FACULTY/STAFF POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL

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5.8. Finance and Administration Programs and Policies


5.8.1 Financial Services/Controller

5.8.1.1 Payroll/Grant Administration

5.8.1.1.1 Payroll Procedures and Cashier Services

5.8.1.1.2 Grant Applications

5.8.1.1.3 Fringe Benefits, Indirect Costs, and Other Grant–related Questions

5.8.1.1.4 Recoupment of Overpayment

5.8.1.2 Travel Policies and Procedures

5.8.1.2.1 Request Forms

5.8.1.2.2 Compensation

5.8.1.2.3 Advances, Credit Card

5.8.1.2.4 Reimbursement

5.8.1.2.5 Availability of Funds

5.8.1.2.6 State Vehicle Policies

5.8.2 Human Resources

5.8.3 Physical Plant Administration

5.8.3.1 Purchasing

5.8.3.1.1 Inventory Control

5.8.3.1.2 Shipping and Receiving

5.8.3.1.3 Storage

5.8.3.2 Maintenance

5.8.3.2.1 Keys and Locks

5.8.3.2.2 General Maintenance/Work Requests

              5.8.4 Electronic Signature Policy

5.8.1 Financial Services/Controller

The Controller is the principal administrator responsible for the daily financial functions of the University ranging from accounts payable, accounts receivable, fee collections, cash deposits, payroll, financial records, financial reporting, grants and contracts and budgets. The following report to the office of Financial Services/Controller: Accounts Payable; Budget; Fee Collection; Payroll/Grants Administration.

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5.8.1.1 Payroll/Grant Administration

The Office of Finance and Administration is also responsible for coordinating state, federal, and other funded grants.

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5.8.1.1.1 Payroll Procedures and Cashier Services

Direct Deposit is mandatory for all employees. A Direct Deposit form can be found on the Controller’s Office website. Employee should attach a voided check to the completed form and deliver to the Payroll Department in the Controller’s Office. The first paycheck will be pre-noted and a check will be issued. Each paycheck thereafter will be deposited into the appropriate account. If banking information changes, a new completed form and voided check to the Payroll Department of banking information changes.

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5.8.1.1.2 Grant Applications

All applications for grants—state, federal, and other—are to be submitted up the chain of command through the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration to the Office of the President for approval. These applications must be submitted for approval prior to submissions to granting agencies. Faculty should allow at least two weeks for this process.

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5.8.1.1.3 Fringe Benefits, Indirect Costs, and Other Grant–related Questions

Information regarding fringe benefits (which need to be included in grants that request personnel), indirect costs, and other grant–related questions can be obtained from the Grants and Payroll Coordinator in the Controller’s Office. When approval or disapproval of a grant application is received, it is necessary that the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration receive a written copy of notification in order to set up the necessary accounting procedures.

Grant recipients should be aware that they are responsible for maintaining their grants within their approved budgets and that they must be made sure that all expenditures are promptly paid and recorded before the ending date of the grant. Unencumbered invoices submitted for payment after the ending date of the grant may not be paid.

The Grants and Payroll Coordinator will help faculty with questions regarding grants in connection with the University.

The University Library offers an array of assistance for faculty in all stages of grant–seeking and proposal writing.

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5.8.1.1.4 Recoupment of Overpayment

The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures which will be followed when an employee has been overpaid.  Overpayment occurs when compensation that is not owed to the employee is paid in error.  This includes but is not limited to overpayment of wages, annual leave paid in error, as well as, erroneous refunds of deductions.  Unearned payments to employees are prohibited by Article 7, Section 14 of the Louisiana State Constitution which prohibits the donation of public funds.  As a result, Nicholls State University is required to recoup overpayments from both active and separated employees.

The official policy for recouping overpayments is available on the Human Resources policies website.

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5.8.1.2 Travel Policies and Procedures

As a state agency, Nicholls State University and all of its employees are subject to the provisions of the Policy and Procedures Memorandum No. 49, the state general travel regulations.

Faculty/staff traveling on University business should be aware of the policies and procedures governing such travel. All travel, whether or not the faculty/staff member is compensated, should be pre–approved because of insurance considerations.

Each year the State of Louisiana chooses a travel agency to become the official agency for handling statewide travel services. State travelers can call this agency toll–free for travel information and for booking services. The name of the official agency is listed in the Official Travel Regulations. All departments have been issued copies of the Official Travel Regulations.

Faculty/staff accompanying students on field trips should be particularly aware of all safety precautions, especially those that apply to driving and the safe operation of vehicles In this regard faculty are expected to strictly follow traffic laws and posted speed limits.

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5.8.1.2.1 Request Forms

Travel request forms for both in–state and out–of–state travel are available from departmental secretaries. Once completed, the request forms must be approved by the appropriate supervisors. Requests should be turned in early enough so the approval process can be completed before the travel occurs. Faculty should remember to file the proper campus vehicle reservation forms even if approval for the vehicle is given by phone.

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5.8.1.2.2 Compensation

Travel requests may be for less than the total cost of the trip when the faculty/staff member pays what the University does not cover. Compensated travel items covered include transportation, meals, lodging, and required registration fees. Faculty/staff must remember to file a separate form when they return from their trips.

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5.8.1.2.3 Advances, Credit Card

Faculty/staff wishing a travel advance should apply at least fourteen (14) business days prior to the departure date to allow the Controller’s Office sufficient time to issue the check. Corporate credit cards (American Express) are also available for faculty/staff who do a considerable amount of traveling. Applications can be obtained in the Controller’s Office. The card takes about 6 weeks to receive. All airline reservations must be made with the American Express Corporate Card. If faculty/staff have to pay American Express before the 6–8 weeks needed to collect travel expenses, they should file for an advance payment. This advance payment must be picked up in the Controller’s Office. Faculty/staff will be called when these payments are ready. Advance checks will be released to employees only, not to student workers.

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5.8.1.2.4 Reimbursement

Faculty/staff considering travel should consult with Department Heads or Supervisors. A travel reimbursement form should be submitted in triplicate, within the month following travel. The reimbursement form should be signed by the Department Head, Dean, Director, or Supervisor and should be turned in to the Controller’s Office. A travel reimbursement form is not required if the trip was not charged to the University. In no case shall reimbursement for travel in a previous fiscal year be paid from current year appropriations unless funds have been specifically reserved for that purpose. Details of reimbursable travel costs and state travel regulations can be found in the Official Travel regulations furnished to each department.

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5.8.1.2.5 Availability of Funds

Funds available for travel and allocation of such funds vary from department to department and from college to college. Faculty/staff considering travel should consult with their Department Heads or Supervisors. A manual containing details for filing travel requests is available from the Controller’s Office.

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5.8.1.2.6 State Vehicle Policies

Only Nicholls State University or its designee will possess the authority to permit an individual the use of these vehicles. No person assigned to a vehicle has the authority to relinquish its use to another person unless prior approval has been obtained. Vehicles operated by the University are state owned and restricted to use for official University business only.

Requirements for Drivers

  • Only selected state employees shall be authorized to operate these vehicles.
  • Selected employees must possess a valid Louisiana operator’s license for the vehicle class being driven and must have a verifiable need to operate this vehicle.
  • Supervisors will submit for approval only persons with acceptable driving history.
  • Persons permitted to operate these vehicles will operate only those vehicles for which they are specifically trained and licensed.
  • A “Regular Driver” (an individual whose normal job duty requires him/her to drive in the scope of employment on a regular basis, once a week) shall attend and successfully complete a “Defensive Driving Course” within three (3) months of application, and a refresher course every three (3) years thereafter unless the individual’s driving record indicates a need for more frequent training or withdrawal of authorization.
  • Drivers must obey all local, state, and federal laws.
  • Student workers are allowed to use a state vehicle in conjunction with their student employment duties. They must comply with all requirements for drivers.

Vehicle Use Information

  • The Department Head, Supervisor, or designee will require all state owned vehicle operators to review the contents of the “Nicholls State University Vehicle regulations” (this section) comply with its contents.
  • The official domicile of all university officers and employees shall be the City of Thibodaux, and no travel or subsistence expenses shall be allowed within the domicile.
  • Vehicles needed for off–campus classes will have priority in assignments.
  • Transporting unauthorized person(s) (anyone not listed on the official travel request forms) is prohibited.
  • All requests for authorization of official travel forms (“Request for Official travel”) must be completed and approved by all appropriate University officials prior to departure. For in–state travel, requests should be submitted one (1) week in advance, and four (4) weeks in advance for out–of–state travel. Although emergency trips do occur and it is sometimes difficult to process the paper work ahead of time, this should be the exception rather than the rule. Provisions are in place to handle emergency or last minute trips. In order for the University to be adequately protected, these forms must be completed on a timely basis.
  • All travel request forms are processed through the University organizational structure for final approval.
  • A faculty/staff employee must accompany each University sponsored field trip or activity requiring state owned vehicles for transportation.
  • Vehicles must be parked at the maintenance building upon the driver’s return to Thibodaux. Keys must be left at the University Police Station.

Departure Information

All assigned vehicles at departure time may be obtained at the Maintenance Department (Ardoyne corner Acadia Drive). The keys to the assigned vehicle(s) may be obtained at the University Police Department. (Vehicles assigned are checked out only to the driver on the approved official travel request forms and at the time requested on that form.).

State Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle repairs, gas, and/or oil used in state vehicles may be obtained at the University Maintenance Department during regular work hours prior to travel. When the Maintenance Department is closed, vehicle expense becomes a refundable item; receipts and charges should be turned in as travel expenses in accord with the requirements of the respective departments.

Road Emergency Information

Road emergency procedure information may be found in the glove compartment of each University vehicle. Drivers may also call collect 504–448–4911, if necessary.

Vehicle Return Information

Vehicles, upon their return, should be parked near the maintenance buildings. All vehicles should be locked at all times and the ignition keys removed and returned to University Police. A Vehicle Discrepancy Report should be filled out at the University Police Office, if required. Vehicle Discrepancy Reports will be forwarded to the Maintenance Department on the next working day by University Police.

Reporting of Accidents Involving State Vehicles

Personnel operating a state vehicle must report accidents promptly to the Nicholls State University Police (phone 504–448–4745), to the Purchasing Office (phone 504–448–4038) and to the University Safety Officer (phone 504–448–4783). If drivers are out of town, the proper law enforcement official must also be notified.

No one has the authority to decide whether there is enough damage to warrant reporting an accident. Due to state liability in these matters, it is extremely important that all accidents be reported promptly.

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5.8.2 Human Resources

The Director of Human Resources, who also serves as the University affirmative action/equal opportunity compliance officer, is the principal administrator responsible for administering institutional personnel policies and practices for staff and faculty.

The Department of Human Resources is responsible for a variety of functions and services relating to personnel. Of particular interest to faculty is the responsibility of this office for personnel records maintenance as described in Section 5.4.2. Included in such records are faculty contracts, vitae, leave records, and some benefit records.

The Department of Human Resources disseminates information about employee benefits, assists faculty with problems regarding benefits, and coordinates benefits with various agencies. The Payroll and Grants Coordinator, located in the Controller’s Office, is designated as the retirement liaison for teachers retirement. Other responsibilities of this office include the handling of contracts which involves typing, mailing, maintenance, informing payroll, and filing; advising faculty and staff regarding staffing and employee policies and procedures, compensation, benefits, state and federal rules and regulations; employee relations and staff development including on–site workshops and training, new employee orientation; maintaining sabbatical records; initiating and monitoring worker’s compensation claims; and coordinating affirmative action and EEO activities with the State and the University Affirmative Action Offices.

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5.8.3 Physical Plant Administration

The following report to Physical Plant Administration: Purchasing; Operation/Maintenance; and Grounds. Purchasing is responsible for the procurement of equipment, supplies and services, which supervises the identification and movement of all state property. Grounds plans work and supervises the maintenance of the University grounds. Maintenance is responsible for the management of construction, maintenance, and repair activities at the University.

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5.8.3.1 Purchasing

The purpose of the University Purchasing Office is to assist with the acquisition of materials and services necessary for the functioning of the University. The Director of Purchasing has the responsibility to assure that all departments are in compliance with all applicable state, federal and University requirements. All requests for materials or services should go through the Purchasing Office.

For information on purchasing procedures, refer to the Purchasing Manual which is available on the Purchasing Office website.

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5.8.3.1.1 Inventory Control

The Purchasing Office serves as the inventory control office for the University and checks on equipment regularly.

Under State law the University is required to take a physical inventory of all “property” annually. “Property”, for inventory purposes, is defined as tangible, non–consumable, movable or fixed, and having an acquisition cost of $250.00 or more. The Property Control Officer reserves the right to tag certain items with a value of less than $250.00. All qualified items purchased or acquired by gift must be tagged and inventoried. The Property Control Officer must be notified immediately when a gift or donation of equipment is contemplated, but in all cases before the actual donation. It is the responsibility of the office and/or department head to see that all property items acquired be tagged and inventoried within ten (10) days after receipt.

Department Heads and the personnel under their control are personally accountable for property in their department, as well as its status and maintenance. The records in the Property Control Office must at all times reflect the departmental custody and exact location of a piece of property. Accordingly, it is necessary that the Property Control Office be kept advised of the movement and the location of all property on campus by the use of Property Control Form No. 1. Home use of state property requires the written approval of the Property Control Officer.

Under no circumstances is any State property to be disposed of by any means without contacting the Property Control Officer for authorization. Surplus property that a department wishes to dispose of because it is not needed, non–operating, damaged, not worth repairing, etc. should be reported in writing to the Property Control Officer who will take appropriate action.

The Property Control Officer should be notified in writing immediately when property is lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed through vandalism, fire, windstorm, or other Acts of God. In instances where theft is strongly suspected, a report should also be made in writing to University Police.

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5.8.3.1.2 Shipping and Receiving

The Shipping and Receiving Office functions as the University’s central warehouse. It receives all ordered materials including UPS deliveries and inventories the University’s capital outlay items, along with Property Control, through the Purchasing Department.

When materials that have been ordered by a department reach the campus, the Shipping and Receiving Office accepts the order, records the delivery, and delivers the items to the requesting department. A responsible individual in the department must sign for the items, and the individual who initiated the order is responsible for checking to ensure the order is complete and the items are in good working condition.

The Shipping and Receiving Office will send out official University UPS packages upon request.

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5.8.3.1.3 Storage

The Shipping and Receiving Office stores large items such as desks, bookshelves, and computers that are no longer needed by a department. Such surplus equipment then becomes available at no charge to other departments. As available space allows, departments may also store equipment in the warehouse temporarily.

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5.8.3.2 Maintenance

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5.8.3.2.1 Keys and Locks

To enhance the safety and security of the campus, the University has developed a key control system. For each new or replacement key requested, faculty/staff must complete a key request form and hand carry the form to the Purchasing Office.

Key request forms are available at the Purchasing Office, the University Police Office, and in the Deans’ Offices. Issuance of keys requires authorization, by signature, of an administrative official in the chain of command. No stamp or signing for supervisor will be accepted. The requester must personally sign for each key when the request is turned in to the Purchasing Office

If for any reason the employee no longer needs a key, it is the responsibility of the employee who has signed for the key to return that key or all keys in to the Purchasing Office. Lending of keys is prohibited.

In order to secure state property and personal possessions, faculty/staff shall keep laboratories and offices closed and locked during those periods when faculty are not present at these sites. Faculty/staff shall not lend office and laboratory keys to students.

Lost keys should be reported to the Purchasing Office immediately. There is a $5.00 charge for each lost key. This fee is subject to change. Only one duplicate key will be issued. All keys must be returned to the Purchasing Office when faculty/staff members cease employment at the University.

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5.8.3.2.2 General Maintenance/Work Requests

To request maintenance services or minor remodeling, faculty/staff must send a work order to the Physical Plant Office. This work order should explain what is needed and must be signed by the Department Head and Dean or Director. The time the request was received will be logged because most scheduled projects (as opposed to emergency projects) are handled in the order in which they are received.

The Physical Plant does not charge for regular maintenance such as correcting a problem with a building’s structural or mechanical systems. For minor remodeling, such as adding an electrical outlet or changing the existing building structure by adding a wall, academic units are charged for supplies but not for labor.

Following completion of the project, if costs were incurred, the Physical Plant Office will send a purchase requisition to the employee’s Department Head or Supervisor. Requests for major remodeling require approval from the Academic Vice President’s Office.

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5.8.4 Electronic Signature Policy Statement

Nicholls State University official policy and procedure form Created 12/10/04; Revised 08/08/14, 06/28/18, 02/14/2020.

Nicholls State University (“University” or “NiSU”) is committed to a secure digital environment in which the
University is compliant with federal, state, and local laws and policies but is also able to move with flexibility in
higher education related business operations. The University recognizes that electronic signatures are a
requirement in today’s higher education environment to do business and is committed to a safe and secure use of
electronic signatures for University business.

Scope and Application of Policy
This policy and all related procedures apply to faculty, staff, and students of the University and any individual or
entity who has or plans to enter into a business or other contractual relationship with the University and applies
only to those documents and Workflows that require any form of signature. This policy does not supersede any
federal or state laws(s) which specifically requires a handwritten signature.

Definitions:
1. Contract: An agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation to do or not do a particular
thing. Any contract may be titled as a agreement, a memorandum of understanding, a memorandum of
agreement, a promise to pay, or may use other terminology.
2. Document: Any Contract, record, Electronic Document, form, writing, or authorization in electronic or
physical format.
3. Electronic Document: Any Document created, generated, communicated, sent, received, or stored by
electronic means and may or may not contain or require a signature.
4. Electronic Signature: An electronic sound, symbol, logged action, or process attached to, or logically
associated with, a Document or Workflow and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the
Document.
5. Digital Signature: A form of Electronic Signature that contains encrypted information that is unique to the
signer called a digital signing certificate. It can be easily verified and informs recipients whether the document
was modified after the signer initially signed the document. Digital signatures may be used to ensure the
authenticity and integrity of an e-mail message or a document.
6. Handwritten Signature: Any symbol attached to, or associated with, a Document and executed or adopted
by a person with the intent to sign the Document.
7. Workflow: An electronic process that proceeds from one individual or department to another, which usually
entails an action or approval at each step, and may or may not require an electronic signature.

Use of Electronic Signatures
Nicholls State University official policy and procedure form Created 12/10/04; Revised 08/08/14, 06/28/18, 02/14/2020 .
1. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the University accepts Electronic Signatures, as defined in this
policy, as legally binding and equivalent to a Handwritten Signature to signify a Contract, authorize an activity
or action; or otherwise authenticate a Document. Where a law or policy does not specifically require a
Handwritten Signature, a requirement for a signature is met if the Document contains an Electronic Signature.
2. The University reserves the right to designate specific university processes that are to be conducted as
transaction or maintained as Electronic Documents, and that are to be fulfilled by an Electronic Signature
pursuant to this policy. Some processes may require the use of a Digital Signature to provide enhanced
document authenticity and integrity.
3. All security procedures and technologies shall provide authentication and integrity to the extent that is
reasonable for each Electronic Signature, as determined by the Chief Information Officer. Any Electronic
Signature that does not employ an approved authentication method at the time of signature shall not be binding
on the University, unless verified by a university official with the appropriate signature authority.
4. Each member of the University’s Administrative Team shall determine the appropriate use or non-use of
Electronic Signatures for each division under their authority and management unless otherwise directed by
the President.
5. The University may, at its discretion and with the approval of the appropriate member of the University’s
Administrative Team, elect to opt out of permitting an Electronic Signature with any part or in any transaction,
for any or no reason.

Forms of Electronic Signature that Nicholls will accept to conduct University business:
1. A handwritten signature on a scanned or otherwise digitally captured Document.
2. A graphic image of a signature placed on a Document (scanned or electronically generated) using secure
software that verifies the identity of the signature user.
3. Marks, initials, checkboxes, or any similar attestation provided through an online form or Workflow that is
accessible (a) only after authenticating into a secure online environment owned or managed by NiSU and (b)
is tied to the signature user’s specific credentials, including an e-mail from an employee’s official NiSU email address.
4. In the case of a student’s consent for disclosure of his/her education records and/or consent to participate in
an educational/university-based opportunity, an e-mail from the student’s official Nicholls e-mail address
(nicholls.edu); consent provided through a Nicholls State University owned or managed portal; or any paper
or online form that complies with the above criteria.Nicholls State University official policy and procedure form Created 12/10/04; Revised 08/08/14, 06/28/18, 02/14/2020.

Forms of unacceptable Electronic Signature for internal document or documents required by a university process:
1. A graphic image of a signature placed on a Document and without a verifiable intent to sign. For example,
an e-mail from a non-official NiSU e-mail address along with the signed Document. An e-mail that does not
come from an official NiSU e-mail address would not be considered verifiable intent.
2. A typewritten name that has not been verified by secure software.
3. In the case of a student’s consent for disclosure of his/her education records and/or consent to participate in
an educational/university-based opportunity, an e-mail from an e-mail address other than the student’s official
NiSU e-mail address, text message communication from any phone number, social media communication, or
any other unauthenticated communication.
4. When a University policy requires a Handwritten Signature on a Document or when there is a legal
requirement that requires a Handwritten Signature on a Document.

Record Retention
1. If parties have agreed to conduct a transaction by electronic means, an Electronic Document capable of
retention must be retained. An Electronic Document is not capable of retention by the recipient if the sender
of its information processing system inhibits the ability of the recipient to permanently retain the Electronic
Document containing the signature.
2. Electronic Signatures and the associated data to validate the Electronic Signature are an integral part of an
Electronic Document. Documents that contain an Electronic Signature must follow all federal, state and
University required record retention as those that use a Handwritten Signature. The Electronic Signature and
means to verify it need to be maintained for the full Document life cycle.

Additional Information
1. Individuals who falsify a Document and/or Electronic Signature may be subject to disciplinary action, up to
and including termination of employment and criminal prosecution under applicable federal and state laws.
2. Where the end product of a work flow requires a high level of document integrity, a Digital Signature may be
required at the discretion of the applicable member of the University’s executive leader team after consulting
with University System Counsel or designee.
3. Nothing in this policy is intended to authorize any individual to sign a Document on behalf of NiSU if he/she
has not been delegated such authority.
4. It is a violation of this policy for an individual to falsify an Electronic Signature or affix an Electronic
Signature of another individual, unless he/she has been granted specific, written authority by the individual.
Nicholls State University official policy and procedure form Created 12/10/04; Revised 08/08/14, 06/28/18, 02/14/2020 .
5. The presence of an Electronic Signature does not mean that the signatory was authorized to sign or approve a
Document on behalf of the University.

Policy Review
This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary.
Related Standards, Policies and Procedures, Resources
Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2618. Acceptance and distribution of electronic records by governmental agencies
in this state
Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2607. Legal recognition of electronic records, electronic signatures, and electronic
contracts
State of Louisiana, Division of Administration, Office of State Procurement. Memorandum OSP 20-03 dated
October 8, 2019 RE: Electronic Signatures

 

Changes to Section of Manual
Section Effective Date Origin Change Form
5.8.1.1.1

5.8.4

3.13.19

6-2-2022

Payroll

VP for Finance and Administration

PPM change form 5.8.1.1.1

PPM Change 5.8.4