When vendors offer or provide free merchandise with a WSU order, the free items may not be acquired by or given to employees or others for personal use.

Under RCW 42.52.070, “Except as required to perform duties within the scope of employment, no state officer or state employee may use his or her position to secure special privileges or exemptions for himself or herself, or his or her spouse, child, parents, or other persons.” The free items are only made available due to the expense of state funds in the initial purchase, so any items received as a result of the order must go to the department for official use.

Items received at no additional cost with WSU purchases may be used as follows:

  1. Use the goods for an official University purpose within the unit.
  2. Send the goods to University Surplus if the department has no use for them.
  3. Under some conditions, the goods might be given to students:
    • If the department has an existing mission or function authorizing it to purchase items to give away to students, the free items can be given to students. For example, UREC has budget for Up All Night door prizes. A $10 iTunes card received free with an order could be given away at Up All Night. The department should have a protocol for the management and disposition of these items.
    • If the department does not have an existing mission or function authorizing it to purchase items to give away to students, the free item can be transferred to another unit that does.

In no case should the items be given to students, or other employees working in the department, for personal use or otherwise in violation of RCW 42.52.070. In all cases, the unit should establish documentation to account for the disposition of items.

For more information, contact Internal Audit at ia.central@wsu.edu.