Legal Topics

Policy Manual


The Office of General Counsel maintains the policies contained in the Appalachian State University Policy Manual which are applicable to all faculty, staff, students and visitors of the University.

University Policies are developed, reviewed, revised, approved and published in accordance with the standards and procedures specified in University Policy 101, Policy on Policies.

The following are recently revised or newly implemented Appalachian State University policies:


Record Retention

The UNC System Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (the “Schedule”) is a tool for the staff and faculty of Appalachian State University to use when managing the records in their offices. This schedule lists records commonly found at Appalachian and gives an assessment of their retention value by indicating when, and if, those records may be destroyed.

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 121-5 and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 132-3, no Appalachian employee may destroy University records without the consent of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR). The Schedule is the primary mechanism used by the DNCR to give consent. Records, regardless of medium, not listed in the schedule may not be destroyed without direct approval from the DNCR. For more information on the Schedule and for questions on the destruction of records, please visit the following website Appalachian’s Records Management.

Revised: Dec 16, 2019

Public Records

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 132 et seq., public records may be released to the public upon request. Public records are defined as any document, regardless of physical form or storage location, that is made or received in the scope of conducting University business.

Records held in any medium may be considered a public record, including but not limited to documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, and electronic communications.

Although a wide range of University records may be considered releasable to the public, Federal and State law preclude certain records from being released. Such records generally include, but are not limited to:

  • Personnel Records, under Article 7 of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 126;
  • Research Records, under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 116-43.17; and
  • Student Records, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Appalachian is committed to operating in an environment of openness, transparency and cooperation with members of the public while observing the integrity and confidentiality of content that is not designated as a public record. In order to ensure Appalachian’s commitment to openness and integrity are met, the University has developed a process for facilitating public record requests. For more information please visit the following website University Communications – Public Record Requests.

Revised: Dec 16, 2019

Intellectual Property

Appalachian State University encourages faculty, staff, and students to participate in scholarly research and creative activities that create knowledge and enhance the education of our students and community. Intellectual property is a general term that describes a wide variety of works created by a musician, artist, author, inventor, or researcher. These works must be original creations manifested in a tangible form that can be legally protected. Intellectual property law includes the rights of patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright protection. These rights protect the creator of the work, and the University, from infringement and use by third parties. Both Appalachian and the University of North Carolina system have established policies and procedures to balance the interests of the public, the University, and the respective inventor(s), author(s), or artist(s) in intellectual property arising from research and creative activities conducted by employees and students.

Employees and students using university resources or creating intellectual property in the course and scope of their employment have a duty to disclose such intellectual property created or discovered. To complete an intellectual property disclosure form please visit The process for disclosing the creation of intellectual property at the University for employees and students is detailed in the University’s Intellectual Property Transfer Policy For questions or more information, please feel free to reach out to the Office of Research Protections.

Revised: Dec 16, 2019

First Amendment

Appalachian State University (“University”) is a supporter of the concepts of free speech and academic freedom and acknowledges the differences between speakers, opinions, and beliefs. Still, the University must balance respect for and obligation to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution against an institutional culture of respect for thought, belief, and community similar to what other universities face across the nation. Despite this challenge, the University’s policies and procedures ensure that faculty and students will remain free to learn, study, and gain knowledge inherent within the academic pursuit of higher education consistent with applicable state and federal law and The University of North Carolina’s Campus Free Speech & Free Expression policy. The UNC Campus Free Speech and Free Expression can be found at UNC Policy 1300.8 – Policy on Free Speech and Free Expression Within the University of North Carolina System.

Facility Use

Appalachian State University encourages the free exchange of ideas on its campus while assuring that other important University interests and activities are not infringed upon or disrupted. As such, the Facility Use Policy is designed to support the University’s educational mission by establishing procedures for University-affiliated and non-affiliated persons and groups, who seek to use buildings or grounds owned, leased, or operated by the University. More specifically, this policy is adopted for the orderly use of University facilities and property by University departments, recognized student clubs and organizations, University affiliated groups and persons, and non-University affiliated groups and organizations and persons, as well as to establish parameters and procedures governing the use of the property owned or controlled by Appalachian State University. Appalachian State University’s Facility Use Policy can be found at Appalachian State University’s Facility Use Policy derives its authority from the  UNC Policy Manual 100.1, Section 502.

Delegation of Signature Authority

Pursuant to applicable provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes and the Board of Governors’ policies, the chancellor at each institution has the authority to sign contracts, leases, and other legal documents. Accordingly, Appalachian State University’s Chancellor retains this authority at all times and may exercise this authority herself or through written delegations to other administrative officers.

Appalachian does not recognize contracts as binding that are signed by University employees that do not possess duly delegated signature authority. Employees who sign contracts without requisite authority may be personally liable for the contract, as well as being subject to employee disciplinary action.

In order for a delegation of authority to be valid, delegations must be in writing and include the following:

  1. the name, title, or position of the individual to whom the delegation will apply and
  2. a description of the scope, terms, and limitations of the delegation.

The Office of General Counsel shall receive and retain a copy of all such delegations and maintain the Delegation of Signature Authority for the University. If you have questions about who is authorized to sign a contract on behalf of the University, please contact the Office of General Counsel.

Contracts Process/Management

A contract is any document that imposes an obligation on the University or legally binds the University to another party. Contracts can be used to purchase goods or services, detail a relationship between two entities or persons, or include the responsibilities and obligations of one party to another. A contract can be called a variety of things including, but not limited to, Agreement, Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA), Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Letter Agreement, Affiliation Agreement, Waiver, Grant Agreement, Lease, or License. Contracts do not always involve the payment of funds from one party to another. Terms and conditions that you have to accept or “click-through” prior to using an online product or service are also contracts and may bind the individual user or the university that the user represents. While contracts may be in verbal form and still be valid, Appalachian State University requires that all contracts be in writing and signed by an authorized representative of each party.

Contracts should be routed to the appropriate administrative office for review and processing as follows:

  • For any purchases of goods, please contact the Office of Materials Management.
  • For any contract involving a grant, research, or sponsored project please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • For entertainment contracts or to use the Personal/Professional Services Template please login and make a request through the University’s Total Contract Manager software.
  • Any other contracts, including software agreements, should follow the process set forth in Appalachian State University Policy 102.1, University Contracts and Delegation of Signature Authority.

If you have questions related to any contract, the contract process, or where to route a contract, please feel free to contact the Office of General Counsel.