FAQs: Business & Contractual Relationships

1. May I consult or engage in outside professional activities for pay?

Consult the UMD Policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment and Procedures if the activities are research-related. You should also consult the conflict of interest provisions under the State Ethics Law that applies to all State employees. Keep in mind; you must complete an annual Outside Professional Activities (OPA) report. You may access the OPA web page through the Payroll & Human Resources System section of ARES.


2. Do I have authority to sign contracts for UMD (e.g., consultant, software, nondisclosure, material transfer or research agreements)?

No, unless you have a written delegation of signature authority. For a comprehensive description of UMD’s current delegations of signature authority, please reference the President’s Memorandum titled Delegation of Authority to Sign Contracts.

Contracts, including ‘Click-through agreements,” that are binding on UMD must be properly reviewed and signed by a UMD official with signature authority. If the contract relates to research, contact the Office of Research Administration for assistance. If the contract relates to a procurement, contact Procurement and Business Services (please note that delegated procurement authority is not the same as delegated signature authority). For any other contract, check with your department administrative or business officer or contact the Office of General Counsel for assistance.


3. If I am authorized to sign contracts, can I use a digital signature, electronic signature, or e-signature platform?

Yes, you may use a digital or electronic signature if the other party agrees to accept electronic signatures, and if you use e-signature utility that maintains a signature transaction record or adds a textual or graphic statement to the document to prove that it was executed with an electronic signature. Adobe Acrobat’s electronic signature certificates (accessed through Adobe’s ‘Tools’ menu) and the Adobe Sign e-signature platform both satisfy this second requirement.

Digital and electronic signatures are not the same as an e-signature platform. Adobe Sign is UMD’s only approved e-signature platform. (Please note that DocuSign is not an approved platform. If the other party intends to use DocuSign, they should convert the signed version to a PDF and send the PDF to UMD for signature.)


4. May I download “free” software to use in my work at UMD?

The Division of Information Technology maintains a database of software available for downloading. If you want to download software not available through the database, contact your unit’s IT professional or consult the IT security and IT Accessibility web pages. Many “available” software downloads require a click-through agreement, which is a legally binding contract. Many click-through agreements contain terms that UMD is prohibited from accepting.


5. Are there any concerns about using my delegated procurement authority to purchase equipment from foreign countries?

Effective August 13, 2020, Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits the federal government and its contractors, grantees, and loan recipients from procuring or using certain “covered telecommunication equipment or services” that are produced by Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua and their subsidiaries as a “substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” You should not use delegated procurement authority to procure any items from these companies or their subsidiaries; instead, please contact Procurement and Business Services.


6. Does UMD have guidelines that apply to my use of UMD’s name and trademarks?

Please reference the Office of Strategic Communication’s Brand Toolkit. This toolkit provides links to resources relating to University communications, the elements of an appropriate UMD website, the licensing and use of UMD’s trademarks, filming on campus, as well as photo and video libraries including stock imagery. Contact Trademark Licensing to address specific questions relating to the use of UMD’s name and/or existing trademarks, or to discuss the development or approval of new trademarks.


7. An external entity wants to film me for a TV show or news story. What should I do?

Entities that wish to film campus or individuals on campus must submit an application to the Office of Strategic Communications and sign a contract with UMD if the request is approved.


8. Does UMD have liability insurance that covers me while I’m working?

The State of Maryland is self-insured under State law. A summary of the coverage that applies to state employees acting within the scope of their employment is available on the website of the Maryland State Treasurer. In addition, the Maryland Tort Claims Act covers employees acting within the scope of their employment. Contact the Office of Risk Management for assistance.


9. What happens if I am injured on the job?

You should first read Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions and review the workers’ compensation website. You must then file a report of the incident.


10. Does UMD have insurance for when I travel on business?

Coverage for State employees who are involved in an accident while using a State vehicle for work is addressed on the Risk Management website within the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk. For information about travel outside the US, view Risk Management’s Travel Safety resource page, International Travel on the Export Compliance Office website and/or speak with a counselor in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.


11. Does the University have a resource for reporting various compliance concerns?

Yes! In addition to the Whistleblower Protections discussed in the Research FAQ, above, the Division of Administration & Finance offers an ethics, integrity, and compliance reporting system so that you can easily and confidentially report problems and concerns. You also can find additional resources for reporting concerns related to discrimination/harassment, research integrity, safety, and accessibility.