***The SUNY Compliance webpage is continually developing and will expand as the program evolves. Check back for additional resources and compliance topic pages***
Mission Statement of the Program
The State University of New York is committed to operating with integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies. The State University of New York has established the Compliance Steering Committee to coordinate SUNY's numerous existing compliance efforts and to provide senior leadership with a comprehensive view of SUNY's compliance activities. The Committee will assist the Board in overseeing SUNY’s compliance program with respect to (1) compliance with legal, regulatory, and ethical responsibilities and (2) minimizing SUNY’s risk. The Committee will not assume the duties of the various substantive compliance areas and all ongoing compliance activities will continue in their existing reporting structure. Rather the Committee’s role will be to coordinate and monitor these efforts and assess University-wide performance, making recommendations for change and enhancement where necessary. It is expected that the SUNY Compliance Program will be an evolving process and additional resources will be needed to enhance our efforts over time.
SUNY Compliance Resources
SUNY Audit Hotline to Report Fraud
The State University of New York is committed to ensuring its funds and other University resources are used in an effective and efficient matter. The hotline is intended for faculty, staff, students, and others to report suspected fraud, waste, abuse or irregular activities. These activities include improper transactions, such as suspected thefts, losses, misuse or inappropriate action involving State funds, equipment, supplies or other assets. Complaints about other matters, such as personnel issues or academic misconduct, should be brought to the attention of the appropriate office at the campus involved. The hotline is monitored by University Audit, and each complaint is reviewed by the Fraud Committee.
The hotline is intended for faculty, staff, students, and others to report suspected fraud, waste, abuse or irregular activities. These activities include improper transactions, such as suspected thefts, losses, misuse or inappropriate action involving State funds, equipment, supplies or other assets. Complaints about other matters, such as personnel issues or academic misconduct, should be brought to the attention of the appropriate office at the campus involved. The hotline is monitored by University Audit, and each complaint is reviewed by the Fraud Committee. Click here to find more information about how to report fraud.
SUNY Policies and Procedures
The Policies and Procedures webpage contains a listing of the System-Wide Policies and Procedures. Click here to access the SUNY System-Wide Policies and Procedures webpage. Note that each campus also maintains their own local Policies and Procedures.
The Compliance Topics page contains a listing of all the topics related to higher education Compliance. Click here to access the Compliance topic page. The topic menu on the left hand side of the screen also contains all of the available topic pages.
SUNY General Counsel's Office Updates
Find up-to-date information on the activities of the SUNY Office of General Counsel. These newsletters also contain guidance on various compliance issues.
To join the Compliance listserv, send an e-mail to the Compliance Administrator.
Other Compliance Resources
Higher Education Compliance Alliance
The Higher Education Compliance Alliance was created to provide the higher education community with a centralized repository of information and resources for compliance with federal laws and regulations.
What's New on the Compliance Website
Mandated Update Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policies - update must be completed and submitted by December 15, 2013
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), charged with overseeing Domestic Violence and the Workplace issues in New York State, issued a memorandum on July 19, 2013 with instructions, stating that all agencies must update their current Domestic Violence policies to include specific language. SUNY now has a Model Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy template, with the new updated language, for campuses to use on the Domestic Violence and the Workplace compliance webpage. The SUNY 2008 Model template was updated with the new required language by SUNY Compliance Office and the Office of General Counsel. If your campus simply adopted the original SUNY Model Domestic Violence Policy, then you can use the NEW Model Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy template and edit the template to include your campus information. If your campus DID NOT follow the Model Domestic Violence in the Workplace Policy, you will have to refer to the OPDV memorandum to see what language you will need to include in your current policy.
Guidance Article on Accommodating Pregnant Students on SUNY Campuses
On June 25, 2013, the United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights issues a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) o offer guidance on accommodating pregnant students. In the wake of the DCL's issuance, Seth Gilbertson, Associate Counsel in SUNY's Office of General Counsel published in the General Counsel Update Number 11 to offer guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Students on SUNY Campuses.
Compliance Certification - New York State Education Law Article 129-A - must be completed by October 31 for 2013
Pursuant to Article 129-A of the Education law, each SUNY campus President must provide certification to the New York State Education Department Office of Higher Education that the college is in compliance with all provisions of the Articles of the Education LAw.
Inspector General Uniform Guidelines Recommendations
The New York State Inspector General's Office issued a training program in February of 2013 titled “Code of Conduct and Uniform Guidelines.” The training included guidance on personnel management, ethics, and the use of State resources. The recommendations were based upon findings made by the New York State Inspector General during the course of their own investigations. The recommendations are detailed on the compliance website, and the power point presentation from the IG's presentation is available as well.
Dear Colleague Letter, Questions and Answers About Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, issued September 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Division and U.S. Department of Justice Office for Civil Rights
This most recent Dear Colleague Letter attempts to provide additional information on the Fischer v. University of Texas at Austin decision and how it will impact colleges and universities. the DCL is available on the Affirmative Action compliance webpage.
Special Edition of the General Counsel Update in light of Fischer v. Texas Supreme Court Decision, June 25, 2013
This special edition of the General Counsel update is intended to bring you the latest news and advice on the topic of affirmative action in light of the June 24th Fischer v. Texas Supreme Court ruling, which is the court's most recent foray into affirmative action in higher education admissions. The analysis here is only a first step, and the Office of General Counsel will continue to monitor these cases and provide guidance to you, our clients. The General Counsel's Office newsletter details other affirmative action cases from the past, offers helpful guidance regarding what SUNY campuses should do to be compliant with current Affirmative Action court rulings.
Research: New Human Subjects Research and Animal Subjects Research Best Practice Documents
Effective Date: August 2013; released August 20, 2013
SUNY and the RF have jointly developed a Best Practice resource for Human Subject Research titled "Research Involving Human Subjects" and an Animal subjects Best Practice resource titled “Animal Care and Use.” Both best practice documents are products of the coordinated work of the SUNY Compliance Steering Committee.
CLERY: Properly Classifying Geographic Locations for Clery Act Annual Security Report Purpose, created by Joseph Storch, SUNY Associate Counsel
The attached document is a visual representation of the geographic locations for which colleges and Universities must count Clery Act reportable crimes. The Clery Act requires that colleges and universities report crimes that occur:
- On campus;
- On campus in residence halls;
- In public property adjacent to and accessible from the campus;
- and In non-campus property.
Updates to the New York State Mandatory Training Requirements Page
New Information on the Mandatory JCOPE Ethics training has been added to the page, as well as information on the recommended Equal Employment Opportunity training, which is not mandated for SUNY, but is highly encouraged by GOER .
JCOPE Compliance Mandates – The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) was created out of the Public Integrity Reform Act (PIRA) of 2011, which became effective August 15, 2011. (Chapter 399 of the Laws of 2011) PIRA established JCOPE and expanded the existing functions of the former ethics body in New York, the Commission on Public Integrity. The JCOPE Commission oversees ethics within New York State Agencies, including SUNY. There are many compliance mandates associated with the PIRA law, and JCOPE is the body charged with overseeing the administration of those mandates. The compliance mandates administered by JCOPE are listed on the Compliance Website JCOPE Page, including the mandate that ALL SUNY FDS filers need to complete a mandatory 2-hour JCOPE Ethics training by August 15th. The training must be a ‘live synchronous’ training, and SUNY must use the powerpoint that was provided by JCOPE. The Ethics Officer at each campus is charged with the oversight of this training mandate. See the website for more details about this requirement, including what ‘live synchronous training’ means to JCOPE. Ethics Officers must send a list of those who have been properly trained to JCOPE after training.
A training webinar is available permanently on the SUNY Project Sunlight webpage for campus use for purposes of training on Project Sunlight.
What is Project Sunlight: A New York State statute effective January 1, 2013, establishes the "Project Sunlight" database, and places a compliance mandate on State agencies, including SUNY, to report to OGS appearances by individuals and firms who or that appear before State decision-makers or persons who advise decision-makers, on an OGS form, electronically available in an electronic portal. SUNY is likely to be most impacted in the area of procurement and to a lesser extent in rule-making activities (including rule-making related to tuition and fees) and some activities of the Charter Schools Institute.
SUNY's Mandatory Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Policy:
This Policy places an affirmative obligation upon all State University of New York employees, students, and volunteers to report child sexual abuse that occurs on campus or off campus at University-sponsored events to the appropriate authority or authorities. The policy also requires that relevant employees and students be trained on recognizing child sexual abuse crimes and that there is an obligation to report such abuse if it is witnessed. Updates to this webpage include what the campus needs to do to comply with this new mandated reporting policy, and information on confidentiality issues.
Dear Colleague Letter on Prohibition Against Retaliation related to Civil Rights Complaints: On April 24th, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) to remind school districts, postsecondary institutions, and other Federal funding recipients of the legal prohibition against retaliation with regard to civil rights complaints and to describe OCR’s methods of enforcement. The DCL guidance does not contain any new policy or new interpretations of law and is supported by well-established caselaw. OCR has never before issued any public guidance describing its enforcement of recipients’ non-retaliation obligations, and chose to do so because it is an important area in need of clear concise guidance, as nearly one fifth of all complaints received by OCR raise retaliation allegations.
New First Amendment Guidance on Prayer at Colleges, PRAYER AT PUBLIC COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY EVENTS: PARSING THE FREE SPEECH, FREE EXERCISE AND ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE ISSUES, NACUA Note, May 3, 2013, written by SUNY Associate Counsel Joseph Storch, and Brendan Venter, 3L, Albany Law School and intern at the SUNY Office of General Counsel.
SUNY Fraud Policy and Revised Fraud Procedure - March 2013
The SUNY Board of Trustees adopted a Fraud Policy at its March 2013 Board Meeting. The impact of this new Fraud Policy and the Fraud Procedure changes are outlined on the Compliance webpage. SUNY already maintains a System-wide Fraud Hotline to Report Suspected Fraud, but this new policy ensures that those reporting to the Fraud hotline will have whistleblower protection afforded to them. Also, through the revised procedure, campuses will be required to report all frauds to the Office of University Audit so they may be tracked and monitored by the Fraud Committee using a standard form, and report to the Office of the University Auditor any contact from the New York State Attorney General, the Inspector General, or any other outside agency regarding any investigation. In addition, each campus is required to establish a mechanism (fraud hotline) such as a toll free number, e-mail address, or facsimile number that individuals can use to report suspected and detected fraud and irregularities.
HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Records Management and Retention: Familiarize yourself with the detailed SUNY Records Retention schedule (codified in the Records Retention Policy) that established set retention periods for the various records housed by SUNY campuses. The policy has a series of appendices (available through the policy and also on the Records Retention compliance webpage) that list all the various records, and the specific period that a campus must retain them. When the SUNY Schedule does not cover a particular record, SUNY campuses are to defer to the New York State schedule (available on the State Archives website) for the proper retention period.
Violence Against Women Act 2013 Reauthorization
This page contains information and guidance on the impact of the VAWA 2013 Reauthorization.
Non-Discrimination in Employment - guidance on how to comply with the New York State Human Rights law, which includes broad anti-discrimination provisions with new resources added.
Legal Issues Surrounding Employment Applications and Employment Searches, Guidance issued by the Office of General Counsel 2/14/13
The Office of General Counsel issued a Memorandum to Presidents and attached guidance on February 14, 2013, to identify what is acceptable during an employment search. Adherence to the federal and state laws applicable to the employment search can protect the University from unlawful discrimination claims and consideration of inappropriate information in the hiring process. The standards should serve as a guide campuses toward updating employment applications and search committee rules to reflect current legal obligations. The guidance covers the following areas related to employment searches and is applicable to classified, unclassified, and student applicants: Non-Discrimination Language; Prior Convictions and Pending Arrests; Use of the Internet and Social Media in Employee Searches
The information contained on the SUNY Compliance website is for general campus guidance only and is not intended, nor can be relied upon, as legal advice or the imposition on SUNY campuses of specific policies or requirements. The site is intended to be an informational-only clearinghouse for some of the laws, rules, and regulations that may impact the State University of New York’s campuses. Additionally, given the rapid, changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be delays or omissions contained on this site which therefore cannot be relied upon as complete. For complete compliance information, consult your campus compliance officials or the SUNY Compliance Administrator. For legal advice, consult your lawyer.