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FAQs

 Who does the Office of Legal Counsel represent?

I have received a subpoena. What should I do?

Someone is asking me to accept service of a lawsuit. What should I do?

Will the Office of Legal Counsel personally represent faculty and/or staff?

Can I retain outside counsel for a University matter?

If a lawyer calls me about a case or issue involving the University, what should I do?

What should I do if I think I have been discriminated against?

Do I have the authority to sign a contract on behalf of the University?

What is a notary, and where can I go to get a document notarized?

Does the University have liability insurance? What does it cover?

In what instances do I need to contact Police Services?

How do I file a claim against the University for an injury suffered and/or property damage on campus? How long will the claims process take?

Is it permissible to download and distribute music and/or movies from the internet without paying for them?

Who can give me permission to use the University of Memphis name and logo?

Where are the basic policies and procedures governing students located?

What rules govern the privacy of student records?

Who do I contact if I need an accommodation due to a disability?

What do I need to know about using campus property, such as to host a gathering, pass out literature, or post banners or posters at the University of Memphis?

Where do I report illegal or fraudulent activity?

Are the personal e-mails that I send and receive on my University computer private?


 Who does the Office of Legal Counsel represent?

The Office of Legal Counsel provides legal advice and representation to the University of Memphis, including all its schools and departments. This includes providing advice and counsel to the University’s trustees, officers, administrators, faculty and staff acting in their official capacities on a variety of issues affecting the University. The Office does not, and cannot, represent individual faculty, staff members or administrators in personal legal matters outside the scope of University business.

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 I have received a subpoena. What should I do?

If you have been subpoenaed in connection with activities at the University, please contact the Office of Legal Counsel. If you have been subpoenaed in connection with personal activities, consult your personal lawyer.

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Someone is asking me to accept service of a lawsuit. What should I do?

Only the State Attorney General’s Office is authorized to accept service of a lawsuit on behalf of the University.  The State Attorney General is located at:

State of Tennessee
Office of Attorney General
425 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-3491

No one else should accept service of a lawsuit on behalf of the University.

If you are being named individually (not in your official capacity) in a lawsuit as a defendant or respondent, you can accept service on your own behalf. If the lawsuit does not have anything to do with the University, you may wish to consult a personal attorney.

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  Will the Office of Legal Counsel personally represent faculty and/or staff?

In most, although not all, instances, if you are being sued because of your work at the University of Memphis, you will be represented by the University. The Attorney General has the sole discretion in deciding whether to represent and defend a state employee. An individual employee’s right to be defended at the University’s expense depends on whether the employee was acting within the scope and course of his or her duties when the incident occurred and the degree of fault by the employee. Grounds for refusing a defense include the existence of fraud, corruption, actual malice; the person was acting outside the course of employment (e.g., sexual harassment); or if the Attorney General determines that it would not be in the best interests of the State.

You can consult with the Office of Legal Counsel regarding legal matters related to University business, but understand that the Office of Legal Counsel represents the University’s interests, not an individual’s interest.

If you are being sued because of personal activities, the University will not represent you or recommend a specific lawyer to you.

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 Can I retain outside counsel for a University matter?

If you believe outside counsel is needed for a University matter, you should contact the Office of Legal Counsel which will determine whether the work may be handled in-house or whether we should retain outside counsel. Only the Office of Legal Counsel, with the permission of the Attorney General, is allowed to retain an attorney for University matters.

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 If a lawyer calls me about a case or issue involving the University, what should I do?

Refer them to the Office of Legal Counsel and notify the Office of Legal Counsel of the contact.

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 Is what I tell you confidential?

Your communications with the Office of Legal Counsel’s attorneys for the purpose of seeking legal advice related to University business are privileged as to third parties, but may not be as to other University officials. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality of a particular conversation, you should ask the attorney before the conversation begins.

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 What should I do if I think I have been discriminated against?

If you are an employee, consider talking with your supervisor. If you are dissatisfied or uncomfortable, students and employees may contact the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at (901) 678-2713 or visit the office at Suite 156 in the Administration Building. The OIE staff can discuss your concerns, help you clarify your allegations and work through alternatives to resolve the matter. If you want to file a formal complaint with the University, the OIE staff will investigate and make a determination as to whether discrimination occurred, along with potential corrective action recommendation.

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 Do I have the authority to sign a contract on behalf of the University?

Only those individuals specifically identified in the University’s signatory policy (BF4008) can sign contracts on the University’s behalf. If you sign an agreement on behalf of the University and do not have the authority to do so, you may be personally liable. Very few people on campus have the authority to sign on behalf of the University, therefore, ASK FIRST. Final contract approval can only be granted by the appropriate contract signatory for that particular type of agreement. For instance, final approval of a Sponsored Program Agreement can only be given by the Executive VP for Research and Innovation. For more information, consult the University’s Procurement and Contract Services policy (BF4007).

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 What is a notary, and where can I go to get a document notarized?

A notary public is someone authorized by the State of Tennessee to verify the authenticity of a signature. If you need to have a document notarized, be sure to wait to sign the document until the notary can actually witness you signing the document.

There are notaries located on campus in the Human Resources Department and the Office of Legal Counsel. Each may be contacted during normal business hours. Contact them at (901) 678-5350 (HR) and (901) 678-2155 (OLC).

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 Does the University have liability insurance? What does it cover?

The State of Tennessee is self-insured in the areas of general liability, automobile liability, professional malpractice, and workers compensation. By statute, the limits of liability for general liability, professional malpractice and automobile liability are $300,000 per person and $1,000,000 per occurrence. The limits of liability under workers’ compensation are set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated § 50-6-101 et. seq. The University’s certificate of self-insurance can be found on the OLC website on the Forms page.

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 In what instances do I need to contact Police Services?

Police Services should be contacted in the following instances: if you are involved in a car accident on campus; if you have witnessed a crime on campus; if something has been stolen from you while on campus; or if there is an immediate threat to your safety or the safety of others.

For emergencies, Police Services may be reached at (901) 678-4357 or 911. For non-emergencies, call (901) 678-3848.

For a personal escort on campus in the evening, contact Tiger patrol at (901) 678-4663.

If you wish to maintain anonymity, you may report the crime online by following this link: https://bf.memphis.edu/police/. Click on forms and then silent witness report.

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 How do I file a claim against the University for an injury suffered and/or property damage on campus? How long will the claims process take?

Anyone wishing to file a claim for injury or property damages against the University of Memphis where the University was negligent must do so through the Tennessee Claims Commission. Any and all claims for negligence will be handled by claims examiners working through the Division of Claims Administration in Nashville.
Claim packets are available in the Office of Legal Counsel, 201 Administration Building, or online using this link: https://www.memphis.edu/legal/docs/claims-form.pdf.

For most claims based on negligence, there is a statute of limitations for submitting a claim to the Tennessee Claims Commission of one (1) year from the date of the accident.

The Division of Claims Administration investigates and makes every effort to act upon each claim within ninety (90) days of the date of submission.

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 Is it permissible to download and distribute music and/or movies from the internet without paying for them?

Sharing videos, music, software and other copyrighted material in violation of copyright laws may expose you and others to significant legal and University sanctions.

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The University’s Office of Marketing and Communication is charged with reviewing and approving requests to use 0the University of Memphis’ name and certain logos and for licensing the name and certain trademarks.  For more information, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at (901) 678-2843.  For information on using the University’s athletic logos, contact Athletic Communications at (901) 678-2337.

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 Where are the basic policies and procedures governing students located?

The University policies and procedures are found by following this address: https://www.memphis.edu/policies/index.php.

A collection of student resources, including the Code of Rights and Responsibilities, may be found on the Student Accountability website at https://www.memphis.edu/osa/ or by phone at (901) 678-2298.

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What rules govern the privacy of student records?

FERPA (Family Education Rights & Privacy Act) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students’ education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education, including the University of Memphis. For more information, refer to the Registrar’s Office website at https://www.memphis.edu/registrar/students/records/ferpa-annual.php or call (901) 678-2810.

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 Who do I contact if I need an accommodation due to a disability?

Services and accommodations for students with a disability may be arranged through Disability Resources for Students at https://www.memphis.edu/drs/ or by calling (901) 678-2880.

If you are an employee in need of an accommodation, contact University Benefits by email at benefits@memphis.edu or by phone at (901) 678-3573.

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 What do I need to know about using campus property, such as to host a gathering, pass out literature, or post banners or posters at the University of Memphis?

The University community (e.g., faculty, staff, and students) must adhere to the policy on Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities (BF4022) for non-credit activities by affiliated and non-affiliated groups and individuals. The policy applies to all use of property and facilities for purposes other than as assigned for academic purposes.

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 Where do I report illegal or fraudulent activity?

The University does not tolerate fraudulent or other dishonest behavior. There are several options available for reporting known or suspected fraud, waste or abuse: to a supervisor or department head; to a University official; to the Internal Audit Department; or through an online reporting form. The Office of Internal Audit may be reached by phone at (901) 678-2125 or by email at uom_audit@memphis.edu. For more information, consult the University’s Reporting Fraud, Waste, or Abuse of University Resource’s policy (GE2014).

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 Are the personal e-mails that I send and receive on my University computer private?

No. While a personal e-mail is not a public record, the University may be legally obligated in the course of litigation, or threatened litigation, to preserve, maintain and review all e-mails for a particular employee’s e-mail address, University computer or University server. In addition, the University may examine personal electronic information stored on or passing over IT resources to ensure compliance with the law. Therefore, if you desire privacy, you should use a private e-mail account for personal matters.

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