Does the Office of Legal Affairs provide personal legal services to students and employees?

No, the Office of Legal Affairs only represents the interests of Augusta University. We do not provide legal advice, on personal matters or concerns outside the scope of their employment at Augusta University, to students, or employees. If you need assistance, you may consider contacting any of the following or consult with a private attorney:


May I sign an agreement on behalf of Augusta University or the Board of Regents?

Unless you have expressed written authority from Augusta University's President to sign an agreement on behalf of Augusta University, you may not sign any agreements on behalf of the university or the Board of Regents. Please review the information below for more information. If you have other questions about signature authority, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at (706) 721-4018.

Contract FAQ's

All contracts between Augusta University and another individual or entity should be reviewed by the Office of Legal Affairs. This includes any agreement made on behalf of Augusta University which commits the funds, personnel, facilities, equipment, property or other resources of the University. Other terms sometimes used to refer to a contract include, but are not limited to:

  • agreement
  • letter of agreement
  • letter of intent
  • memorandum of understanding
  • memorandum of agreement
  • lease
  • license
  • use permit
  • equipment loan.

If you have any questions regarding agreements, please contact Legal Affairs.

For more information, please refer to the Negotiation and Excecution of Contracts Policy.

After appropriate review and signature have been given at the department, dean and/or VP level, agreements should be forwarded to the Office of Legal Affairs. All agreements must be accompanied by the appropriate routing form. Please allow approximately two weeks for contract routing and approval and signature. If you have any questions about the routing process, please contact Legal Affairs.

Clinical Affiliation Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding for Student Applied Learning Experiences should be reviewed by the Office of Legal Affairs prior to signature by the designated signing authority for the University. Please contact Legal Affairs if you have any questions regarding this process.


How do I report harassment or discrimination?

Augusta University prohibits sexual misconduct in any form including sexual harassment and discrimination based on sex. Augusta University Sexual Assault Prevention provides resources, guides, policies, and reporting procedures for students and employees.

Augusta University is strongly committed to ensuring its learning and working environments are free of discrimination and harassment. Any member of the university community may report complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Augusta University provides a variety of channels for people to report concerns:

  • Office of Employment Equity (OEE) Director
  • Director of Employee Relations
  • VP or AVP of Human Resources
  • Any AU supervisor or other AU manager
  • Anonymous Compliance Hotline

 

Sexual Harassment FAQ's

  1. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
  2. Form of sex discrimination.
  3. Form of employee misconduct.
  4. Behavior which interferes with work or education of its victims, co-workers, or fellow students. 
  5. Violation of state and federal laws.
  6. Violation of rules and regulations of Augusta University.
  7. Subjects students or employees to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion.
  8. Behavior which must be reported by those in supervisory capacity.

To report incidents of sexual harassment or retaliation, faculty members should contact the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; classified employees may contact the EEO/AA officer or the Division of Human Resources; and students may contact the Vice President for Student Affairs or Director of Student Affairs. They receive complaints of sexual harassment from members of the Augusta University community, explain the Augusta University procedures, and may refer individuals to appropriate resources. If your situation permits, you may bring your complaint directly to your supervisor, manager or department chair. They may assist you in bringing the matter to the attention of the appropriate Augusta University official. However, a complainant need not report directly to his/her immediate supervisor but may report the situation directly to the appropriate individual named above. Faculty complaints will be handled using the Faculty Grievance Procedure found in the Faculty Handbook. Student complaints will be handled by using the procedures found in Appendix E of the Student Handbook.

Any member of the Augusta University community may report complaints of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can occur in all types of circumstances and relationships including those between or among individuals of different sexes or of the same sex; in relationships of unequal power (for example, between supervisor and employee, faculty member and student, employee and job applicant); and in relationships of equal power (for example, between fellow employees or fellow students).

No. Sexual harassment complaints may be made by speaking to any of the individuals named in question 2. They may, however, request that you prepare a written statement setting forth the particulars of the complaint.

It is not possible to guarantee absolute confidentiality or anonymity. The privacy of persons who make complaints of sexual harassment will be respected. To the extent permitted by law, the confidentiality of each party involved in a sexual harassment investigation, complaint or charge will be observed, provided it does not interfere with Augusta University's ability to investigate the allegations or take corrective action.

There are no time limits for reporting sexual harassment to an Augusta University official. However, allegations of sexual harassment should be reported as promptly as possible. Delay in making a complaint may make it more difficult for Augusta University to investigate allegations.

Each dean, director, department/section chair, department manager, or other person with supervisory responsibility is required to report any complaint of sexual harassment to the appropriate individual named above. Other members of the Augusta University community who become aware of allegations of sexual harassment should encourage the aggrieved individual to report the alleged sexual harassment to an Augusta University manager or the appropriate Augusta University official indicated in question 2. All members of the Augusta University community are required to cooperate in any investigation of a sexual harassment complaint.


As a member of the faculty, how do I file a grievance?

Please read the Faculty Grievance Policy for the process and procedures of filing a Grievance. Examples of grievances include academic freedom, facilities, equipment, and leaves of absence.


Who should I contact regarding a complaint in reference to my employment at Augusta University?

Augusta University is committed to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons without regard to: age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam War Era Veteran. The EEO Officer is responsible for investigating violations of Title VII.

Individuals can file a formal complaint online. For more information, contact Human Resources at 706-721-1896.

The EEO Officer coordinates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects qualified individuals with disabilities in employment practices. Additional information on ADA accommodations, including request forms, can be found here. For more information on the ADA process, contact Human Resources at 706-721-1896.

For complaints not related to protected class status, contact the Director of Employee Relations at 706-721-6197.


If I am arrested or convicted of a crime, am I required to report the matter to Augusta University?

Students are required to disclose to the Office of the Dean of Students in writing any criminal convictions that occur after their admission and enrollment. Disclosures should be made within 30 days of conviction. Please see our Criminal Conviction Disclosure Policy.

Any current employee charged with a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report being charged with such crime to Employee Relations, Human Resources within 72 hours of the employee becoming aware of such charge. Any current employee who is convicted of a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report such conviction to Employee Relations within 24 hours of the conviction. Failure to report is cause for immediate discharge. Please see our policy on Employee Background Investigations.


Who do I contact if I want to use an Augusta University logo or trademark?

Use of Augusta University’s logos and trademarks is subject to AU policies. Please review guidelines about how to use and download our logos. Contact the Division of Communications and Marketing if you have any specific questions regarding size, color, usage, or application of the logos.


What should I do if I have an invention or copyrightable product?

Intellectual property includes patents for inventions, copyrights for written works, trademarks, service marks, and so forth. The University's Intellectual Property Policy describes how such property is owned and commercialized.

If an AU faculty member, staff member or student has invented or created intellectual property which may have commercial value, they should report this to the Chair of the Intellectual Property Committee, Charles Nawrot by using the Intellectual Property Disclosure Form. Disclosure Forms are available in the Office of Innovation Commercialization, Interdisciplinary Research Facility, Room 2105, Phone: (706) 721-9822, Fax: (706) 721-2917.


Is my Augusta University email account confidential?

No. Your Augusta University email is not confidential, and it is subject to disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act, and other applicable laws. View the email policy.


What should I do if an attorney contacts me and/or I receive a legal document in connection with my duties at Augusta University?

Immediately contact the Office of Legal Affairs. If an attorney attempts to communicate with you, inform the attorney that he or she should contact this office. If you receive a legal document, such as a summons, lawsuit, or a subpoena, you should contact this office immediately and provide us with a copy of the document. The office will inform you of any necessary actions you should take.

  • In case of notification of a lawsuit against any employee of AU or service (delivery by hand to you personally or by mail) of any suit, immediately notify an attorney in the Office of Legal Affairs.
  • If you have not yet been actually served, we can arrange to accept on your behalf or we can set up an appointment for you to be served in the Office of Legal Affairs. It is prudent to also notify the Risk Manager for PPG and AU Health or you may request that Legal Affairs do so.
  • Please contact an attorney at Augusta University to arrange to have a request for representation letter prepared so that the Attorney general for the State of Georgia can appoint counsel to represent you.
  • It is important that this procedure be followed promptly as there are legal deadlines associated with service of a lawsuit that must be observed to preserve your legal rights.
  • Please contact Legal Affairs with any questions or concerns.
  • All requests for information should be made in writing. Persons making verbal requests should be asked to submit their requests in writing.  A written request will ensure no ambiguities regarding the precise nature of the information requested, and the adequacy of our response.  A written request offers the university the opportunity for review to ensure that none of the information requested is confidential or privileged.  Certain categories of information (i.e., student educational records-see below) may only be released pursuant to a written request.
  • All written requests should be reviewed to verify that we are authorized to release the material requested. For example, medical record information and student educational records require written authorization of the patient/student.  Medical record information should be released only in accordance with applicable Augusta University Medical Center policies.  Please refer any requests for medical record information to Health Information Management Services.
  • Information should be released only to the individual requesting it, unless specifically stated otherwise in the written request. A one-time release or authorization for release of information does waive its confidentiality.
  • All requests specifically made pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act must be referred to AU Office of Legal Affairs as required by the Board of Regents Policy. The Act requires a response within three business days of the request, so please refer all requests promptly to Legal Affairs (see following material below).
  • Copies of all written requests for information, as well as our response, should be retained for at least two years in case of future litigation.
  • In some cases, specific policies regarding release of information already exist (i.e., hospital medical records). Where applicable, these policies should be followed in addition to the more general guidelines described above.  Contact the Legal Affairs if you have any questions in this regard.
  • We are available to answer any questions or to provide assistance related to requests for the release of information: 706-721-4018 or legal@augusta.edu.
  • Do I have to be a witness? If you are subpoenaed, yes. In Georgia, a court can subpoena a witness with as little as 24 hours notice, so it is important that you do not ignore a subpoena. We recommend faxing any subpoena you receive to us at 706-721-8014, and we will phone you back with our advice.
  • When I am testifying, does that time count as work time or leave time? Usually work time. Paid court duty leave is given whenever you are testifying about your official duties (such as treating a patient), and whenever you are compelled to testify by a subpoena or court order, even if the case does not involve Augusta University. If you are testifying as an expert witness, then you will not be given court duty leave.
  • What is an expert witness? An expert witness testifies concerning their expert opinions, rather than the facts of a case. This line can become quite blurred when the witness is a physician or other professional, but as a general rule, if you are called to testify about your observations of a patient, or the diagnosis, treatment or prognosis of a patient, then you are a fact witness, not an expert witness. Expert witnesses normally have no personal knowledge of the facts in a case. Instead, they are hired to review whatever records and information is available, and to render an opinion based on their expertise.
  • Can I charge a fee for being a witness? Usually not. You may be entitled to a nominal witness fee and reimbursement for out-of-town travel, but only expert witnesses can charge a professional fee. An expert witness can be whatever the attorney hiring you is willing to pay. At a minimum, the fee should be equivalent to your patient charge for a similar length of time. Expert witnesses can consult and testify as an outside activity, or as part of their official Augusta University duties. If the work is done as part of your official duties, then you may review materials and testify during your normal working hours, but the fee must be paid to Augusta University (or PPG, if you bill through PPG). If you wish to be an expert as an outside activity, you must obtain approval from your Chair and the time involved cannot be Augusta University work time. The use of annual leave is often necessary.

Is it legal to hold a raffle or offer door prizes?

Occasionally, departments, student organizations, or other groups plan to host raffles or events with door prizes to raise money to benefit Augusta University or a group affiliated with Augusta University. Under Georgia law generally, however, gambling is illegal. "Gambling" includes raffles or door prize events where participants pay for a chance to win an item of value.

There is an exception to this law for tax-exempt entities: Raffle events may be authorized by advance permit to raise money for a nonprofit tax-exempt church, school, civic organization, or related support group. See Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 16-12-22.1.

Accordingly, departments or groups interested in hosting a fundraising event using a raffle or door prizes (where participants must pay to have a chance to win) must complete an application form for a raffle permit through the Augusta, Georgia License and Inspection Department (phone: 706-312-5053; fax: 706-796-5037) well in advance of the event. (Note that $100 permit fee is often waived for tax exempt organizations.)

This does not apply if participants do not have to pay or contribute in order to win.


Is alcohol allowed on campus?

The use or possession of alcoholic beverages on the campus and institutionally sponsored off-campus events shall comply at all times with Federal, State and local Laws governing use, manufacture, distribution, possession, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. The President or his/her designee may authorize alcoholic beverages to be distributed and consumed at approved events, with the understanding that both the organizers and the participants of the event are subject to all federal and state laws pertaining to alcohol distribution and consumption. Additionally, a Public Safety officer must be present at all events involving alcoholic beverages. This expense for the officer will be incurred by the group. For additional guidance on the use of alcohol at Augusta University, see the University Alcohol Policy.