FAQs

Compliance

How do I know the requirements for the programs for which I am responsible?

The Higher Education Compliance Alliance (HECA) has developed a matrix that provides a comprehensive listing of key federal laws and regulations governing colleges and universities. The matrix includes a brief summary of each law, applicable reporting deadlines, and links to additional resources. Users can sort by topic area or by date to plan for upcoming reporting requirements. Users can also filter by topic, to limit the matrix to certain topics of interest (i.e. athletics or human resources). The compliance matrix can be accessed via the following website: http://www.higheredcompliance.org/compliance-matrix/

Are there resources available for the tracking of these requirements?

Yes. One available resource to track compliance items is the compliance database. The database allows the recording of pertinent items that require reporting to various agencies. The system allows for the recording of due dates. E-mail reminders are submitted in an effort to ensure that items recorded are completed in a timely manner. The compliance database can be accessed via Georgia College website.

Are there instructions for the completion of items in the compliance database?

Yes. The instructions for the compliance database can be accessed under the resources tab on the right-hand side of this webpage.

What should I do if I know a violation or possible violation has occurred?

You should report a violation to your immediate supervisor. In many cases, internal concerns can be resolved quicker when reported to a supervisor. However, if an employee is concerned that reporting an issue to a supervisor might result in retaliatory treatment report a concern via the GC Ethics and Compliance Reporting Hotline. Individuals can either call 1-877-516-3432 toll-free or complete the process online via the following website: www.gcsu.alertline.com to report a violation. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Violations can also be reported to offices of Human Resources, Public Safety, Internal Audit, or Legal Affairs.

What information is necessary to use the online reporting system?

The reporting of a concern is simple: First, the reporter must tell what has happened. A series of questions will be asked regarding the concern. Second, the reporter will be asked to provide contact information. If the reporter wants to remain anonymous. How can I check the status on my concern when I use the online reporting system? At the end of the call, you will be provided with a report number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) as well as instructions for using the website to follow-up on your concern.

Why does the University offer an anonymous reporting option?

An anonymous reporting option is a requirement of a United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. All anonymous reports will be investigated.

FERPA

What is FERPA?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA, also referred to as the Buckley Amendment) is a federal law that affords students certain rights regarding access and release of their education records.
Questions concerning this law and the University's procedures regarding release of academic information may be directed to the Registrar's Office at 478-445-6286 or Legal Affairs at 478-445-2037.

The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for overseeing FERPA.  See the Department's Web site for additional information.

Contracts

What are Contracts?

A university contract is defined as an agreement intended to have legal effect or be otherwise recognized at law between the University and another party. This list may include leases, MOUs, clinical agreements, volunteer agreements, waivers and releases, agreements to buy, sell or rent goods. This is not an all-inclusive list.

How do I submit my contract for legal review?

All contracts must be submitted via the Contracts Submission Form. Prior to submission the contract must be signed by the outside party.

Can I sign a contract/MOU?

No. The only authorized individuals may sign contracts on behalf of Georgia College. Therefore, contracts signed by unauthorized individuals or without obtaining legal approval may, if the university chooses not to honor the contract, result in personal liability for the person signing the contract.

Immigration

What should I do after I've offered someone a position and they need a work visa?

Once the offer of employment has been extended and accepted, the hiring department should notify the Office of Legal Affairs immediately. The international employee cannot begin working for Georgia College until the appropriate application is filed (and approved depending on the type of visa held when hired). If the international does not have proper work authorization on the date that they are scheduled to begin employment at Georgia College, s/he cannot begin work.

Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property shall be deemed to refer to patentable materials, copyrighted materials, trademarks, software, and trade secretes, whether or not formal protection is sought.

Who owns the intellectual property that I develop at Georgia College?

Intellectual property developed at Georgia College using Georgia College resources is generally owned by Georgia College. The Georgia College Intellectual Property Policy provides more information with respect to ownership and royalties.

Legal/Risk Management

Does the Office of Legal Affairs provide personal legal advice to Georgia College students, faculty and staff?

No. The office provides legal services related to University business

I am concerned that a Georgia College employee may be committing an ethics violation or is involved in an illegal or fraudulent activity. What should I do??

Reporting through your supervisory chain frequently produces the most thorough and timely resolution of a matter and is encouraged. You may prefer to report through Human Resources, University Police or the Office of Internal Audit.You can also make a report via telephone by calling the number below toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-877-516-3432

One of my co-workers is suing Georgia College. What should I do??

It is best not to discuss the lawsuit with your co-worker involved in this lawsuit, or any other Georgia College employees.  Discussing the lawsuit with the suing co-worker may give an impression of an unfriendly, intimidating or hostile work environment.  Additionally, it may give the impression that the co-worker is being retaliated against because he or she has brought a lawsuit against Georgia College.  If a co-worker has approached you and wants to discuss a co-worker lawsuit or other employee disciplinary matter, please refrain from discussing the matter and contact the Office of Legal Affairs.

What happens if I am sued for some action or served with a subpoena related to my job??

Contact the Office of Legal Affairs immediately so the document can be reviewed to determine the university's rights and responsibilities for compliance. Do not ignore a subpoena, even if it addresses something you are unfamiliar with or asks for documents you don't have. Failure to respond to a subpoena could result in you or the university being held in contempt of court.

What should I do if I receive a subpoena, court order or search warrant?

Notify the Office of Legal Affairs immediately and provide them with a copy of the subpoena, court order or search warrant. OLA will then provide guidance on the appropriate response to the issuing/serving attorney, court or law enforcement agency. Do not contact or discuss the subpoena, court order or search warrant with the issuing/serving party. Let OLA do that for you if necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTE: OLA can only advise individuals with subpoenas, court orders and search warrants received concerning matters within an individual's scope of employment as an employee of the University. For subpoenas, court orders or search warrants seeking information outside the scope of employment University employees should seek private legal counsel.

Title IX

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681) provides that no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The following are examples of types of sex-based discrimination prohibited by Title IX:

  • Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, occurring in connection with any academic, athletic, extracurricular or other university program, regardless of the location;
  • Discriminatory decision-making by a supervisor of an employee based on the employee's sex;
  • Failure to provide equitable opportunity for participation in intercollegiate sports; or
  • Disproportionate awards of athletic scholarships.

Records Requests

What is an Open Records Request?

This is a request from an outside party to request public records of Georgia College. All documents or other records (including video, audio, or electronic records) prepared or maintained by Georgia College, as well as documents prepared or maintained by its employees as part of their job responsibilities, are subject to the Georgia Open Records Act.

What should I do if I receive an Open Records Request?

You should email our office (legal@gcsu.edu) and if the request is in writing, send a copy of the request to the OLA immediately.

What should I do if I receive a subpoena, summons or a request for documents related to student records?

You should send the request to the Office of Legal Affairs immediately.

Are there any laws or university policies regarding records requests for student records?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guarantees students access to their educational records and, with some exceptions, prohibits disclosure of educational records. The exceptions include consent by the student and subpoenas. The University may also release directory information without a student's consent, unless the student has specifically requested that directory information be withheld.