Integrated CSU Administrative Manual



Section 5000 Policies

Policy Number:  5212.0

Policy Title: Protests, Disputes, and Complaints

Policy Effective Date:  March 12, 2002

Last Revision Date:  
(see revision history)


To establish system wide contracting and procurement policy as required by Education Code 89036.


Campuses have final authority to resolve protests, disputes, and complaints arising from the solicitation, award, or performance of a contract; in all instances where a legal representative of the bidder, vendor, or contractor has initiated correspondence or formal action, campuses shall contact the Office of General Counsel prior to taking any action. Solicitation documents must contain provisions for the resolution of protests and disputes.


100  Protest of Solicitation Requirements (Rev. 03/19/01)

The solicitation document shall provide potential bidders with the opportunity to protest the specifications and/or requirements that the bidder feels may be unfair or unreasonable. Such protests must be submitted prior to the scheduled bid submittal deadline.

The campus shall within a reasonable period of time issue a decision to the bidder. The decision of the campus is final.


200  Protest of Contract Award - Formal Solicitations (Rev. 07/07/06)

Campuses are encouraged to develop protest procedures that emphasize transparency and that will provide firms, which submitted a proposal, with an understanding of the process with which their proposal will be evaluated.

Protest of contract awards may be limited to firms that submitted a proposal in response to CSU’s solicitation and must be on the ground that the firm’s proposal should have been selected in accordance with the selection criteria in the solicitation document.  Once a firm expresses its intention to protest, the contract shall not be awarded until the protest has been withdrawn or a decision has been reached by the CSU.

A. Notification of Protest

A firm must express its intention to protest the award of a contract within the timeframe specified by the solicitation document. The time frame specified, usually no more than five (5) business days, must provide firms with a reasonable opportunity to make an initial determination to proceed with the protest and should take in to account factors such as the complexity of the project.

B. Detail Statement of Protest

Within ten (10) calendar days after expressing its intent to protest an award of a contract, the protesting firm must submit a full and complete written statement specifying the grounds of the protest and the facts in support thereof. Authority to protest may be limited to participating bidders.

C. Review of Protest

An impartial evaluator(s) selected by the campus shall perform a review of the protest. Selection of the evaluator shall be at the discretion of the campus. The evaluator(s) shall review the merits and timeliness of the protest and submit a decision in writing within a reasonable period of time following receipt of the detailed statement of protest. The campus shall issue a decision in writing or otherwise furnish to the protesting firm the decision in such a manner as to ensure receipt. The decision of the campus is final.


300  Disputes Subsequent to Award (Rev. 03/19/01)

Disputes subsequent to award may include, but not be limited to, contention over terms, pricing, payment, scope and/or deliverables. A dispute resolution and escalation clause, describing resolution procedures and the appropriate parties to which the matter may be escalated, shall be included in solicitation documents and contracts, as applicable.






Useful Guidelines:


Related Principles:


Sound Business Practices:


Laws, State Codes, Regulations and Mandates:

Reference: Public Contract Code Sections 12102(h).


CO Manager:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Subject Expert:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Affinity Group:

Procurement & Support Services Officers