OLA attorneys provide counsel on a variety of topics, including, but not limited to, labor and employment, intellectual property, contract and corporate law, research, compliance, litigation, governance and ethics, real estate, athletics and student and faculty issues.
An Affiliation Agreement, sometimes called a Clinical Agreement or an Applied Learning Experience, is a contract between the University and another entity (oftentimes a healthcare facility) for purposes of providing an educational opportunity for students generally in a supervised situation, such as an internship. The Affiliation Agreement sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each party with regard to the educational opportunity. For more information regarding Affiliation arrangements with external facilities, please contact your Unit or Department’s affiliation coordinator.
SERVICE OF ALCOHOL AT UNIVERSITY EVENTS
Alcohol may only be served at events held on the Georgia State University campus upon receipt of permission to do so by the University President or the President’s designee. In order to receive permission to serve alcohol at an on-campus event, the event sponsor must review the University’s Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs and complete the required Request to Serve Alcohol process and form. The Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs governs the service of alcohol at off-campus events that are sponsored by chartered student organizations and off-campus events sponsored by university units if university students will be in attendance. A link to the Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs and to the Request to Serve Alcohol form are set forth below.
Directions for Obtaining Permission to Serve Alcohol at an On-Campus Event
- Read the Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs;
- Complete the Request to Serve Alcohol at On-Campus Eventform by (A) entering all requested information about the event on page 1; and (B) securing the signatures of all persons identified on page 2, as applicable; and
- Submit the completed Request to Serve Alcohol at On-Campus Eventform to the Office of Legal Affairs for review at least two weeks prior to the event. Your Request to Serve Alcohol at On-Campus Event form may be scanned and sent as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred), hand delivered, or faxed to 404-413-0518.
- You will receive notice from the Office of Legal Affairs indicating whether permission has been granted for alcohol service at your event once Legal Affairs has completed its review of your Request to Serve.
The Office of Legal Affairs actively supports and provides legal guidance to the Georgia State University Department of Athletics on all intercollegiate athletic matters. In particular, OLA attorneys advise on issues relating to Georgia State’s participation in NCAA and Conference affairs, administration of varsity athletic programs, Title IX/student-athlete issues, and athletic contracting, including, but not limited to, business and administration contracts, multimedia and sponsorship agreements, facilities use agreements, apparel contracts, pouring rights agreements, game contracts, and employment contracts.
Conflict of Interest Policies
Gifts and Gratuities
The Board of Regents Policy Manual §802.13 (Gratuities), prohibits the receipt of gifts by University System employees.
All Georgia State University employees, including faculty and staff, should read The Board of Regents Policy Guidelines on Gifts and direct any questions to the Office of Legal Affairs.
Conflicts of Commitment and Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of Commitment
All Full Time University Employees are expected to devote their primary professional loyalty, time and energy to the educational, research and scholarship programs of the University. A “Conflict of Commitment” occurs when the aggregate time devoted to external activities (including both paid and unpaid activities) adversely affects a Full Time University Employee’s capacity to meet the responsibilities of his or her position.
Conflicts of Interest
A “Conflict of Interest” exists whenever personal, professional, commercial, or financial interests or activities outside of the University have the possibility (either in actuality or in appearance) of influencing a University Employee’s decision or behavior with respect to teaching and student affairs, appointments and promotions, uses of University resources, procurement and business transactions, or other matters of interest to the University resources, procurement and business transactions, or other matters of interest to the University or of biasing the design, conduct or reporting of University research. An essential step in addressing a Conflict of Interest is for the University Employee involved to make full disclosure of relevant information related to any actual or potential Conflict of Interest so that interested parties inside and outside of the University may evaluate such information.
Conflicts of Interest in Research
The University promotes objectivity in University research by establishing processes that provide a reasonable expectation that the design, conduct, and reporting of sponsored research is free from bias resulting from financial conflicts of interest of the University Employee involved in the research.
Transacting Business With The State of Georgia
Have you transacted business with the State of Georgia outside of your employment at the University?
O.C.G.A. § 45-10-26 requires that any public official or employee, whether for himself, herself, or on behalf of any business, or any business in which such public official or employee or any member of his or her family has a substantial interest who transacts business with the state or any agency thereof shall disclose such transactions. Such disclosure shall be submitted prior to January 31 each year to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission on such forms as it shall prescribe and shall include an itemized list of the previous year’s transactions with the dollar amount of each transaction reported and totaled. Such disclosure statements shall be public records.
The requirement to disclose certain transactions shall not apply to any transaction when the amount of a single transaction does not exceed $250.00 and when the aggregate of all transactions does not exceed $9,000.00 per calendar year. Failure to disclose such business transactions will subject the public officer or employee or business to a civil fine not to exceed $10,000.00, restitution to the State of any pecuniary benefit received as a result of such violation, and, in the case of appointed public officials and employees, removal from office or employment.
Amorous relationships have clear potential to involve a conflict of interest. The policy governing these conflicts can be found here:
Each year, the Office of Legal Affairs drafts, negotiates, or reviews over 3,000 contracts on behalf of Georgia State University. General information about the University’s contracting process is provided below, together with the University’s Contract Routing Form and contract templates.
Except research proposals and contracts which are handled by the Office of Sponsored Programs, all contracts must be routed to and approved by the Office of Legal Affairs prior to signature. University units/departments seeking to hire outside consultants/independent contractors should follow the instructions found in the Finance & Administration document entitled, “Payments to Independent Contractor/Consultants.”
Policy on Contract Review and Approval
Contract Routing Form
Data Security Form
Vendor Data Security Form
Service Provider Agreement
Georgia State Performance Agreement
Georgia State Speaker, Photo, Film and Sound Release
State Agency Hiring Form
For use with hiring other state agency employees (e.g., teaching courses)
Criminal Background Checks
Vendors must obtain criminal background checks on certain employees per Board of Regent’s policy. The service provider, not the university, is responsible for obtaining the background check, reviewing the results, and complying with this requirement. Any qualified background check provider may be used. The service provider should not send these materials to the University.
Conflict of Interest
The Contract Routing Form requires the Requesting Department Head to confirm that the vendor complies with this Policy. The provision of the Policy regarding Purchasing, Contracting, and Other Business Transactions is excerpted here:
Conflict of Interests [Section of USG Policy applicable to purchasing and contracting]
Before a University Employee participates in awarding, negotiating, reviewing or approving a business transaction (including but not limited to purchases, contracts, and subcontracts) involving the University and (1) an entity in which such employee or his or her Family has a Financial Interest, (2) an individual in the University Employee’s Family, (3) an entity in which an individual living in the same household (related or unrelated) as such University Employee has a Financial Interest, or (4) an individual living in the same household (related or unrelated) as such University Employee, the University Employee must disclose the proposed transaction in writing to the Ethics Officer for review. If the Ethics Officer determines that a Conflict of Interest exists, a Management Plan relating to such activity shall be created as set forth in Section VI below to reduce or eliminate the Conflict of Interest, if such activity is permitted by State law.
Attorneys in the Office of Legal Affairs work closely with the Department of Human Resources to advise about the university's rights and obligations under laws that affect its relationship with employees, including but not limited to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Office of Legal Affairs also provides counsel to supervisors regarding recruiting and hiring, appointment of faculty, management of personnel issues, promotion and tenure, grievances, disability accommodations, disciplinary actions, terminations, layoffs, and University policies and procedures.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools, including GSU, that receive funds under applicable programs of the U.S. Department of Education.
What kind of records does FERPA protect?
FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in education records. An education record is any record directly related to a student and maintained by Georgia State. This includes records that exist in any medium (including handwriting and email) and maintained by any unit of the university including those maintained by any employee or party acting on behalf of Georgia State.
Education records do not include the following:
- Sole possession records which are made by one person as an individual observation or recollection of a student that are kept in the possession of the maker. Such records may not be accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record. Generally sole possession records are intended to serve as a “memory jogger” for the creator of the record;
- Medical, psychological and counseling records of the University Health Clinic and University Counseling and Testing Center;
- Employment records unless being a student is part of the job description and requirements (i.e. GRA/GTA);
- Records created and maintained by the University Police Department; or
- Alumni records collected about an individual after that person is no longer in attendance at Georgia State and which do not relate to the person as a student.
What is included in Directory Information?
FERPA allows certain information – referred to as directory information - to be disclosed without the student's permission unless the student has opted out of such disclosures. Within certain parameters, universities are permitted to define what is considered directory information at their institution (i.e. there is not one list of directory information set out by law). At Georgia State, directory information includes the following items:
- Student name
- Mailing address
- Telephone number
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Full or part-time status
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Degrees and awards applied for and/or received
- Dates of attendance
- Previous educational institutions attended by the student
- Weight, height, age, hometown, hobbies and general items of interest of members of athletic teams
- Photographs and other recorded images
Who has access to student educational records?
According to FERPA, student consent is required for disclosure of education records unless an exception applies. Exceptions include but are not limited to the following:
- Directory Information
- School officials with legitimate educational interest
- Upon request of officials of another school at which a student seeks or intends to enroll
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- To a parent of a dependent student as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials and family members in the case of a health and safety emergency
What are a student’s rights under FERPA?
FERPA provides students with certain rights with respect to their education records:
- the right to inspect and review their education records
- the right to request to amend their education records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy or other rights
- the right to a hearing if the request to correct an alleged inaccuracy is denied
- the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent
- the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education concerning alleged failures by GSU or any of its schools or colleges to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
More detailed information on FERPA may be found on the GSU Registrar’s website.
With a diverse array of media partnerships, Georgia State University is facilitating Atlanta’s emergence as a global media capital. Georgia’s booming film industry creates exciting employment opportunities for our students, and new avenues of research and industry partnerships.
The Office of Legal Affairs manages and provides legal counsel on requests to film on campus, including University, student, and external commercial productions. All commercial filming on campus is subject to University approval and applicable contracting, use fee, and insurance requirements. For additional information on filming at Georgia State University, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at (404) 413 -0500.
The Office of Legal Affairs provides advice to the GSU police and public safety departments regarding their activities on campus and to offices responsible for maintaining the safety of the workplace and student environments. Attorneys in the Office of Legal Affairs counsel on and manage the legal issues involved with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Crime and Statistics Act (Clery Act), as well as the University's emergency response, OSHA, and environmental regulation.
The Office of Legal Affairs advises the University's Research Services and Administration, its Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization and other units on a variety of matters including basic science contracts and grants, confidentiality agreements, clinical trial contracts, subcontracts and federal grants, patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret matters, commercialization of discoveries coming from GSU research and regulatory matters such as IRB, Biosafety, Animal Care, Scientific Misconduct, and Conflict of Interest.
Intellectual Property can encompass any form of creativity, such as inventions, processes, computer software, research tools, artistic works, know-how, and unique materials. Depending upon the underlying subject matter, intellectual property protection may be available by virtue of patent, copyright, trademark and/or trade secret laws, or not available at all.
University personnel and students generate many creative inventions and artistic works. Ownership and rights to intellectual property are determined in accordance with applicable law and the University's Intellectual Property Policy, which applies to all persons creating intellectual property at Georgia State University, including students and all employees, including but not limited to faculty and staff. The policy also extends to persons receiving compensation or funding from or administered by Georgia State University. Intellectual property addressed by the Policy includes patentable inventions, biological materials, copyrighted materials, software, and trade secrets, whether or not formal protection is sought. Unless exempted from disclosure, all intellectual property developed at Georgia State University should be disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization using the IP Disclosure Form. More information on Technology Transfer & Commercialization can be found at the University Research Services & Administration at Georgia State website.
Material Transfer Agreements
Outgoing Material Transfer Agreements
OUTGOING AGREEMENTS – STEP 1
The faculty member must completely fill out a Request for Outgoing Materials form. The completed form should be sent to the Office of Legal Affairs at email@example.com. The Office of Legal Affairs will alert the Office of Research Integrity to the request.
OUTGOING AGREEMENTS – STEP 2
The Office of Legal Affairs will review the Request for Outgoing Materials to determine if there are any potential legal issues involving the proposed provision of the materials. As part of the review, the legal staff will check a database for federal regulations that could prohibit us from providing the materials to the designated recipient. Restrictions may apply to either the materials or the recipient indicated in the Request for Outgoing Materials. In order to complete this review, the legal affairs staff may need to contact the faculty member for additional information.
OUTGOING AGREEMENTS – STEP 3
If there are no legal obstacles to the transfer, the Office of Legal Affairs will prepare a Material Transfer Agreement and send it to the appropriate person at the recipient’s institution. The other party may request revisions to the agreement. The Office of Legal Affairs will work with the other party in an attempt to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both. If successful, the recipient institution will be asked to sign the agreement and e-mail it to the Office of Legal Affairs. We will then present it to the Chair of the Georgia State University Research Foundation for countersignature.
OUTGOING AGREEMENTS – STEP 4
Once the agreement has been fully executed, the Office of Legal Affairs will advise the faculty member at Georgia State University that the material may be shipped to the recipient institution.
Incoming Material Transfer Agreements
INCOMING AGREEMENTS – STEP 1
Please send any such agreement, along with a completed Routing Form for Incoming MTAs to the Office of Legal Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org for review. The legal staff will forward the Routing Form to Institutional Biosafety for review. The legal staff will work with the other party to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both sides.
INCOMING AGREEMENTS – STEP 2
Once we have come to terms with the other party, the Office of Legal Affairs will send the agreement to the Vice President for Research to sign on behalf of Georgia State University.
INCOMING AGREEMENTS – STEP 3
After we have obtained signature on behalf of the University, we will return it to the other party for execution with instructions to provide us with a copy of the fully-signed agreement.
Policy and guidelines on the use of third party-copyrighted materials may be found at the University System of Georgia’s Copyright Policy pages.
The Office of Legal Affairs advises International Student and Scholar Services and the Office of International Initiatives on issues of faculty and student immigration, international travel, study abroad and exchange programs.
Attorneys in the GSU Office of Legal Affairs are responsible for managing litigation and other legal matters to which the University is a party, including disputes concerning employment, contracts and business, intellectual property, and personal injury claims. The OLA also represents the University in connection with administrative proceedings before various government agencies, including the EEOC and the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education. In addition to these responsibilities, the OLA works to prevent litigation and to resolve disputes before legal proceedings are initiated.
The Office of Legal Affairs is responsible for coordinating the University’s search, retrieval and disclosure of records pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, subpoenas, and requests for production of documents.
Receipt Of Request For Records
Should an employee or a department receive a verbal or written request for records of any kind, such request should be forwarded immediately to the Office of Legal Affairs. The law provides a very short time (sometimes only 24 hours) for making the requested records available and the search, retrieval, and copying of documents is often time intensive. Additionally, some records may not be released due to a privacy law or statute. As such, it is imperative that document requests be forwarded as soon as they are received to the Office of Legal Affairs for response. An individual department should NOT contact the person making the request, even for clarification, unless directed to do so by the Office of Legal Affairs. To expedite delivery, requests may be hand delivered to the Office of Legal Affairs at 100 Auburn Avenue, Suite 315, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303, or emailed to email@example.com.
To Request Documents
The Office of Legal Affairs recommends using the Open Records Request Form below when requesting records from the University. Although use of the form is not required, it is designed to help requestors provide enough detail to clearly identify the records desired. Please be advised that some records may not be released due to a privacy law or statute prohibiting their release. Requestors will be assessed a $.10 per page fee for any printed copies as well as a labor charge, less fifteen (15) free minutes allowed by statute, based on the hourly rate of the lowest-paid, full-time employee assigned to retrieve and copy the requested documents. Should the cost exceed $25.00, the Office of Legal Affairs will contact the requestor with an estimate prior to fulfilling a request.
For additional questions about document requests, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at (404) 413-0500.
Georgia State University operates or hosts a variety of camps, clinics, after-school programs, classes, and activities that bring non-student minors onto campus. The University finds great educational value in these activities and such activities are central to the University’s outreach to its faculty, staff, students, and to the broader community. The University considers the safety and well-being of these non-student minors while on campus immensely important.
The University’s policy on Programs Serving Non-Student Minors describes the requirements for programs to operate on campus, and the Office of Legal Affairs advises on policy compliance. The Office of Insurance & Risk Management maintains a registry of authorized programs at the University.
Georgia law requires that all Georgia State University employees (faculty/staff) and volunteers who regularly come in contact with children as part of their duties and who have a reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected (either on- or off-campus) to report that abuse immediately (no later than 24 hours after such belief arises). More information is available below.
The Office of Legal Affairs has a notary public on staff. If you are a member of the faculty, staff, or student body of the University and have a document that needs to be notarized, please call (404) 413-0500 for an appointment. You will be asked to present the unsigned document and valid photo identification. If all requirements for notarization are met, the notary will have you sign the document in front of him/her, and will sign and stamp the document as required.
At the request of the President, the Office of Legal Affairs represents the University in all real estate transactions. All such transactions are subject to the approval of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The Office of Legal Affairs acts as a liaison with the Board of Regents’ Real Estate and Facilities Division and the Georgia Department of Law. Real Estate activities managed by the Office of Legal Affairs include: acquisitions and sales of real estate, leasing property as tenant or landlord, management of real property assets, due diligence, and easements, licenses, access agreements and rights-of-entry involving access to University property. Additionally, the Office of Legal Affairs reviews all agreements related to design and construction, code compliance, environmental health and safety, and public-private partnerships.
Any unit at the University requesting additional space not owned or managed by the University must first notify the Capital Planning and Space Allocation Committee and complete the Space Request Form at facilities.gsu.edu/forms/.
The use of University facilities for University programming and events takes priority over all other uses. The use of University facilities by external third-party groups is subject to availability and requires a contract, the payment of a use fee, and the provision of satisfactory insurance. For additional information on real estate and the use of facilities please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at 404-413-0500.
The foundation of scientific and research endeavors is the integrity of the process. Georgia State and the Office of Legal Affairs supports faculty, students and staff in meeting the highest levels of research integrity in proposing, conducting and reporting research. We safeguard human and animal subjects; promote laboratory, biological, radiation and environmental safety; assist with export control regulations; and address conflict of interest and commitment.
More information on Research Compliance can be found at the GSU's University Research Services & Administration website.