The University of Arizona

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Alcohol on Campus

Q. Can a University Department or College sell or serve alcohol on campus?
University Departments and Colleges may serve, but not sell, alcohol on campus provided that such service is approved and meets the requirements of the University Alcohol Policy and Arizona State Liquor Laws. University officials must be familiar with the alcohol policy rules and must apply for an alcohol permit before serving alcohol on campus.

Additional Information:

Alcoholic Beverages on Campus

Alcohol Service on Campus - Slides

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Computer Security

Q. I think the computer I use at the University has been hacked into – what should I do?
Report immediately all incidents of actual or suspected compromise immediately to the local system administrator, network manager and/or HELP desk at 621-HELP; OSCR student tech support at 621-TECH (8324); Security Operations at secops@arizona.edu or http://security.arizona.edu/. If an unauthorized person may have accessed and acquired personal information (i.e., Social Security Numbers, Arizona driver's license numbers, or financial information such as credit or debit card numbers in combination with the related security code), report the incident immediately to the University Information Security Officer (UISO).

Additional Information:

Chief Information Officer

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Copyright

Q. What is copyright "Fair Use"?
Fair Use is a mechanism that is used to balance the exclusive rights of the copyright holder against society's First Amendment interest in the free dissemination of knowledge and information. Generally stated, Fair Use permits the reasonable and limited use of copyrighted materials without obtaining the copyright owner's permission.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

Q. Who owns the intellectual property rights to information and materials developed by University faculty / students / employees?
Generally speaking, if information or materials are developed by you within the scope of your employment with The University of Arizona (or, if you are a student working as part of sponsored research at the University), then the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), on behalf of the UA, owns all intellectual property rights resulting from that work. Certain copyright interests -- for example, the right to publish one's work in scholarly publications -- are granted back to the individual by operation of the ABOR and UA Intellectual Property Policies; and student works (other than those resulting from sponsored research) are owned by the student who created the work. The UA's Office of Technology Transfer, which manages intellectual property rights for the University, can answer specific questions about intellectual property ownership and use.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

Q. How does one obtain a copyright?
Copyright in the United States is determined exclusively by federal law. Copyright protects original works of authorship. A copyright comes into existence automatically and immediately upon the expression of one's creative work in a tangible medium of expression (for example: in writing; on tape or film; in a digital medium; a painting or sculpture; a computer program; etc.). No registration, copyright notice, or any other formalities are required; the author of an original, creative work automatically owns the copyright as soon as the work is set down in a tangible medium of expression. The question of who owns the copyright can become complicated, however. Sometimes the author and owner is the individual creator and sometimes not – for example, under the Copyright Act's work-for-hire provision, the employer is the author and owner of employee works created in the course and scope of their employment.

Additional Information:

United States Copyright Office

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Disability Accommodation

Q. What are my legal rights in getting an accommodation for my disability?
At The University of Arizona, reasonable accommodations for qualified employees or students with disabilities are handled through the University's Disability Resource Center. The University provides reasonable accommodations for qualified students and employees with disabilities if doing so does not pose an undue hardship. Each request for reasonable accommodation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis utilizing an interactive process between you and Disability Resources. Contact Disability Resources for further information on the process for requesting reasonable accommodation.

Additional Information:

Disability in Academe [PDF]

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Discrimination & Discrimination Charges

Q. I think I am being discriminated against – where do I go for help?
Unlawful discrimination is prohibited by the University. The University's Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy emphasizes that both students and employees are entitled to an educational and work environment free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, including harassment and retaliation. If you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you should contact the University's Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). That office can assist you in determining whether you wish to file a complaint and, if so, what the investigation process entails. There are time limits to filing complaints both internally and externally so you won’t want to delay.

If you are a student and your concern involves another student, you may contact the Dean of Students Office either instead of, or in addition to, contacting OIE.

Q. I've just received a copy of a charge of discrimination from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ACRD). Now what do I do?
First contact the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and make arrangements to get the copy of the discrimination charge to our Office right away. Because it is important to keep the charge allegations as confidential as possible, do not have discussions with others about this charge until you have spoken with OGC first. We will advise you on what steps, if any, to take next. If you receive any calls from anyone other than our Office about the EEOC or ACRD charge allegations, please refer those calls to OGC and let us know you've done so.

Additional Information:

No additional information at this time.

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Donations

Q. Can the University accept donations?
Yes. Gifts to the University are deductible from income for federal tax purposes, under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Additional Information:

University of Arizona Foundation

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Electronic Discovery & Electronic Signature

Q. I just received a memo telling me to preserve electronic documents and other evidence related to something called "electronic discovery" – what is electronic discovery?
Electronic discovery involves electronic data that must be secured by employees responsible for such data. Once a lawsuit has been filed against the University (or a charge filed with an administrative agency), or if it is reasonably anticipated that a lawsuit may be brought (or a charge filed), the University and all of its faculty and staff members are now under a legal duty to preserve all evidence, whether hard copy or electronic, that might become relevant to the lawsuit. "Discovery" is the process by which relevant information is exchanged between parties in a lawsuit, usually through the production of documents and the taking of depositions. Effective December 1, 2006, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure expressly extended rules generally applicable to documentary discovery to electronic records.

Additional Information:

Electronic Discovery Legal Topic

Q. What is an electronic signature?
An "electronic signature" (an "electronic sound, symbol or process" that is used by an individual or entity "with the intent to sign" an electronic document) generally has the same legal validity as a written signature on a physical document. However, electronic signatures on behalf of the University must comply with policies established by the Arizona Secretary of State, and must meet the standards of the Government Information Technology Agency ("GITA").

Additional Information:

Electronic Discovery Legal Topic

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Free Speech & Assembly

Q. Should I call your Office if I have a question about free speech and assembly?
The Office of the General Counsel will give legal advice to Deans, Directors and Department Heads on what speech or assembly is protected by the First Amendment and what is not. If you are not a Dean, Director or Department Head, please consult with your supervisor before contacting the Office of the General Counsel.

Additional Information:

First Amendment Legal Topic

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Hiring Practices

Q. I am a new supervisor – how do I learn more about the University’s recruiting, hiring and termination practices?
The University of Arizona's Human Resources (HR) Department contains a wealth of information to assist you in your new role. Contact an Organizational Consultant at HR's Consulting Services to get the advice you need to successfully grow in your leadership capacity.

Additional Information:

No additional information at this time.

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Intellectual Property

Q. What is intellectual property?
Intellectual Property may include data, technical and other information, identifiers, works of authorship, inventions and discoveries subject to protection by any or all forms of patents, copyrights, tangible research property, trademarks, and trade secrets whether or not they were, are or will be so protected under state or federal statutory and common law, or corresponding international law.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

UA Office of Technology Transfer

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Legal Advice & Services

Q. I need legal advice – what do I do?
The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice to the University. Our office does not provide legal counsel to students nor do we provide legal counsel to individuals not affiliated with The University of Arizona. Students may contact ASUA Legal Services if they are seeking legal advice.  If you are an individual not affiliated with the University, please see the next FAQ, below. 

The University of Arizona Administrators, Deans and Department Heads are generally the appropriate persons to bring requests for a legal opinion forward to our office. Often a Dean or unit administrator may have answers to such legal questions if advice from our office has already been sought by a higher level administrator. Generally speaking, Deans or unit administrators are in the best positions to know when a given department needs to seek legal counsel.

In order to receive timely advice, please go to our Obtain Legal Services section. Please include necessary background information, e.g., referenced contract or policy or communication about which advice is sought. This is generally the preferred method to request advice. In some instances, the initial or follow-up requests may be more suited to a phone call or a meeting.

Q. I am not affiliated with the University and need legal advice.  Can you point me in the right direction?
If you need legal advice or representation of a personal nature (divorce, child custody, wills, etc.), the following organizations may be able to help you:

Additional Information:

No additional information at this time.

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Litigation and Risk Management

Q. Does the State of Arizona provide liability insurance coverage for The University of Arizona employees?
Yes. The Arizona Department of Administration, Risk Management Section, operates a program of insurance and self-insurance coverage for all State employees, including employees of The University of Arizona. With limited exceptions, the State's insurance coverage protects all officers, agents and employees and authorized volunteers of the University against liability for negligent acts and omissions of any nature while acting in an authorized capacity in the course and scope of employment and/or duties.

Additional Information:

Litigation and Risk Management Legal Topic

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Patents

Q. What is a patent?
A patent is a limited-term monopoly granted by federal statute to inventors of new, useful and non-obvious inventions. Patentable inventions might include a process, machine, manufactured item, or composition of matter. Patents can also protect any new, useful and non-obvious improvement on an existing invention. Patents are not issued on ideas, or on unmodified discoveries of naturally occurring phenomena.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

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Peer to Peer File Sharing

Q. What is peer-to-peer file sharing?
Peer-to-peer (also known as "P2P") file sharing is a term for a computer network protocol that allows individuals to obtain (download) and share (upload) with other computer users files that contain various types of content, e.g., software, publications, music, films, photos, etc. Commonly known peer-to-peer applications have included KaZaA, Morpheus, BitTorrent, iMesh, BearShare, Gnutella and Napster.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

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Political Activity

Q. May I engage in political activity as an employee of the University?
University employees and students have the right to participate in the political process. However, because the University is funded in significant part by taxes, and taxpayers do not have a choice whether or not to contribute to this funding, University resources may not be used to support advocacy on political issues. Providing a forum for discussion of those issues is an element of the University's educational and public service missions; taking sides is not. Arizona law prohibits the use of University personnel (while on duty), equipment, materials, building or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections.

Additional Information:

Political Activity Legal Topic

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Privacy – Student Information & Financial Information

Q. How does the University protect the privacy of my student records?
There is a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) that requires the University to protect the privacy of student records. FERPA generally requires the following:

  • University faculty and staff generally may not see a student's education records without first identifying a legitimate educational interest or one of the other exceptions under which records may be reviewed.
  • The student has a right to access and review his or her records.
  • All education records are confidential (except directory information in most cases) and may not be disclosed unless the student consents or the request fits one of the exceptions. Note that consent from a student is not generally required for the release of directory information and it may be viewed and released to the public, unless the student has placed an affirmative "restriction" on its release.

Q. How does the University protect the privacy of my financial information?
There is a federal law called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) that requires the University to protect the privacy and security of its customer's financial information. The University is required to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act because it regularly provides financial products and services, such as making Federal Perkins Loans.

Additional Information:

Privacy Legal Topic

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Professional Misconduct

Q. If I have a professional license and am charged by my licensing agency with professional misconduct, will the University represent me, or provide an attorney who will defend me?
Generally, the University does not provide legal representation for individuals and is not constitutionally permitted to pay the costs of defending a professional license. However, residents or fellows employed by the College of Medicine may be entitled to be reimbursed for attorneys' fees they have to pay to defend a charge of professional misconduct, if the alleged misconduct occurred during their residency in the course and scope of their assigned duties, and the residents or fellows follow policies applicable to their training. A specific policy sets forth the conditions under which attorneys' fees of residents or physicians who have left a residency program may be reimbursed.

Additional Information:

Graduate Medical Education Department

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Public Records

Q. I heard that everything the University creates is a public record – is that true?
As a public institution, the University is subject to public oversight. One important means the Legislature has created to assure such oversight is the ability of the public to have access to University records and documents. All documents (whether paper or electronic) that relate to the official duties of University employees are considered public records, subject to inspection by any member of the public, unless they are made confidential by law, or the public interest in open government is outweighed by considerations of personal privacy, business confidentiality, or because disclosure would have an important and harmful effect on the functioning of the institution.

Additional Information:

Public Records Legal Topic

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Signature Authority

Q. Who has signature authority to sign contracts at the University?
Only those University officers designated by the President of the University, as certified to the Executive Director of the Board of Regents, are authorized to execute contracts and other written instruments. In addition, the President of the University may delegate his or her authority to execute contracts and other written instruments to appropriate University Officials without certification to the Executive Director in the following circumstances: (1) The value of the University's obligation under the contract or other written instrument is $10,000 or less; and (2) the delegation of authority is warranted to improve efficiency and effectiveness of University operations and does not unduly expose the Board or the University to financial loss.

Additional Information:

No additional information at this time.

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Subpoena

Q. I am being asked to accept a subpoena – what do I do now?
Campus offices and employees generally should not accept service of subpoenas for University records.  Process servers should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel.  Following is more information regarding specific types of subpoenas.

Subpoenas for Records:  If a process server or other person attempts to give you or a member of your staff a subpoena for records (typically called a Subpoena Duces Tecum), DO NOT ACCEPT the subpoena. Instruct the process server to take the subpoena directly to the Office of the General Counsel, Administration Building, Room 103. If you receive a subpoena in the mail (or if someone in your office accepts a subpoena in spite of these instructions), you should immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel and fax the subpoena to 621-9001 (noting date served and person accepting).  If an individual claims to be a law enforcement officer requesting immediate access to records, you should also refer that individual to the Office of the General Counsel.

Subpoenas for Personal Appearance:  If the subpoena is for your personal appearance in a deposition or a trial in a matter related to the University, you may accept the subpoena and should then immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel and fax the subpoena to 621-9001 for assistance.  (This office will not be able to assist you, however, if the subpoena involves a personal matter unrelated to your University employment.)  You should not accept a subpoena for personal appearance on behalf of anyone else.

If you have questions about service of a subpoena, service of other legal documents, or any other legal requests for records or information, contact Kate Adams in the Office of the General Counsel at 621-3175 or adamsk@email.arizona.edu.

Additional Information:

No additional information at this time.

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Trademark

Q. What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, name, symbol, sound, or color that indicates the source and origin of goods and services, and distinguishes them from those manufactured, sold or provided by others. The term "service mark" is sometimes used to describe a trademark that represents services. Trademark rights are created by use in commerce, and registration is not required. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks can last forever, as long as they are being used in commerce. Also, unlike patents and copyrights, trademark rights are subject to both federal and state laws.

Additional Information:

Intellectual Property Legal Topic

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