Policy 1318
Emeritus Staff

Date of Current Revision: May 2018
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources


James Madison University recognizes the important contributions to the institution that have been made by staff members who rendered many years of dedicated service before retirement. This policy is designed to provide procedures for the appointment of emeritus status for staff members at the university.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president. 


The person within the retiring/retired person’s unit who initiates a recommendation that a staff member be granted emeritus status.

An individual is considered retired if the following conditions exist:

  • met the age and years of service requirements for retirement under one’s respective Virginia Retirement System (VRS) plan; and
  • has submitted a notice of retirement to his/her supervisor or department establishing a retirement date and;
  • has completed or submitted a retirement application to VRS; or
  • has a “Terminated” status due to “Retirement” in the Human Resources Management System (i.e. the individual has separated from the university).

Staff Member
For the purposes of this policy, a person who is categorized as a full-time classified employee.


This policy applies to all emeritus staff appointments at the university.


In appropriate cases, retired staff members may be recognized by the award of emeritus staff status. Emeritus staff status is a privilege and not a right, and it is awarded at the discretion of the university. No staff member is entitled to emeritus status, and emeritus status may be removed by the university at any time for any reason.


6.1 Eligibility
A retired staff member is eligible for appointment to emeritus status if the individual has served full-time for a minimum of 10 years at James Madison University, has a record of noteworthy contributions throughout his or her JMU career, and has retired from James Madison University in good standing.

6.2 Posthumous Eligibility
A staff member may be approved for emeritus status posthumously, whether death is prior to retirement or after. If prior to retirement, the staff member is eligible for emeritus status if all criteria, other than retirement in good standing, are met.

6.3 Privileges
An emeritus staff member has many of the same rights and privileges to use university facilities and to participate in university activities as an active full-time staff member. These may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • a JACard
  • access to university dining services meal plans
  • an email account 
  • bookstore discounts
  • on-campus waiver of tuition
  • participation in appropriate university events
  • use of recreational facilities
  • use of the libraries

Use of or access to these services is determined at the discretion of the service provider.

Emeritus staff members do not normally receive remuneration, although they may be hired by the university on a part-time basis for a limited time with a minimum of a six-month break in service following his/her effective retirement date. Emeritus staff members who are not employed by the university will have affiliate status. See Policy 1337-Affiliates.

Retiring staff members who have been granted emeritus status will be eligible for membership in the James Madison University Staff Emeriti Association. They are also eligible to obtain a limited-use emeritus parking decal.

6.4 Procedures for Appointment
Nominations for staff appointments to emeritus status are made by the staff member’s supervisor to the president through the administrative line of authority, including the appropriate vice president. 

6.4.1 A separation ePAR must be submitted to Human Resources prior to completing the Recommendation for Emeritus Status form.

6.4.2 After confirming eligibility with Human Resources, the nominator completes the Recommendation for Emeritus Status form, which includes a justification statement for nomination of the staff member, and submits the form to his/her Director/Unit Head, then to the AVP/Dean.

6.4.3 The AVP/Dean then submits the form to the appropriate VP, who approves the Recommendation for Emeritus Status form by signing and submitting the form to the president’s office for approval, or denies the request by sending the request form back to the AVP/Dean and nominator indicating denial. 

6.4.4 If approved: The president’s office verifies the hire date, retirement date and address of the staff member with Human Resources. The president’s office creates the letter of approval and submits it to the president for signature.

If denied: The nomination form is returned by the president’s office to the vice president, indicating denial. The vice president notifies the nominator.

6.4.5 Once the status has been approved by the president and the nominating office has received the copy of the letter, that office should initiate the Affiliate Service Request form for emeritus status to Payroll Services, indicating the service date as the date of retirement and the service end date as 30 years after the retirement date. A copy of the signed Affiliate Service Request form, along with a copy of the president’s letter of nomination, is retained in the department’s file for two years and may be audited by the Auditor of Public Accounts or JMU Audit and Management Services.

6.4.6 Payroll Services designates the person as emeritus in the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) after receiving the Affiliate Service Request form submitted for the retiring staff member by the nominating department. Emeritus requests will not be processed until a separation ePAR has been processed by Payroll Services and entered into the HRMS. 

6.5 Timing
A nomination for emeritus status may be submitted in anticipation of an employee’s retirement to ensure the employee’s timely transition to affiliate status without loss of services. The date of the employee’s retirement must appear on the nomination form. Employees may be nominated up to six months in advance of, or up to one year beyond, their actual retirement date.

6.6 Duration of Appointment
Emeritus status is normally granted on a permanent basis; however, emeritus status may be removed by the university at any time for any reason, and an emeritus staff member has no legitimate expectation for the status to be continued.

6.7 Removal of Appointment
Emeritus appointments may be removed at any time at the discretion of the university. A recommendation to remove emeritus status may be made by the appropriate director, unit head, or associate vice president, to the appropriate vice president. The vice president’s recommendation on the removal status will be sent to the president. Appropriate circumstances are not limited to misconduct.

6.7.1 If the president approves the recommendation for removal of emeritus status, a letter will be sent to the staff member by the vice president indicating the removal of emeritus status.

6.7.2 A copy of the notification letter by the vice president will be sent to the original nominating department, at which time that department will complete an Affiliate Service Request form to terminate the staff member’s  emeriti services.


The staff member’s supervisor is responsible for nominating a retired staff member in his/her department for emeritus status, and for recommending removal of such status in appropriate instances. For staff members, the AVP over the retired staff member is responsible for making a recommendation on the nomination for emeritus status to the appropriate vice president, and for making recommendations concerning removal of such status.

The appropriate vice president is responsible for making a recommendation on the nomination for emeritus status to the president and for recommending removal of such status in appropriate instances. Once approved by the president, the vice president is responsible for notifying the staff member of the award of emeritus status, and for notification of such removal.

The president is responsible for approving emeritus status for staff members and removal of such status in appropriate instances.

All departments, offices and employees that generate, receive or maintain public records under the terms of this policy are also responsible for compliance with Policy 1109-Records Management.




This policy does not apply to full-time or part-time instructional or administrative & professional faculty, wage employees or other part-time employees. This policy does not apply to emeritus faculty. See Policy 2105-Emeritus Faculty.


The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the director of human resources.

Previous Version: January 2017
Approved by the President: April 2016

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