Skip to main content

System Status: 

Meetings and Entertainment: Special Entertainment

Learn about hosting special entertainment for university business.

If you're an employee authorized to act as a designated host to entertain on behalf of UC San Diego, ensure that the entertainment activity is directly related to university business and does not personally benefit you or other employees.

Reimbursements and payments

Use Concur (login required) to claim expenses or request payments.


Special entertainment must be approved by both the employee with delegated entertainment approval authority and the employee with delegated approval authority for special entertainment (vice chancellor or Chancellor's designee). For more information, see approving meetings and entertainment.

Types and purposes

Special entertainment includes meal or light refreshment expenses for events with expenses exceeding the maximum allowable per-person cost and for certain types of activities regardless of expense.

The following circumstances are considered special entertainment:

Cost exceeds the per-person maximum

When entertainment costs exceed the per-person maximum, provide a written justification as to why higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve the UC San Diego business purpose of the activity.

Even with appropriate justification and approval, costs may not exceed the per-person maximum by more than 200%. If this were to occur, UC San Diego Travel is required to send a special request to the chancellor for review and approval, and it is limited to special circumstances.

Participants include a spouse, partner or family member

Entertainment expenses for a spouse, partner, or family member can be approved only if there's a bona fide business purpose for attending the event, such as:

  • Recruitment
  • Alumni gatherings (non-UC San Diego employees)

For events where there's no business purpose served by a spouse, partner, or family member's attendance, the employee should pay for his/ her guest's portion.

Employee morale or holiday gatherings

Faculty and staff morale-boosting functions, such as appreciation, recognition, length of service, retirement, farewell, picnics or holiday gatherings, must serve a UC San Diego business purpose and can be approved as special entertainment if costs are:

Note: A retirement or farewell celebration requires the employee is retiring or separating from employment after at least 5 years of service.

Tickets to community events and fundraisers

Tickets for donors, students, or guests to attend a community event, such as a sporting event, concert or other similar entertainment venue are considered special entertainment and are processed in Concur. Tickets on behalf of employees are treated as gifts and are also processed under Concur.

Cost for a table or ticket (cash contribution) to a UC San Diego fundraiser or an outside non-profit event requires an explanation of the business purpose and a statement showing the difference between the table fee and the cost of meal/ refreshments. In addition, the following documentation as it relates to the specific event is required:

  • For a non-UC San Diego entity, process under Concur and attach a transmittal letter on UC San Diego letterhead to be sent with the UC San Diego payment to the recipient organization. See a sample transmittal letter (PDF).
    • NOTE: Payment must be paid by UC San Diego and not by the individual employee.  If an individual pays for the event, they may only be reimbursed for the meal component and would retain the “donation” benefit for their own taxes.  For example, if the purchase of two tickets is $500, for which the meal component is $100 and $400 is a donation, the individual may only be reimbursed the $100
  • For tickets to employees for sporting or cultural event (season tickets excluded), process under Payment Authorization. If the tickets include a meal component, use Concur.
Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.

Notice: UC San Diego policy for meetings, entertainment, and hosted events, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts, and processing applications. The source is UC Expenditures for Business Meetings, Entertainment, and Other Occasions.