Individuals who provide direct service in support of SUNY and its programs without remuneration are volunteers. In order to both protect SUNY's interest and its volunteers, these individuals must receive official appointment as volunteers. Such appointments require that the volunteers complete an oath of office. SUNY System Administration used to require that volunteer rosters be submitted to SUNY System Administration on a quarterly basis.
Current policies and procedures only require that campuses develop their own procedures for appointing and identifying their current voluntary appointees. It is important for campuses to maintain such appointment records because:
Properly appointed and recorded volunteers are covered under the Worker's Compensation Law should they be injured while performing their volunteer duties, and
Section 17 of the Public Officers Law provides that the NYS Attorney General will defend these volunteers should they become involved in litigation that pertains to an incident involving their volunteer duties as long as the volunteers did not intentionally engage in wrong doing. Properly appointed volunteers may also be granted permission to operate State vehicles and operate State equipment as required for fulfilling their volunteer duties.
Individuals, who volunteer their services to State or local governments and receive no compensation, are excluded from the definition of employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are thus excluded from coverage. They may be paid expenses, reasonable benefits, nominal fees, or a combination of these. However, an employee of a State or local government may not volunteer to his own agency services of the same type the employee is employed to perform.
Examples of volunteer duties include supervising of field experiences for students; assisting in museums, libraries, theaters, and laboratories; assisting in activities relating to fund raising and campus improvement projects; and serving as guides. Volunteers may also include the spouses of campus presidents who may be appointed as SUNY Associates.