What should I do if I am contacted by State or Federal Government Agencies or Authorities?
Like all large organizations, the University receives requests for information or site visits from government regulatory and investigative agencies. Sometimes, the inquiry involves a matter in which the University is directly involved (e.g. a pre-award audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs). In other instances, the University is not directly involved, but possesses relevant information (e.g. a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for information concerning an employee’s criminal investigation unrelated to the employee’s work). In either case, it is important that OLA be notified immediately of all non-routine requests for information or site visits by government agencies. In addition to determining whether the request is legally valid, OLA can assist by ensuring that the University responds satisfactorily and by notifying the appropriate people within the institution. You should also refer all attorneys representing regulatory authorities or the government to OLA.
I was contacted by a private attorney regarding a university matter. What should I do?
Because we are a large decentralized organization, attorneys representing potential and actual plaintiffs in litigation against the University often contact University faculty and other employees directly at work or home, or even approach them at social or civic events, seeking information or records about the matter in controversy. In some cases, depending upon who the individual so contacted is and whether the individual is a potential defendant and/or already represented in the matter, the attorneys’ canons of ethics require that any such contact be only through counsel for that individual.
Information provided through such interactions can prove damaging or prejudicial to both the institution and the individual should litigation ensue or sworn testimony be taken. Such information may be used to build a case against the University, and it may be confidential. Please be reminded that if you are contacted, you may refuse to discuss the matter with the attorney making the contact. You should seek counsel from OLA regarding the matter or whether certain records must be provided. We recommend that you either refer the attorney to OLA or let OLA know of the contact so that we can ensure that the University’s interests are protected.