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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I do if I have a legal question or issue related to my employment at the University? 

Please contact our office. We will check for conflicts, review your question, and provide related legal services, as appropriate.

2. What do I do if I receive a subpoena or summons related to my employment or University business?

Please contact our office immediately at 605-688-5248. Court documents should be reviewed by legal counsel immediately because there are time deadlines for response.

3. What do I do if I receive a request for records, other than a subpoena?

Public Records: Contact Karyn Weber, the University's Public Records Officer at 605-688-4111. The University has ten (10) business days to respond to public records requests. 

Student Records: Contact Joyce Kepford, the University Registrar at 605-688-4442.

4. Can I share student records?

It is University policy to keep student records confidential in conformity with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"). In certain situations, student record information may be disclosed in conformity with University policy and applicable law. For example, university employees with access to student records may share information from a student’s records with University officials who have a “legitimate educational interest” in the information. If you have questions about whether records may be shared, please feel free to contact our office.

5. Does the University provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities?

South Dakota State University provides accommodations for individuals in conformity with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), its amendments and implementing regulations. Accommodations for students are made once the disability has been verified by Disability Services (605-688-4504). Reasonable accommodations for employees may be facilitated through the Office of Human Resources (605-688-4128).

6. If a supervisor receives a report of harassment or discrimination, what should they do?

Supervisors who receive information concerning allegations of harassment or discrimination should immediately contact Michelle Johnson, the Title IX/EO Coordinator in conformity with South Dakota Board of Regents Policy Section 1:18 and University Policy 4:6.  The Title IX/EO Coordinator can also be reached by telephone at 605-688-4128.

7. What should I do if I believe I am being harassed or discriminated against?

Talk to your supervisor or contact Michelle Johnson, the Title IX/EO Coordinator. She will help with resolving the matter and assist if you want to file a formal complaint. The Title IX/EO Coordinator can also be reached by telephone at 605-688-4128.

8. Who has the authority to sign contracts and agreements for the University?

The University President, and by the University President’s delegation the V.P. for Finance and Business, currently have general contractual signature authority for authorized contracts on behalf of the University. For certain types of agreements in select areas of responsibility, other officers have limited contract signature authority. An individual may incur personal responsibility for agreements signed without authority. Contact the Office of the V.P. for Finance and Business for more information about delegated contract signature authority.

9. Does the University carry general liability insurance?

The University does not carry general liability insurance. The University is subject to the limitations of liability set forth in South Dakota Codified Laws, which provide certain liability protection for the University and its employees. The University maintains certain coverage and legal defense through the PEPL fund agreement.

10. I teach a class that is going on a trip, should I obtain consent forms from the students? 

It is generally a good idea to have participants in off campus activities read and sign a form acknowledging their understanding and assumption of risks. You may contact the Office of Academic Affairs for more information regarding the standard form and instructions for processing. The Study Abroad Office (605-688-4122) maintains guidelines for study abroad programs.

11. Can I use other’s copyrighted material in a course I teach at the University?

Under the principles of “Fair Use,” other’s copyrighted materials may be used in limited portions for teaching, research, and scholarship. Additional rules apply to the use of electronic copies. 

12. Is what an employee tells the Office of General Counsel confidential?

Unless lawyer-client privilege is waived, information provided for the purpose of obtaining legal advice is privileged as to third parties. This information may not be privileged as to other University and Board of Regents officials. Privilege determinations are made based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

13. What is the role of SDSU General Counsel?

The Office of General Counsel coordinates and provides a wide variety of legal services for the University. We prepare legal documents and review, revise, and recommend approval of agreements that the institution executes. We also provide internal educational programs concerning legal compliance and policy issues. One of the important functions of the Office of General Counsel is to provide counsel, assistance, and information to University employees about the policies and procedures of the University, the South Dakota Board of Regents, the State of South Dakota, and the federal government. We are generally available to provide such information relative to legal matters that arise out of an employee's conduct of their duties; however, we cannot provide legal advice to and do not represent individuals or students, except in their roles as employees of the University.

Disclaimer
The materials contained in this site and its links are for general informational purposes only and are not legal advice from SDSU General Counsel. This information should not be relied on in substitution for obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney, who should be consulted concerning the specific facts and circumstances associated with any legal matter. Certain links on this site lead to servers maintained by individuals or organizations over whom South Dakota State University has no control. Those links, when provided, are available to help you identify and locate other internet resources that may be of interest to you. SDSU General Counsel makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or any other aspect of the information located on such servers.