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Signature Authority

The Contracting and Signature Authority Policy clarifies who has authority to commit university resources

  • Only authorized university officers and agents may sign contracts on behalf of the university.
  • Contracts signed by unauthorized employees or agents are not valid and do not bind the university.
  • Individuals who are not authorized — who have not been granted a written delegation of authority to sign a contract — may be held personally responsible for contracts they sign. Such individuals also may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, under applicable human resources policies.
Who is authorized to sign?

The Board of Visitors' Bylaws authorize the President, the Provost, the Vice President for Administration, and the Vice President for Finance to transact business in the name of the university, including the authority to sign contracts related to specific activities.

The Bylaws also authorize the President, Provost, Vice President for Administration and Vice President for Finance to further delegate their signature authority authorizing individuals to conduct business on behalf of the Board of Visitors and the university.

How does the delegation process work?
  • The delegations must be in writing, signed by the delegating individual.
  • Delegate authority to a specific university employee, referring to the employee by his or her name and title. Delegations cease when the employee no longer holds the position and must be re-sought by the subsequent incumbent.
  • State the scope of the delegation — the type of contracts the employee is being authorized to sign, and any dollar limit. The scope must be within the authority of the delegating individual.
  • Specify whether sub-delegations may be made as well as any conditions or restrictions upon such delegation.
  • Comply with the applicable requirement for a background check (possibly including a criminal background or criminal history check) as specified in university policy.
Who can sign what type of contract?
  1. The President has the authority to conduct the business of the university and, as such, has the authority to sign any contract, unless reserved to the Board of Visitors.
  2. The Provost holds the principal signature authority for:
    • sponsored projects (grants and contracts)
    • employment contracts and letters of intent
    • articulation agreements
    • intellectual property rights
    • student or faculty exchange agreements
    • financial aid agreements
    • any other contracts or agreements necessary to carry out and support the operations of the College, with the exception of matters reserved by the Board of Visitors and those matters delegated to the Vice President for Finance and the Vice President for Administration
  3. The Vice President for Finance holds the principal signature authority for:
    • the transfer, conversion, endorsement, sale, purchase, assignment, conveyance and delivery of any and all shares of stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, and subscriptions warrants, cash or equivalent assets, and evidence of indebtedness.
    • the purchase of real estate and other property or other securities or assets now or hereafter standing in the name of or owned by the BOV or bearing any similar designation indicating ownership by the College. The sale of real property requires the approval of the Board of Visitors.
    • agreements that set terms for acceptance of gifts
    • any other contracts or agreements necessary to carry out and support the operations of the College, with the exception of matters reserved by the Board of Visitors and those matters delegated to the Provost and the Vice President for Administration
  4. The Vice President for Administration holds the principal signature authority for:
    • agreements for the purchase or rental of services, supplies and equipment, including software and hardware
    • construction and professional services
    • nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements
    • real estate and property leases or rental agreements
    • capital leases
    • easements
    • equipment leases or (fixed asset) rental agreements
    • student room contracts
    • licensing and trademark agreements
    • any other contracts or agreements necessary to carry out and support the operations of the College, with the exception of matters reserved by the Board of Visitors and those matters delegated to the Provost and the Vice President for Finance
Who do I contact for assistance?

University employees with delegated authority are encouraged to consult the Office of Procurement Services or University Counsel for advice and guidance as needed when initiating contracts.