The University is a state-created public institution of higher education. As an instrumentality of the great State of Missouri, the University has sovereign immunity under Article 6, Section 26(a) of the Missouri Constitution and the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. That's a great thing for us to have, but other parties that may not be used to dealing with governmental entities often find this confusing. Under Missouri law, we do not have the authority to waive our sovereign immunity. We are also governed by a number of other laws and regulations, both state and federal. The University is fortunate to have broad authority to enter into contracts; but our authority is not without limits.
As a governmental entity, we are subject to a number of federal and state requirements with respect to open records and meetings. Some contracts have confidentiality provisions which must be modified to allow for disclosures we may be required by law to make.
Conflict of Interest:
The University has regulations, both internal and externally imposed, about how we must conduct business to minimize and manage conflicts of interest. When the University proposes to enter into a contract with an employee or with an entity in which an employee has a direct or indirect financial interest, a disclosure must be made by the employee, reviewed by the Conflict of Interest Committee and its determination filed in a public registry for not less than ten days prior to the contract being executed.
The University's Office of Environmental Health and Safety oversees compliance with a wide variety of environmental laws and regulations, including but not limited to asbestos, air emissions, biological safety, chemical safety, fire safety, food safety, hazardous materials, radiation safety, water safety (drinking and storm water), and workplace safety.
Federal laws regulate the distribution of strategically important products, services and information to foreign nationals or foreign countries. See the link above for more information, including a link to the decision tree to determine whether an export license is needed. License applications require considerable time and effort and processing can take months to complete.
The University's Institutional Review Board reviews and coordinates activities involving human subject research to ensure the integrity of human subject protection and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If your activity includes research with human subjects, IRB approval or waiver must be confirmed before your contract can be signed.
As a governmental entity, the University is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. That is a good thing for us, but difficult for other non-governmental entities to understand. We do not have the ability to waive our sovereign immunity. Most agreements include indemnity or hold harmless provisions which have to be modified.
The University has a responsibility to keep its IT systems and information assets secure and to comply with various regulatory requirements regarding security and privacy of data. Contracts for IT-related services must reviewed by IT to ensure security requirements are met.
The University has certain requirements (which vary by risk) that must be incorporated into contracts and cannot be waived without approval from UM Risk & Insurance Management.
Vertebrate Animal Use:
The Animal Care Quality Assurance Office ensures the humane care and use of animals in research and teaching and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.