This page details specific university policies relating to the Office of the General Counsel and External Affairs, as well as provides sample documents and templates to support those policies.


Generally, contracts to which Tuskegee University is a party must be reviewed and approved by the Office of General Counsel and External Affairs prior to signing and executing. The appropriate signature authority for contracts at Tuskegee University is dependent on the type of contract and its value, as outlined in the Contract Review and Approval page. The Office of General Counsel and External Affairs cannot review or provide legal advice regarding personal or non-university contracts.


A contract is any legally enforceable agreement — whether or not it is titled “contract.” Contracts include, but are not limited to, letters of agreement, lecture or performance agreements, licenses, memoranda of understanding/agreement, and terms and conditions related to all types of transactions. All contracts between the university and a third party must be in writing. An agreement may be a binding contract even though one party provides something of value to the other party at no charge. Therefore, the university may have an interest even though there is no financial transaction.

Certain third-party relationships and agreements may fall outside the purview of this contact process. These may include the following; however, please note that it is preferred that a university employee contact the Office of the General Counsel and External Affairs when doubt exists:

  • routine purchase orders, bills of sale and/or invoices, if they do not contain any terms and conditions
  • renewals of existing contracts approved by the general counsel within the previous fiscal year, unless the terms and conditions of the renewal are different than those previously approved,
  • contracts for the purchase of software, statistical data, online products and services, and lab and research materials, if both of the following conditions apply: the value of the contract is $4,999.99 or less; and the product is for localized use within the department making the purchase, and not for campus-wide use

Please note that legal review by the Office of the General Counsel determines only the legal validity of a contract, as opposed to whether the contract is appropriate and advisable from a business and/or administrative perspective. Such determination is the responsibility of the university unit initiating the contract.


Only authorized individuals — which currently is limited to the university's president and/or general counsel — may sign contracts on behalf of the university. Signing a contract on behalf of the university may have legal, financial or policy implications for which the university becomes responsible. All university personnel and external service vendors should note that contracts or agreements signed on behalf of the university by unauthorized persons will be considered per se invalid and wholly null and void relative to any purported obligations and/or promises contained in such contracts or agreements.

University personnel can be held personally liable for their unauthorized execution of contracts and agreements on behalf of the university, as well as subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination.


The following sample template documents are provided as guiding examples for faculty and staff as they explore external partnerships and relationships with outside agencies, organizations, grantmakers and vendors.


Legal resources on our website provide useful information and direction to accommodate those engaged in official university matters, but should not be interpreted as "legal advice" from the Office of General Counsel. The materials provided on this website are for informational purposes only. Unless otherwise indicated, this information does not change or affect any policy, rule or regulation of Tuskegee University.