Tangible Property Disposal


When a tangible asset of the College is no longer useful or safe to the College, it may be declared surplus and disposed of in accordance with this policy. Surplus property may include supplies, materials, equipment, vehicles, or furnishings.

Property purchased with College funds, donated to the College, or acquired for College use through other means, is considered property of Amherst College; title remains with the College at all times until asset disposal.

Property purchased, all or in part, with federal funds (with a value of $5,000 or greater), must be managed in accordance with applicable college AND federal policies applicable to capital asset dispositions. Title does not reside with the Principal Investigator (PI).

The Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of the College must authorize any disposal of College tangible property. He/She will utilize the guidance of colleagues such as the Dean of the Faculty, Chief of Campus Operations, Associate General Counsel, and the Head of Archives and Special Collections in authorizing a disposition. College property may not be salvaged, scrapped, donated or otherwise disposed of without this prior approval.

Departmental Transfers

Assets declared as surplus by any department may be offered or placed elsewhere within the College so long as they are determined to meet current safety standards. Questions about safety standards can be addressed by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, ext.

Approval from the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer is not required for the reuse of supplies and materials by internal departmental transfer. Employees should obtain approval from the department manager or academic department chair of the area foregoing the assets prior to the transfer and notify Controllers Office staff at ext. 2613. Employees and/or students are not allowed to take or purchase surplus College supplies and materials for personal use.

Disposal Action

All dispositions of tangible assets requires the completion of the College’s Tangible Asset Disposal Form prior to the disposal of the asset. The form requires the approval of the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer and the Department Chair/Director of the department with custody of the asset.

The form also requires a signature of the employee initiating/administering the disposal and a signature verifying review from the Controller’s Office. Generally, only an employee from the direct department that has custody of an asset should initiate and administer an asset disposal.

The employee initiating/administering the disposal shall send the form to the Controller’s Office (attention Senior Accountant) after gaining all required signatures. The Controller’s Office will acknowledge the internal process complete and communicate back to the initiating/administering individual prior to the sale being transacted.  Receipts shall be sent to the Senior Accountant in the Controller’s Office for final accounting.

Disposal Type


An interested purchaser should be sought if an item has economic value at the time of disposition. All items must be sold at fair market value and that value evidenced (on-line quotes, appraisal, etc.).
To preserve an appropriate segregation of duties, proceeds from property disposals are directed to general institutional funds.
A signed sales agreement is required which has been prepared or reviewed by the College’s Associate General Counsel.


If an interested purchaser does not exist, but the asset retains economic value, it may be donated to a registered 501(c)(3) organization. A proper letter must accompany the asset detailing the conditions on which it is being donated. This letter is prepared by the College’s Associate Legal Counsel.


An asset may be utilized as an exchange for a new asset either in an even exchange or to reduce the price of a newly acquired asset. A proper letter must accompany the asset detailing the conditions on which it is being exchanged.
This letter is prepared or reviewed by the College’s Associate General Counsel.


An asset may be disposed through an auction if it has economic value. A registered auctioneer must be utilized. All paperwork must be furnished to the Controller’s Office after the sale.


If an asset has no remaining economic value it may be sent to the trash. Assets deemed to have no further use should not be passed to employees for their keeping. Please note that any special handling for trash should be referred to the Facilities Department at ext. 2254. Any environmental concerns should be referred to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at ext. 8172.

Asset Disposals Requiring Further Authorization:

Certain assets require the approval of additional colleagues due to their unique nature. Please note the circumstances below.

IT Equipment

Assets such as desktop computers, laptops, software, hardware, mobile devices, printers, etc., requires the review of the Associate Chief Information Officer for IT Services & Outreach. Any questions can be directed to this individual at ext. 8395.


Assets such as collectibles, art, archival materials, books, etc., requires the approval of the Dean of the Faculty. Many of these decisions may be subjective. Please use a conservative approach and notify the Dean of the Faculty’s Office with any questions. The Chief Financial and Administrative Office will notify the Dean of Faculty with any questions in circumstances where he/she has questions on a particular asset.

Federally Funded

Regulations exist at the federal level concerning the disposition of assets purchased with federal funds. Compliance with these regulations is critical to ensure the College remains free from federal findings, penalties, fines, and potential loss of future funding. All disposals of federally funded equipment must be reviewed by the Controller’s Office.

Hazardous Materials

Disposal of hazardous substances (chemical, biological, etc.) and equipment containing hazardous substances MUST be reviewed with the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, ext. 8172.

To deter theft and address safety issues, items that have been deposited into waste removal containers, including dumpsters, should not to be removed. Please contact Campus Police, ext. 2291 if you have questions or concerns about individuals removing items from college waste removal containers.