Policy B6
Policy Name: Accepting Service of Legal Papers including Subpoenas and Responding to Legal Papers (On College Business)
Responsibility for Maintenance: Office of the President

Date of most recent changes: May 5, 2011

I. Policy Statement  

Any Onondaga Community College employee who is served with or otherwise receives Legal Papers on behalf of the College (as defined in Part VI) shall process or respond to the Legal Papers in accordance with this policy.

II. Reason for Policy  

This policy is designed to ensure that the College will respond to Legal Papers in an efficient manner consistent with the College’s best interests and applicable law.

III. Applicability of the Policy  

All employees of the College should be familiar with this policy.

IV. Related Documents  

  • New York Civil Practice Law and Rules
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

V. Contacts  

Subject

Office Name

Title or Position

Telephone Number

Email/URL

Legal Papers

Office of the President

Assistant to the General Counsel

(315) 498-2214

hartj@sunyocc.edu  

VI. Definitions  

Term

Definition

Legal Papers

The term "Legal Papers" includes any document or other correspondence that requires the College or its employees to respond or potentially incur legal sanctions on behalf of the College. Examples include legal complaints or petitions, answers or other materials relating to litigation; subpoenas for documents or testimony including subpoenas for student education records ; notices of court proceedings or hearings; notices of administrative proceedings or hearings; court orders; notices of deposition; requests for documents; orders to show cause; garnishments; mechanics’ liens; restraining orders; or notices from governmental authorities.

VII. Procedures  

Only the following Onondaga Community College employees are authorized to accept Legal Papers on behalf of the College:

  • President of the College
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • General Counsel
  • President’s Designee

In addition, an employee of the College who is specifically named in Legal Papers may accept the Legal Papers.

An authorized recipient of Legal Papers must immediately forward the Legal Papers, including the envelope in which they were delivered, if applicable, together with a statement indicating the time, date, and individual who served the papers and manner of delivery of the papers, to the Office of the President. All members of the College who are not authorized to accept Legal Papers in accordance with this policy must refuse to accept Legal Papers on behalf of the College and should direct anyone attempting to serve papers to one of the above-listed authorized recipients. In the event that the individual serving Legal Papers insists on leaving the papers with someone other than the above-listed authorized recipients, or if a member of the College community receives Legal Papers via email, regular mail, or another method other than personal service, the recipient must immediately deliver the Legal Papers, including the envelope in which they were delivered, if applicable), together with a statement indicating the time, date and manner of delivery of the papers, to the Office of the President. Upon receipt of Legal Papers in accordance with this policy, the Office of the President shall take such actions as are necessary to ensure an appropriate and timely response. Such steps may include, but are necessarily limited to, response by the General Counsel, coordinating with Onondaga County Attorney’s Office, delegating to appropriate College employees responsibility for responding to the Legal Papers, and/or retaining outside experts or consultants to assist in generating a response.

Subpoenas for Student Records  

Onondaga Community College maintains detailed and confidential information regarding students. Onondaga often receives subpoenas requiring the timely production of records or information pertaining to specific students involved in potential or ongoing litigation.

Pursuant to the College’s Policy on Accepting Service of Legal Papers and Responding to Legal Papers, the only employees authorized to accept service of a subpoena is the President of the College, the Chief Financial Officer, the General Counsel, and the President’s designee. Additionally, the Office of Registration and Records may accept service of a subpoena for student records. If the College receives a subpoena via the mail or fax, the General Counsel must be notified immediately. The original copy of the subpoena and all attached documents must be hand delivered, on the day of receipt to the Office of the President for review to ensure that the subpoena is proper and meets legal requirements.

The Office of Certification and Records will be contacted immediately after it is ascertained whether the subpoena is valid. In the case of a subpoena that can be disclosed to a student, the Office of Certification and Records will contact the student and give the student the opportunity to quash the subpoena.

Notice to the Student  

A reasonable effort to notify the student who is the subject of the subpoena must be made before any records are produced. The institution’s obligation is limited to at most notifying the student. It is the student’s responsibility to fight the order or subpoena. An exception to this rule is made when the records are subpoenaed through a criminal grand jury proceeding or in situations where a subpoena is accompanied by a court order instructing the College NOT to disclose the subpoena to the student. In those cases no notice will be given to the student. Notification to the student should explain that the student has the right to take appropriate legal action to prevent the College complying with the subpoena and that, in the absence of such action by the student, within the determined time frame, the College will disclose the requested documents. If a student is able to quash a subpoena, the College is prohibited from disclosing the records.

If the student has signed a release/consent prior to a subpoena being issued, the notification requirement is waived. A student’s consent must be in writing, signed, dated and include the following information:

1. Description of the specific records to be disclosed;

2. Purpose or purposes of the disclosure;

3. Party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.

Retention of Records  

The Office of Registration and Records will keep copies of the answers and a listing of records produced, along with the student notification letter and responsive cover letter. These files will be maintained according to the College retention policies. FERPA specifically states that student record subpoena responses must remain with the student record for as long as the student records are normally maintained.


 

Approved by OCC Board of Trustees April 3, 2006

Updated and approved by the President January 25, 2010

Updated and approved by the President May 5, 2011