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Overview of Legal and Compliance

Global programs or projects may be subject to laws both in the U.S. and in the host country. A number of U.S. laws govern a U.S. organization’s conduct in a foreign country, prohibit discrimination or impose reporting and compliance requirements. Relevant laws and compliance requirements can also vary greatly by country. The Office of University Counsel can provide advice and can recommend when outside counsel may need to be engaged.

Legal and Compliance Topics

If you are traveling outside the country, sending items overseas, inviting a visiting scholar to your lab on campus, or engaging in related activities, then export control regulations likely apply to you. Export controls are federal laws that govern the transfer of items, materials, equipment, commodities, biologics, software, encryption and/or technical information to foreign nationals, wherever located. Many University activities fall under these very comprehensive regulations, and violations of these laws carry both individual liability and hefty penalties.

The UNC Export Compliance Office is here to help UNC faculty, staff, students, and other personnel navigate through U.S. export controls. The Export Compliance Office is committed to supporting the University’s global mission, as well as our extraordinary foreign national population on campus.


UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to acting ethically and in compliance with applicable laws at all times, including anti-corruption laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and laws in the jurisdictions in which the University operates.

The FCPA generally prohibits providing anything of value to foreign officials to (i) influence the official in his or her official capacity; (ii) induce the official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her duty; or (iii) secure an improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business (collectively, “Prohibited Purposes”).

The term “foreign official” is broadly defined to include any officer, employee or agent of a foreign government or any department, agency or instrumentality thereof (for example, a public university, a state‑run education or health care facility, government-owned or controlled enterprise). Interactions with family members of, and others closely associated with, foreign officials are subject to the same restrictions.

“Anything of value” could include modest gifts, meals and travel; the FCPA contains no dollar amount threshold beneath which payments or gifts for Prohibited Purposes are permitted.

Payments to foreign officials that are not for Prohibited Purposes could be allowed if payments are for routine government actions or for reasonable and bona fide expenditures. If you have any questions about whether your proposed provision of a payment to a foreign individual may be subject to the FCPA, please seek guidance from the Office of University Counsel.

For more information on the FCPA, please consult the U.S. Department of Justice overview of the statute or the more detailed guide provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Office of University Counsel

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998, commonly referred to as the Clery Act, stipulates that in order for an institution of higher learning to receive federal financial aid, it must report statistics for specific crimes that occur over a three year period on its campuses and those properties (both University-owned and public) that are adjacent to its campuses.

Certain University property abroad is subject to the Clery Act’s reporting requirements. If you are a Campus Security Authority (CSA), you need to submit Clery reports for Clery reportable incidents you become aware of, regardless of whether the incident occurs on the Chapel Hill campus or an international location. Clery crimes include murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, arson and hate crimes.

To learn more about the Clery Act, visit the UNC Police website.

Title IX is a portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities operated by recipients of federal financial assistance. Harassment on the basis of sex and sexual violence are prohibited by Title IX.

Employees who are Responsible Employees under Title IX must share any reported violation of Title IX, including but not limited to sex discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence/assault, with the University’s Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office, Title IX Compliance Coordinator or other designated school personnel as defined by University policy. You can also report an incident online.

View the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct (including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking). Additional information about Title IX is also available on the Equal Opportunity and Compliance office website.


Adrienne Allison
Director of Title IX Compliance

Sarah Schtakleff
Associate Counsel, Office of University Counsel