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Our office fields a wide array of legal questions. Below are some common questions on legal matters affecting the university and some basic information on those issues.

Keep in mind that all legal advice depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular situation. As a result, these FAQs are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as specific legal advice.

University faculty or staff should contact us directly to discuss any specific questions.

Accommodations For Persons With Disabilities


    What if I require reasonable accommodations in applying or testing for a job?

    Please contact the Human Resources Office at 719.549.2441.


    What if I require reasonable accommodations to help me perform my job?

    Please contact the Human Resources Office at 719.549.2441.


    What if I am a student and require reasonable accommodations in class, in housing or with respect to any other University Program?

    Disability resource information for students can be found at

Conflict Of Interest And Commitment

Contracts And Signature Authority


    Who has the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University?

    Please review the Delegated Contract Signature Authority document for information.

    For more information, contact the Office of the General Counsel.


    How can I get assistance with contract review?

    All contracts must be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel.  You should first discuss the issue with your Dean, the VPFA or Athletic Director and request that they forward the contract to the Office of General Counsel for review.

Discrimination, Harassment And Affirmative Action


    What is the University's policy regarding discrimination?

    It is the policy of Colorado State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo that no member of the University Community may discriminate against another member of the community on any basis for which discrimination is prohibited by state or federal law or University policy, including but not limited to, race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, and genetic information.


    What if I believe that I (or someone I know) have been discriminated against by another member of the University community?

    Colorado State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo have specific policies and procedures in place to address complaints of discrimination. Discriminatory acts can also be the subject of complaints to the Department of Education (Office for Civil Rights), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Colorado Civil Rights Division, or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

    Student complaints are handled by the Office of Student Conduct and Case Management in accordance with The Code of Student Conduct & Adjudication.

    Complaints against State Classified staff should be brought to the Office of Human Resources. Complaints against administrative professionals may also be brought to the Office of Human Resources for a determination on the appropriate forum for such a complaint. 719.549.2441.

    The Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Employment Opportunity is responsible for CSU-Pueblo’s commitment to prevent prohibited discrimination. CSU-Pueblo’s Policy on Discrimination can be found in the Faculty Handbook along with the grievance procedure at


    What is the University’s policy regarding sexual harassment?

    Colorado State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo strive to create and maintain a work and study environment that is fair, humane, and responsible so that each member of the University community is treated with dignity and rewarded for such relevant considerations as ability and performance. Abusive treatment of individuals on a personal or stereotyped basis is contrary to the concepts of academic freedom and equal opportunity. Sexual harassment is one such form of abuse and cannot be tolerated.

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when such conduct is directed toward an individual because of his or her gender, is severe and/or pervasive, and has the purpose or effect of (1) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment or (2) unreasonably interferes with another’s academic performance. Generally, a single sexual joke, offensive epithet, or request for a date does not constitute sexual harassment; however, being subjected to such jokes, epithets, or requests repeatedly may constitute hostile environment sexual harassment.

    Sexual violence is a severe form of sexual harassment, and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent, including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion or similar acts in violation of state or federal law.


    What if I believe that I (or someone I know) have been sexually harassed by another member of the University community?

    Colorado State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo have specific policies and procedures in place to address complaints of discrimination. Sexually harassing behavior can also be the subject of complaints to the Department of Education (Office for Civil Rights), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Colorado Civil Rights Division, or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

    Concerns of sexual harassment must be reported to the Office of Human Resources/Affirmative Action, whose website can be found at The Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. Sexual Harassment Complaints against students are governed by the Code of Student Conduct & Adjudication and if there is a concern of sexual misconduct it should also be reported to the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Enrollment Management, whose number is 719.549.2332.


    Does the University have an Affirmative Action program with respect to hiring employees?

    Yes. Both Colorado State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo have affirmative action programs with respect to hiring.

    CSU-Pueblo’s Affirmative Action Program Policy can be found in the Faculty Handbook at

    Hiring decisions are made by various CSU administrators. Human Resource Services administers the selection process for all State Classified personnel.

    The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System has delegated authority to appoint most Administrative Professionals to the President. The President has further delegated this authority to the Provost and the vice presidents for the administrative units under their authority. The Board of Governors must approve the appointments of the Provost, vice presidents and, if requested by the Board, senior administrators. Further, from time to time, the Board may elect to exercise any authority delegated to the President.

    Academic Faculty are appointed pursuant to Section E of the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual, which can be found here

    The President makes final approval on all hires at CSU-Pueblo. Employment opportunity information for Administrative/Professional Employees, Classified Employees, Faculty Employees and Student Employees can be found at Human Resources' webpage


    Who has the authority to terminate employment?

    The President has the authority to terminate Faculty, State Classified, and Administrative-Professional personnel.

    For information about the State Personnel System, see C.R.S. § 24-50-101 et.




    Which department is responsible for ensuring that research is conducted ethically at the University?

    Research compliance efforts are directed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). For information, contact the ORSP at 719.549.2559, or see

Export Controls And Trade Regulations


    What are Export Controls and why are they important?

    Export Controls refer to federal regulations promulgated and enforced by the Department of Commerce, Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the Department of State, International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), that prohibit the unlicensed export of specific technologies for reasons of national security or protection of trade. If University research involves such specified technologies, the EAR and/or ITAR may require the University to obtain prior approval from State or Commerce before allowing foreign nationals to participate in the research, partnering with a foreign company and/or sharing research—verbally or in writing—with persons who are not United States citizens or permanent resident aliens.

    Export control regulations have the potential to harm the quality of University research, undermine publication rights, and prohibit international collaboration. The consequences of violating these regulations can be quite severe, ranging from loss of research contracts to monetary penalties to jail time for the individual violating these regulations.

    For more information, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, at


    What is the I-129 Form?

    Employers, including colleges and universities, use the Form I-129 "Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker" to temporarily bring foreign national employees to the United States. The petition, once approved, usually facilitates the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa to the employee, who may then apply for admission to the United States and report to work. The I-129 form is required as part of the H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 and o-1A visa filings. Part 6 of this form requires the employer to certify as follows:

    • A license is not required from either the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State to release such technology or technical data to the foreign person; or
    • A license is required from the U.S. Department of Commerce and/or the U.S. Department of State to release such technology or technical data to the beneficiary and the petitioner will prevent access to the controlled technology or technical data by the beneficiary until and unless the petitioner has received the required license or other authorization to release it to the beneficiary.

    What are Economic Sanctions and Anti-Terrorism?

    Economic sanctions maintained by the United States are generally known as "embargoes," and prohibit most imports, exports and transactions with certain countries absent a general or specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the Department of Treasury.

    2 They affect all U.S. citizens and permanent residents and all branches, subsidiaries and controlled affiliates of U.S. organizations, wherever they are located.

    OFAC administers both comprehensive sanctions programs, which prohibit almost all exports to, imports from and transactions or dealings

    3 with the designated countries, and targeted sanctions, which are sanctions that target the precise nature of the threat to the United States.

    Sanctions programs may contain general licenses, provisions that appear in the regulations and which authorize a transaction as long as it meets certain requirements. No license application is needed for a general license so long as the activity meets these requirements. Some general licenses applicable to universities are discussed in this paper.

    Sanctions programs may also provide for specific licenses for designated activities. A specific license must be applied for (no particular application form is required) and approved by OFAC. It must include all necessary information required by the application guidelines or the regulations pertaining to the particular embargo program.

    4 Specific licenses should be requested early, as a license approval (or denial) from OFAC can take months.

    OFAC also administers the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list of suspected or known terrorists, or persons connected to terrorism. Other government agencies such as Commerce and State maintain lists for other purposes.

    Each sanctions program is described on OFAC’s website with helpful links to other guidance documents and regulations.

    1 Section drawn from: Global Engagement: Key U.S. & Foreign Law Considerations When Doing Business Abroad: How Various U.S. Laws Impact Overseas Academic Activities, by Caroline J. O’Neill of The George Washington University (June 2009, NACUA annual conference)

    2 See 31 CFR Part 500, et seq. As of 12/13/12: The Balkans (Serbia), Belarus, Burma (Myanmar), Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, or Zimbabwe

    3 Transactions or dealings are construed broadly and can include purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing. See, e.g., 31 CFR § 560.206(b).


    When must I consider anti-boycott laws?

    Anti-boycott laws must be considered in particular when a university contemplates global engagement with countries that participate in the Arab boycott of Israel, a boycott which the U.S. does not sanction. As of May 17, 2009, the following countries participate in the Arab boycott of Israel: Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Yemen.5

    Two U.S. laws separately maintained by the Commerce and Treasury prohibit or penalize participation in, or cooperation with, foreign boycotts. These laws are extremely complex. However, considering the following two questions will help you determine if you need to be concerned about this issue and need to seek additional assistance from the Office of the General Counsel:

    Is the university, or its employees, conducting business in countries that participate in the Arab boycott of Israel (Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, or the Republic of Yemen), or any other boycott not sanctioned by the U.S. government? Has the university, or its employees, been asked to participate in a boycott against Israel, for example, in letters of credit, in a contract or other academic agreement, or in verbal question form, or in any other boycott? ?5 74 Fed. Reg. 15828 (Apr. 7, 2009).


    In what situation should I be concerned about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

    The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) should be considered when a university’s activity involves foreign government officials, their representatives, or representative agencies (including government-owned or controlled colleges, universities, and research institutions). The FCPA contains anti-bribery bribery restrictions.

    Consideration of the following three questions will help you determine if you need to be concerned about this issue and need to seek additional assistance from the Office of the General Counsel:

    • Is the university, or its employees, engaging in international activity with officials of a foreign government?
    • Has the university, or its employees, offered or given anything of value to the foreign official for the purpose of influencing or inducing the official in order to secure an improper advantage or obtain or retain business?
    • If the university, or its employees, has offered or given something of value to a foreign official, was it for the purpose of facilitating the performance of a routine governmental action (the "grease exception"), or does it otherwise appear to meet the requirements of an affirmative defense under the FCPA?

Intellectual Property Protection


    Intellectual Property - Trademarks, Patents And Copyright

    Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product.

    For all Intellectual Property questions, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.


    What is a Trademark

    A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.

    Contact the Office of Marketing, Communication, and Community Relations at 719.549.2810.


    What is a Patent?

    A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States," for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

    There are three types of patents.

    Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.


    What is a Copyright?

    Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright exclusive rights to the work which, depending on the nature of the work, includes the exclusive right to make copies of the work, modify the work, perform or display the work.

    Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances.

    In most cases the owner of the copyright is the person who actually created the work (pen to paper, fingers to keys). This person is known as the "author." The term "author" under copyright law is narrower than the use of "author" in academia. A person listed as an author of a paper may not be an "author" for copyright purposes.


    What is the difference between plagiarism and copyright?

    While Fair Use may permit the legal use of materials authored by others without first seeking their permission, that use must always be properly acknowledged. Failure to acknowledge materials that may be usable under the Fair Use doctrine will constitute plagiarism. Whether directly copying a few sentences from another source ("quoting") or paraphrasing a unique idea, a footnoted reference to the source of the materials should be provided.

    For additional information about Copyrights, go to

Lawsuits, Subpoenas And Investigations


    I was served with a subpoena. What should I do?

    Contact the Office of the General Counsel immediately. A subpoena is an order of the court that may require you to appear at a specified date and time to testify, or to produce certain documents. It is essential that an attorney review the subpoena 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 may result in sanctions from the Court.

    I was served with a lawsuit. What should I do?

    Contact the Office of the General Counsel immediately. By law, the University must respond to lawsuits within a specified time period after you are served. It is essential that you notify an attorney as soon as you are served so the Office of the General Counsel can timely review the matter and respond appropriately.


    A government investigator has contacted me. Do I have to talk to them?

    Contact the Office of the General Counsel immediately. Your response to an interview request by a government investigator, an informal request for documents or a search warrant should be coordinated and supervised by the Office of the General Counsel. If a government investigator asks you to grant them an interview you are free to do so, but you are under no legal obligation to grant an interview. If you do decide to participate in a government interview, you have the right to be represented by counsel.


    Who has the authority to accept service of process?

    For service of process, the Office of the General Counsel at the System Office is authorized to accept service on behalf of the Board of Governors, the CSU System, the Chancellor and CSU-Global Campus. The Office of General Counsel in Fort Collins is authorized to accept service on behalf of Colorado State University and its President. The Office of General Counsel in Pueblo is authorized to accept service on behalf of Colorado State University-Pueblo and its President.

Legal Services, General And Student


    Can the Office of the General Counsel help me with personal legal matters?

    No. The Office of the General Counsel represents the Colorado State University System as a whole, and can only advise the Board of Governors, CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo, and CSU-Global Campus administrators, faculty and staff acting within the scope of their employment on matters of university concern.

    If you need personal legal assistance, you must hire an attorney on your own. You can find a lawyer by searching the Colorado Bar Association’s Attorney Directory at:


    I am a student. Who do I contact for legal services?

    If you are a student and need legal advice, you must hire your own attorney. You can find a lawyer by searching the Colorado Bar Association’s Attorney Directory at

Public Records (Open Records Act)


    Who handles requests for documents?

    The Colorado State University System has a policy that governs requests under the Colorado Open Records Act, C.R.S. § 24-72-201, and can be found at Persons interested in submitting a request under the Colorado Open Records Act ("CORA") should consult this policy in order to understand the applicable rules and requirements. A request under CORA must be sent to the designated custodian of record. Also, please be advised that, as allowed by CORA and the policy, persons making a request under CORA will be charged for the reasonable costs associated with responding to the request, including a research and retrieval fee of at least $35.00 per hour and a $.25 per page printing charge.

    In addition, to facilitate obtaining documents or other information from the CSU System or its institutions, before submitting a CORA request, we encourage the media and others to contact the System or the appropriate university media relations officer. Occasionally, some information, such as a request for a specific document, can be made available quickly and easily through an informal request, which can save the requester and the CSU System both time and money. Finally, the institutions are not required to create or construct a document that does not exist.


    What types of records are not public by law?

    The CSU System and its institutions are committed to being open and transparent. However, state and federal law prohibit the institutions from releasing certain types of information, including:

    1. Student records, which are protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974;
    2. Personnel records, including any record that contains home addresses, phone numbers, financial information and other data kept because of the employment relationship;
    3. Information protected by the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges, or other applicable legal privilege;
    4. Medical, mental health, sociological and scholastic achievement data on an individual;
    5. The specific details of bona fide research projects being conducted by the university;
    6. Confidential or proprietary information; and
    7. Any records that contain information related to the identity of a donor or prospective donor, the amount of any actual or prospective gift or donation to a university-related foundation, proprietary fund-raising information, or agreements or other documents relating to gifts or donations or prospective gifts or donations.

Purchasing And Contracting


    My department is interested in purchasing services and/or goods. How should this be handled?

    Contact the Purchasing Department at 719.549.2054, or

Real Estate And Leasing


    My department is interested in renting or leasing office space off campus. Who can help us?

    Contact the Office of Finance and Administration at 719.549.2320.

Social Media


    Our student group would like to have a Facebook page. Do we need University approval?

    Yes, contact the Office of External Affairs at 719.549.2810.

Student Education Records (FERPA)


    What laws or policies govern student education records?

    Student education records are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). The primary purposes of FERPA are to ensure students can access their education records, and to prevent disclosure to unauthorized parties without student consent.


    What is a student education record under FERPA?

    FERPA defines the term "education records" broadly to include all records maintained by or on behalf of the University and relating directly to a student. The following records are not considered education records for FERPA purposes:

    • An administrator's or faculty member's own notes that are used only by that individual and are not shared with anyone else, commonly referred to as "sole source" notes;
    • Records that relate to students as employees;
    • Medical or mental health records not shared with the institution;
    • Records containing only information about a student after graduation, such as alumni records; and
    • Records maintained by University law enforcement that were created by that unit for law enforcement purposes.

    What rights do students have related to their education records?

    Generally, FERPA gives students the right to:

    1. Inspect and review their education records;
    2. Request to amend their education records;
    3. Limit disclosure of public or directory information; and
    4. Consent to the release of their education records to third parties.

    Can the University share my student record without consent?

    No, not without the student’s written consent. However, FERPA contains several exceptions that allow the University to share or disclose student records without prior consent. Some of those exceptions are:

    • To other school officials with a legitimate educational interest;
    • To officials of other schools the student seeks to enroll in;
    • Records relevant to a student’s financial aid;
    • If disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others;
    • To respond to a lawfully issued subpoena;
    • If the information disclosed is considered public or "directory information."

    What is the directory information?

    Directory information may be disclosed without student consent, and includes:

    • Student name
    • Current mailing address
    • E-mail address
    • Telephone number
    • Major field of study
    • Classification level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
    • Dates of attendance
    • Current or previous enrollment status
    • Anticipated date/term of graduation and expected degree(s)
    • Honors and degrees awarded
    • Participation in official recognized activities and sports
    • Height and weight of athletic team members
    • Video and photographic images of students with the exception of the official University identification photograph

    Can I block disclosure of my directory information?

    Yes. Contact the Registrar’s Office at 719.549.2261, or

    Can my student education records be disclosed to my parents or legal guardian without my consent?

    Yes. If a student is a legal dependent of a parent or legal guardian for federal income tax purposes, the University may, but is not required to, share education records without student consent. While the University always reserves the option of sharing information with parents or legal guardians as deemed appropriate, generally the University encourages information to be shared between students and parents/legal guardians as a private family matter, and may deny parent/guardian requests for information.


    Who should I contact for more information regarding FERPA?

    For additional questions regarding student education records, forms or releases, please contact your campus Registrar's Office as listed below:

    Records Office, Administration 202
    2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, CO 81001

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