documentation of the data purge to the Property Management Specialist. The campus Information Security Officer or IT help desk can facilitate the data purge or provide guidance. Details of the University's data security requirements are available online.

A department that makes a donation to another organization must provide the Property Management Specialist with appropriate documentation of the donation and should review the requirements with the proposed recipient. The required documentation includes:

  • A signed official letter from the recipient organization, on organizational letterhead, that lists the property numbers of the items accepted.
  • A copy of the IRS statement of determination may be required in order to document that the organization accepting the donation is a registered 501(c) (3) organization.

The documentation must be forwarded to the Property Management Specialist by the department that donated the items. When the donation is properly documented, the items are removed from the department's inventory.

If items to be donated are not included in the University inventory they do not need to be submitted for survey but the department should maintain a record of the donation in the form of an official letter signed by a representative of the recipient organization.

Q: Why is a Laptop Permit required for each laptop computer? 

A: The Laptop Permit was developed in response to an audit finding by a Chancellor's Office auditor. The requirement to maintain a file of use permits for all laptop computers was sent to each department’s Property Manager and Property Custodian on July 17, 2008. A copy of the Laptop Permit is delivered with each new laptop computer/portable computing device (PCD) that arrives at the campus receiving area, and the Laptop Permit Form is also available. The list of managers and custodians for each department is posted in the Property Manager and Custodian Listing. The permit for each PCD is checked during the spot check of each department's annual inventory process and the requirement is also explained in the instructions that each Property Manager and Property Custodian receives for their department's inventory.

Q: Why is the Equipment Loss Report distributed with the annual inventory?

A: In the past, a quarterly missing property memo was sent to each department that reported items lost, missing, or improperly disposed during the inventory process. The memo included three questions about missing items (what was done to find the items, what does the department manager believe happened to the items, and what measures have been implemented to prevent future losses) for which the State Administrative Manual (SAM) requires responses. Using the equipment Loss Report to collect this information during the inventory process (rather than weeks or months later) relieves the Property Managers and Property Custodians of the separate report required by the SAM. The Equipment Loss Report should address each lost, missing, or improperly disposed item that was not found during the inventory. Because we recognize that the Equipment Loss Report increases the effort required during the inventory, the timeframe for completing the inventory was increased from 2 weeks to 3 weeks

Q: Our department would like to have an item tagged with a property number. What documentation is required?

A:  In order to assign a property number we must have documentation that the item is University property. This is usually documented by the purchase order, CCP records of the item's purchase, or the University Gift-In-Kind form (which is processed by the development office). In some cases we can apply a property tag if the department Property Manager provides a written statement that the item is University property and requests the item to be tagged and placed on the active inventory.

Q: When are old or surveyed items removed from our department's inventory list?

A: Items are removed from the list when the removal of the item is documented in accordance with University procedures, following the Survey Board's approval. The authorized removal of items is usually performed by the property assistant who records disposals with an official record. Items are also removed from the inventory list when an Equipment Loss Report is submitted and the subsequent survey is approved. 

Q: How often does my department have an inventory?

A: Once a year. 

Q: How much time does my department have to complete its inventory?

A:Each department has three weeks to return the completed forms to the Property Management Specialist, and two weeks in which to complete the spot check after that three week period. There are more than 100 different department inventories that must be completed each year and the property program depends on timely reports from each department. A current list of items for a department can be provided at any time, so an early start to the inventory process can be made by any department by requesting a set of papers before the three week inventory period begins.

Q: My department's inventory is scheduled each year during the busiest time of the year for me. Can we reschedule the annual inventory for a different time of the year? 

A: Yes, if your scheduled inventory date happens to come to you during a really busy time, we will be happy to schedule your annual inventory during a slower time of the year. All subsequent inventories will then be scheduled annually based on that date.

Q: Why do I have to go through the cumbersome task of making a survey request to dispose of tagged items that have no value, are broken, or are outdated? Can't I just throw these items in the trash can? 

A: No. The purpose of tagging property is to safeguard and track University property. Documenting the disposal of each tagged item shows management, auditors, and state taxpayers that the University is performing due diligence in safeguarding the scarce resources that are allocated to the University

Q: Why are there articles in my area that have property numbers, but do not appear on my inventory? 

A: Several cases lead to this situation. The most common are:

  • Items that are property of the IT department and on the IT inventory list that are used by staff in a different department.
  • Items that were purchased and tagged when the "tagging threshold" was lower than $5000, and subsequently removed from the active inventory when the "tagging threshold" was raised to $5000. Presently, computers of any cost, items costing more than $5000, safes and several other categories of items are tagged.
  • Items that have been moved, but not reported to the Property Management Specialist as transfers to your department.
  • Items that were not located during previous inventories and have been reported and surveyed as missing. These items should be reported found, and will be returned to the active inventory.
  • Items that are owned by another department that shares space with your department.

Q: Why does it sometimes take a long time for items to be removed after I request a survey? 

A:The survey and disposal process has several steps that must be completed and documented in the proper sequence. The Chancellor’s Office audits the survey records regularly to monitor our compliance with these processes. An incomplete or inaccurate initial request will always delay the process while the correct information is being sought. Two members of the survey board must approve each survey. After a survey is approved, arrangements are made to remove the items. The items are usually removed by the Property Assistant or through a work request written by the property management specialist for Facilities to remove the surveyed property. The timing of the removal depends on the workload at the time; the moving crew works for the facilities department and reply to many other campus work requests, and the Property Assistant works part-time and must arrange to move items when the survey requestor is available to coordinate and document the removal

Q: What if a member of our department accidentally disposed of an item in a manner that is not in accordance with the property control procedures? 

A: If an item is disposed in a manner other than through the established procedures, the circumstances of its disposal must be documented with an Equipment Loss Report in order for the item to be surveyed and removed from the inventory. 

Q: Can I purchase University property?

A: Probably not. The various property control requirements with which the University is required to comply contain explicit guidance that employees may not have any advantage over the general public in opportunities to purchase university property. Sales are made through the Public Surplus website. Guidance for departments that wish to sell items that are no longer needed is available from the property management specialist.

Q: Is surveyed property recycled? 

A: In most cases, yes. The university has been required to dramatically reduce the amount of material that is sent to the landfill. Electronic devices are disposed through a contract with a certified electronic waste recycler that is administered by the campus Environmental Health and Safety department. Facilities Services maintains contracts for other refuse services, including recycling for metal, wood, and other material. 

Q: How do I dispose of items that do not have property numbers? 

A: Please read Electronic Waste Recycling for guidance on disposing items that are not included in the University inventory. You can contact Seawolf Services to have a work request written for the campus moving crew or custodians to dispose these items. The Property Management Specialist may also be able to assist you.

Q: Does the property program provide the service of erasing sensitive data from computers that are being surveyed?

A: When computers are disposed by the normal survey process, they are taken to the IT Help Desk where data or data storage components are removed or destroyed before the computer is disposed. Your department may also contact IT to have sensitive data removed from computers. You can visit Safe Computing at SSU , the Information Security Office, or contact your IT representative. If you are disposing equipment other than computers that contain sensitive data you can contact IT for service or indicate on the survey request and to the Property Program Student Assistant that the item needs to have a documented data removal.  

Q: Can our department write a work request to have inventoried items disposed? 

A: No. The University is required to establish and maintain a procedure for safeguarding and surveying inventoried property, and all disposals of current inventory items must follow the established procedure and be properly documented. The University is audited regularly to verify compliance with established procedures. 

Q: Why are duplicate inventory lists sent to each department’s Property Manager and Property Custodian?

A: The lists are sent to the Property Manager and Property Custodian in order to ensure that both are aware that the inventory has been sent and of the due date for the completed inventory papers.

Q: What should our department do if an item is returned to the vendor or manufacturer for refund or warranty replacement?

A: Items that are returned to the vendor for a refund should be documented with an appropriate credit memo from the vendor and a copy of that needs to be provided to the Property Program Coordinator to document the return. When Items are returned to a vendor for warranty exchange, the property tag should be removed and re-applied to the replacement article. The replacement article’s serial number needs to be provided to the Property Program Coordinator to update the inventory records.