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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you provide legal advice and/or representation to University students and employees?

University Counsel does not provide legal advice or representation to students or employees regarding matters of a personal nature such as tenant-landlord disputes, civil or criminal issues, employment law, personal injury, DUI/traffic law, or divorce. Students and employees that need the services of a legal attorney may contact the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service toll-free at (800) 552-7977.

Who should I contact if I am supoenaed?

On matters relating to you in your official university capacity i.e. court papers of a lawsuit or subpoenas should be hand delivered by you the same day you receive them directly to the University Counsel's Office. Time is always of the essence with these kinds of documents.

Who should I contact if an EEOC, OCR or lawsuit claim has been filed against me?

Please direct all EEOC and OCR complaints to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Other lawsuits can be directed to our office, University Counsel.

What is COIA, how does it affect me, and who do I contact for training?

A Conflict of Interest occurs when a faculty or staff member is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other. It is further defined as any situation where an individual or corporation albeit private or governmental is in a position to exploit a professional or official for their own personal or corporate gain.

Both the state and federal law define conflict of interest and the conditions under which such conflicts are acceptable.

Guidelines for managing a potential faculty conflict of interest may be found on the following link below.

The Conflict of Interest Act and Ethics in Public Contracting Training is provided to state officers and certain employees who are required to take the training via Internet Access. Click the "COIA Training" to access the COI course. Please follow the instructions carefully on the login page

To find out more on how COIA affects you, go to Classified Employee Guidebook or Faculty Handbook.

What is FOIA, how does it affect me, and who do I contact?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

The purpose of the FOIA policy is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. For more information about FOIA and your rights, please visit ODU's Policy Site

What is FERPA, how does it affect me, and who should I contact for more information?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that guarantees an individual's right to access their academic records. The law also provides guidelines as to third party access and the appropriate security measures of the education record. FERPA stipulates the right that students have to inspect and review their academic record, control disclosure, and request amendment to the education record if an error is recorded.

For more information about FERPA, please visit the University Registrar's site.

What is IP (Intellectual Property), and how does it affect me?

Intellectual Property refers to numerous distinctions related to the creation of the mind for which property rights and the laws that govern them are recognized. Common types of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets.

ODU's Policy 1424 governs ownership of intellectual properties created by university employees or through the use of university resources.

Who should I contact about MOUs, contracts, and delegation of authority?

Please contact University Counsel regarding documented agreements i.e. MOU's and contracts. A representative from this office will provide guidance and assist with drafting these agreements. However, for General Procurement issues i.e. delegation of authority, please contact Harry Smithson, procurement operations manager at 683-5107.

Who should I contact about Export Control?

Please contact your Sponsored Programs Manager at (757) 683-4293 ext. 604.

Who should I contact about Title IV issues?

Please contact University Counsel should these issues involve athletic programming; otherwise, these issues generally involve gender discrimination complaints and should be referred to the Office of Instutional Equity and Diversity (EO/AA).

Who should I report ongoing student behavior concerns to within ODU?

These concerns should be reported to the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services at 683-3442. If your concerns involve safety to the campus community, please contact a member of the Threat Assessment Team.

However, should these concerns prompt an imminent threat for your safety (yourself, the student, or others), please contact ODU Police Department at 683-4000.

What external agencies can I contact about student complaints?

The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) is the official reviewer of student complaints after all institutional processes have been exhausted. They make higher education public policy recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly in such areas as capital and operating budget planning, enrollment projections, institutional technology needs, and student financial aid. To issue a complaint contact the SCHEV Complaint Process website.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) serve student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems. An important responsibility is resolving complaints of discrimination. Please click the link for contact information.