| LSCS Policy Manual
| Legal Affairs Policy
VII. Legal Affairs
All legal services for the Lone Star College System ("System") and its component college campuses are provided exclusively by the Office of the General Counsel.
Representation of the System and its component college campuses in litigation is provided through outside legal counsel retained and managed by the Office of the General Counsel with respect to all lawsuits filed by or against the Board of Trustees, the System or a component college campus or entity. The General Counsel will provide periodic reports to the Board and Chancellor about the status of pending litigation, the resolution of any lawsuit and the settlement of any claim. All contacts with outside legal counsel shall be made exclusively through the Office of General Counsel.
Employment of outside legal counsel on behalf of the System or component college campus shall be conducted through the Office of General Counsel. Retaining and communication with specialized outside legal counsel for System financing transactions shall be conducted by both the General Counsel and the Vice Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer.
VII.2. Request for Legal Opinion, Advice, Information and Policy Interpretations
All requests for legal opinions, advice, information or services should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel by the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, or the Presidents of the component college campuses or by such individuals as may be specifically designated by the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors or Presidents in writing. A letter delineating such designations should be filed with the General Counsel with an information copy to the Chancellor.
For compliance with System Board Policies and laws of the State of Texas, all agenda items that are proposed for each Board of Trustee Meeting shall be submitted to the General Counsel for approval prior to each meeting.
While telephone requests may be necessary from time to time, most requests for
legal services should be communicated by written memoranda.
Procedures implementing this Section 2 shall be developed by the General Counsel and communicated to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of component college campuses.
VII.3. Open Records Decision Requests
All open records requests should be immediately forwarded to the Public Records Coordinator of the Office of the General Counsel for review and coordination of a response, if any. Procedures implementing this Section 3 shall be developed by the General Counsel and communicated to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of component college campuses.
VII.4. Contract Compliance
VII.4.1. Purpose and Scope
This section sets forth requirements applicable to all contractual instruments for services, including but not limited to contractual documents, terms and conditions, leases, letters of agreement, affiliation agreements, letters of intent, memoranda of understanding, and interagency or intercampus agreements (collectively "contracts") that are:
- Executed on behalf of the System for and on behalf of and/or any of the component college campuses;
- Intended to be binding on the System; and
- To which the System is a party or signatory in any capacity, regardless of funding source, amount of funds expended or generated, and whether or not remuneration, monetary or in-kind, is involved.
This document was created to comply with the System Board Policy Manual Section III (D.2) and applicable federal and state laws, regulations, agency advisory opinions and judicial and administrative determinations.
- No person has the authority to bind the System contractually, except in accordance with this Policy.
- All contracts shall have all applicable administrative and legal reviews completed and be signed by all parties prior to commencement of any duties/actions by the parties as stipulated in the contract. Board of Trustees approval must be obtained in an Open Meeting for certain contracts. See Board Policy Section III (D.2.02).
- Contracts are legally binding on the System only upon execution of the contract by the System official with delegated contractual signatory authority. The Board delegates to the Chancellor the authority to approve and execute contracts not specifically required by this Policy or by law to be approved by the Board. The Chancellor is authorized to delegate specific contract authority to System LEOs and the System's Director of Purchasing. The Chancellor or the General Counsel shall develop procedures to implement this section which shall specify the type of contract authority delegated to administrative positions, the process to secure legal review of such contracts and any permitted sub-delegation authority, if any.
- No employee or agent of the System has the authority to enter into any contract on behalf of the System, except as otherwise expressly provided by Board Policy. If a System employee signs a contract without authority, or falsely represents to a third party that he or she has authority to sign a contract, the employee may be held personally responsible to the third party under Texas law. An agreement that is not expressed in writing and approved and executed in accordance with this Policy, shall not be binding or enforceable against the System. Any employee who signs a contract or seeks to bind the System to an agreement in violation of this Policy may be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge of employment.
- Amendments, changes, extensions or renewals to the original contract must be processed in the same manner as the original contract. A copy of the original contract should be included with the amendment, change, extension or renewal at the time the documents are processed for approval.
VII.4.3. General Provisions
This section sets forth the System or College Responsibilities as Originators of the Contract. Depending upon the circumstances, either the System Office of Administration of Finance, or the college campus, or its department originating the transaction, assumes primary responsibility for a contract, from inception to completion of the transaction. The System or the college campus is responsible for monitoring and assuring performance in accordance with provisions of the contract and for reporting non-compliance to their immediate supervisor and, as appropriate, to the applicable President, Vice President, Vice Chancellor and Associate Vice Chancellor. The Manager of System Contract Compliance will provide needed assistance as requested. Procedures implementing this Section 4.3 shall be developed by the General Counsel and communicated to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of component college campuses.
VII.4.4. Special Contracting Requirements And Contract Preparation
Procedures implementing Special Contracting Requirements and Contract Preparation shall be developed by the General Counsel and communicated to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of component college campuses.
VII.5. Trademark Management
Board Policy Section II L. Advertising and Branding, provides that the names, logos, trademarks and other identifying Marks of the System and the component college campuses should be protected and not used by individuals or entities not affiliated with the System without the express approval of the System's designated representative. The General Counsel (in consultation and approval of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for External Affairs) is delegated the responsibility to take whatever steps are reasonable and necessary to enforce this policy. This section promotes and protects the System and its component college campuses through implementation of a management system which establishes the means of consistent, favorable and professional use of the Marks; to fulfill the legal obligations of the Marks; to protect the consumer from deception or from faulty or inferior products and services bearing the System's Marks; to provide fair and equitable treatment of all licenses and to realize and distribute earned royalties and other revenues for the benefit of the System.
VII.5.1. General Provisions
The legal protection, management, and enforcement of the rights in the Marks of the System and the component college campuses belong to the General Counsel. External use of the Marks by external entities is managed by the System, through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, with the following principals:
- Licensing is required for all non-System users.
- The Marks must be licensed to the user and the use approved by the System, except when the use:
- Is by an artist in an original work of art which will not be reproduced; or
- Is a congratulatory of supportive advertising message using the System's names but not its logos and symbols. For example, "Welcome Back LSCS Students" are supportive types of messages.
- Suppliers of products to the System bearing any Mark must be licensed except when Marks are used on the following products:
- Printed publications and advertising for purposes of institutional and event promotion; and
- Printed supplies, not for resale.
- Royalties are collected for non-System and/or commercial uses. A royalty exemption (but not a license exemption) may be granted for:
- A product purchased by the System or a component college campus, recognized support groups such as professional associations, alumni, employee organizations, athletic, cultural and other interest groups for internal consumption or for sale at cost to their members. Promotional products given away by these groups are considered products for internal consumption. If the group has excess product after consumption or sale within its group, it cannot be sold to non-members, but can be given away to non-members.
- Selected school supplies, which would be considered products purchased by students for course work.
- Advertising rights to use the Marks as granted in corporate sponsor agreements.
- Fundraising activities by non-profit or charitable organizations.
- c. Licenses are generally non-exclusive except for special programs initiated by the System.
Use of the Marks by entities internal to the System is managed in accordance with the System's published style guide by the System executive officers including the Chancellor, component college campus Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors and affiliated organization directors.
- Internal uses, which fall within the ordinary business of the System, do not require licensing. Products created by a System unit for resale, and bearing the Marks must be licensed, except for educational and scholarly materials owned by the System and printed publications; and
- Royalties are not payable or internal uses and do not require licensing.
Procedures implementing all other aspects of Trademark Management shall be developed by the General Counsel and communicated to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of component college campuses.
VII.6. Protection of Confidential Information
It is the policy of the Lone Star College System to ensure that there are guidelines, safeguards, and controls in place to effectively manage and protect confidential information in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and best practices. Such confidential information includes, but is not limited to, social security numbers, educational records as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), health care information as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), and customer information as defined by the Gramm¬ Leach-Bliley Act ("GLB Act").
The General Counsel will serve as the Privacy Officer for the System.
The Privacy Officer's duties include the issuing of guidelines with regard to the use of social security numbers, educational records, health care information, customer information, and other confidential information.
The guidelines will be issued by the Privacy Officer to help ensure that:
- The release, use, display, transmission, and retention of social security numbers are only allowed if permitted by law.
- Information that is considered an educational record (as defined by FERPA) will only be disclosed to someone other than an "eligible student" or an "eligible parent" with the consent of the student or as otherwise authorized by law.
- The use, receipt, or transmission of an individual's health care information (as defined by HIPAA) is allowed only as permitted by law.
- Customer information (as defined by the GLB Act), including financial information, which is collected or maintained, will be safeguarded as required by law.
- The use and/or release of any other information determined by the Privacy Officer to be confidential is allowed only as required by and consistent with applicable law.
No person having access to confidential information shall disclose confidential
information in any manner except as established in the guidelines issued by the Privacy Officer.
It is the responsibility of each component college campus to adhere to the guidelines that are issued by the Privacy Officer.
The Privacy Officer will revise its guidelines whenever necessary to conform to changes in applicable law or regulations.
Any intentional violation of this Section 6 will result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to possible termination of employment.
LSCS Policy Manual section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 7, 2009