Policy on Contract Approval
- Policy Category and Number: Executive
- Effective Date: 4/26/2023
- Responsible Officer: Director of Compliance and Risk Management
- History: Contract Approval Policy, 2017
- Responsible Office: Office of the General Counsel
- Location: wit.edu/about/policies/contract-approval
This policy is intended to ensure any commitment of Wentworth Institute of Technology (the university) resources and all related agreements are properly reviewed and approved.
All employees, students, and agents of the university.
This document describes the legal review requirements for contracts intending to bind the university, the required reviews by the initiating departments, and outlines the signature authorities for contracts within the university.
Only authorized university signatories have the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the university. Individuals who do not have authority to sign contracts but who proceed to do so, in violation of this policy, may be held personally responsible for the performance, financial, and other legal obligations contained in those contracts.
Authorized University Signatories
University employees who have the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the university.
As stated in the University By-Laws, the President has the authority to sign all documents on behalf of the university and the Board of Trustees. Additionally, the President has designated the Vice President of Finance and the General Counsel, the authority to sign all forms of contracts arising out of the normal business operations of the university. In limited cases, the President, General Counsel, or the Vice President of Finance may delegate contract signature authority to other designees as long as such delegation is in writing, dated, and signed by the delegating official.
Any agreement, whether labeled “contract” or not, between two or more persons, or entities (e.g. corporations, partnerships, businesses, agencies, etc.) that creates a legally binding obligation to do, or not to do a particular thing. A contract may or may not involve the payment of money.
All contracts must be in writing. Examples may include, but are not limited to: academic agreements; articulation agreements; affiliation agreements; business agreements; construction agreements; exchange agreements; joint ventures; memoranda of understanding/agreement; cooperation agreements; partnerships; employment agreements; separation agreements; independent contractor agreements; statements of work; purchase orders; purchase agreements; service agreements; riders or addenda to existing contracts; gift agreements, waivers; non-disclosure agreements; certifications; research agreements; promises to pay; promissory notes; settlement agreements; material transfer agreements; investment agreements; leases; license agreements; professional service agreements; rental agreements (both ways); statements of work; deeds; and vendor agreements.
The individual who is primarily responsible for the subject matter of a contract. They are typically the individual, or supervisor of the individual, directly working with the representative of the other party to a contract. The Contract Initiator assumes responsibility for the contract and as such, must have the appropriate authority, directly or as has been delegated, to make the commitments established in the contract.
Preliminary Contract Review by Contract Initiator
- Contract Initiators are responsible for conducting a preliminary review of proposed contracts, including any terms and conditions located at links identified in the body of the contract or order form.
- Contracts involving purchases must also follow all other appropriate policies and procedures.
Review and Approval of Contracts
- Contracts will not be reviewed unless they are accompanied by a completed and signed Contract Review Form.
- Unless otherwise noted, all contracts must be sent to the Director of Compliance and Risk Management for review prior to signatures by an authorized university signatory.
- Contracts must be submitted for review no later than two (2) weeks prior to an event.
- Contracts between student organization or residence hall facilities and outside entities must be submitted by an employee.
- Contracts must be fully executed prior to any work under the contract. This includes advertising of events prior to a signed contract.
- Only authorized university signatories shall execute a contract that binds the university.
- Employees and students who sign contracts without proper authority, may be subject to discipline. Additionally, they may be subject to legal risk.
- Purchase orders shall continue to be authorized within existing procedures.
- The Board of Trustees or the President may grant specific exclusions to this policy, provided that the exclusions are in writing.
Additional Information & Related Documents
Interpretation & Revision
Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Director of Compliance and Risk Management. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy.
This policy shall be reviewed every three years; however, editorial, and non-substantive changes and updates can be made at any time.
The university will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy.
Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.
Review and Revision History
This policy was drafted and reviewed by representatives from Compliance and Risk Management and Purchasing. It was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on April 26, 2023.
This policy replaces the Contract Approval Policy, 2017.