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Legal Matters

Legal Assistance Related to University Matters; Signing of Contracts; Service of Legal Papers

The handling of all legal matters arising from or pertaining to the operations of the University is the responsibility of the General Counsel of the University and only the Office of General Counsel is authorized to retain outside counsel on behalf of the University. All legal inquiries should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel.

Administrators and faculty members should not sign contracts, leases, or other agreements without proper written authorization, as well as required legal and financial reviews, and should not reply to communications received from attorneys concerning University business, whether telephone messages, faxes, e-mails or letters. Responses to such communications must be prepared in consultation between the Office of the General Counsel and the faculty member or administrator concerned. Similarly, under no circumstances should anyone not an officer of the University accept service of legal papers, such as subpoenas, citations, court summonses, or violation notices. Anyone who wishes to serve such papers on the University should be referred to the Office of the General Counsel, which will accept them officially on behalf of the University.

Refusal by a faculty member or administrator to accept service is not illegal; it is in fact the proper procedure and in the best interests of the University. If a process server refuses to be cooperative and insists upon leaving the papers, immediately call the Office of the General Counsel, and ask for instructions.

The Office of the General Counsel is responsible only for official University business and is not staffed to provide personal legal assistance except in the special instances described in “Selected Policies Concerning the Protection of Rights and Other Matters” under the heading of “Legal Protection for Faculty Members.” In exceptional cases, however, the office will, upon request, suggest legal organizations or other counsel to University personnel in need of such assistance.

Faculty Handbook Table of Contents


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