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Policy 4100
Signature Authority on Contracts

Date of Current Revision: June 2012
Responsible Officer: Assistant Vice President for Finance Secondary Officer: Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel

1. PURPOSE

This policy establishes those who are authorized to sign contracts to enter the university into official commitments, financial or otherwise.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.

3. DEFINITIONS

Contract/Contractual Agreement:
A legal obligation, typically in written form, between the university or any unit within the university and any other entity. These include purchase agreements, employment contracts, memoranda of understanding/agreement, collaboration agreements, real estate contracts, contracts to acquire goods or services, and affiliation agreements.

Sign/Signature:
Agreeing to a contract, either through signing a hard copy of the document or legal affirmation of a contract through electronic means.

Signature Authority:
Authority granted to specific individuals allowing specified individuals to legally bind the university.

4. APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to contractual agreements entered into by JMU or its departments or units and, therefore, applies to all employees.

5. POLICY

Unless specifically authorized by this policy, no employee may enter into contractual agreements.

Any and all contracts, including memorandums of understanding/agreement, collaboration agreements, and affiliation agreements, must be reviewed by the Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel before being signed.

Any and all contracts, including memorandums of understanding/agreement, collaboration agreements and affiliation agreements, must be signed by an authorized legal representative of the university who has been delegated that responsibility.

6. PROCEDURES

Signature authority is delegated by the president as follows. However, the president reserves the right to review each on a case by case basis.

General Contracts

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Assistant Vice President for Finance.

Contracts for purchase of goods and/or services

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, Associate Vice President for Business Services, Director of Procurement or the Director's written designee.

Employment Contracts

While normally signed by the President, authority may be delegated to the Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs & University Planning, or Senior Vice President for University Advancement.

Employment Contracts, Intercollegiate Athletics

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

University Level Collaboration Agreements

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Assistant Vice President for Finance.

Leases, service and/or operating agreements with government and private entities, capital outlay contracts, and deeds and real estate easements

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, Associate Vice President for Business Services, Director of Procurement or the Director's written designee.

Debt issuance and investments

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Assistant Vice President for Finance

Real estate lease agreements

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Associate Vice President for Business Services.

Contracts related to the payment of tuition and fees

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance or Assistant Vice President for Finance.

Software licenses

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, Associate Vice President for Business Services or Director of Procurement.

Financial Aid contracts and scholarship agreements

Director of Financial Aid

Admissions contracts with students

Director of Admissions

Articulation agreements and other affiliation agreements with institutions of higher education as well as sponsored projects, grants and contracts.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & University Provost, Assistant Vice President for Academic Resources, Director of Sponsored Programs, Vice Provost for Research and Public Service

Contracts for private donations

Senior Vice President for University Advancement

7. RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the responsibility of the department generating the contract to forward every contract to the Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel for review of legal sufficiency before it may be signed and to ensure that the contract is signed by the proper university official with delegated signature authority. Departments generating contracts are also responsible for allowing sufficient time for review and negotiation of contractual terms.

It is the responsibility of the Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel to review all university contracts for legal content and sufficiency in accordance with Virginia law. The Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel is the final authority on interpretation of the law.

It is the responsibility of the Procurement Department to serve as the primary repository for contracts, agreements, riders, and related legal documents as a result of a competitive solicitation or sole source process when goods and services are obtained in accordance with established university procurement policies and procedures.

8. SANCTIONS

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.

9. EXCLUSIONS

This policy does not apply to those contracts entered into by student clubs and organizations. For information about those contracts, see Policy 4101.

10.INTERPRETATION

The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the Assistant Vice President for Finance or the Special Assistant Attorney General/University Counsel.

Previous version: September, 2010
Approved by the President: March, 2009

Index Terms

Contractual Agreements
Contracts