Legal Defense and Indemnification of Valencia Employees
FAQ: Under which circumstances may Valencia College provide legal defense and indemnify a member of the faculty or staff in the event of the filing of a lawsuit against a member of the faculty or staff?
In the daily course of business at Valencia College, the Office of Policy and General Counsel (and external legal counsel, under the supervision of the Office of Policy and General Counsel) represents the College and provides counsel in decision-making to the Board of Trustees, the President, Vice Presidents, Provosts, Deans and Directors, faculty, supervisors and other employees acting in their capacity as employees, and may not represent individual students, faculty, or staff except when these individuals are named as defendants in adversary proceedings as a result of actions or omissions within the course and scope of their employment or institutional representation. For personal legal advice, employees and students should consult a private attorney.
In the event a lawsuit is filed against the College and/or a member of its faculty and staff, Valencia's Policy 6Hx28:1-11 applies, stating:
"[i]n accordance with section 1012.85, F.S., whenever any civil action has been brought against any officer of the District Board of Trustees, including a District Board of Trustees member, or any person employed by or agent of the District Board of Trustees for any act or omission arising out of and in the course of the performance of his or her duties and responsibilities, the District Board of Trustees may defray all costs of defending such action, including reasonable attorney's fees and expenses together with costs of appeal, if any, and may save harmless and protect such person from any financial loss resulting there from.
However, any attorney's fees paid from public funds for any officer, employee, or agent who is found to be personally liable by virtue of acting outside the scope of his or her employment or acting in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property may be recovered by the College."
Therefore, Valencia College will indemnify an employee of the College against liability and associated costs if the conduct that is the subject of the claim or action occurred within the scope of the employee's duties and the employee was acting in good faith, without criminal or other willful misconduct, and in a manner the employee reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the College, and with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, the employee must have had no reasonable cause to believe the conduct was unlawful. Covered expenses may include defense costs and the payment of judgments, fines, penalties, settlements, and other expenses an employee would reasonably incur in connection with the defense of the claim or action.
Conversely, the College reserves the right to either withhold indemnification or require reimbursement of defense and investigative expenses if the claim arises from the employee's willful negligence or misconduct or results from the employee's action/inaction when acting outside the scope of his or her employment or acting in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property. These indemnification provisions do not apply in any action in which the College is the plaintiff, or moving party, or initiator of action against the person who might otherwise be eligible to receive indemnification from the College.
Political Activity: ACE Memorandum on Political Activities
(September 15, 2014)
The American Council on Education has released a memorandum on political campaign-related activities at colleges and universities. The educational memo summarizes federal restrictions on political activity and involvement at 501(c)(3) institutions and offers “do’s” and “don’ts” based on these restrictions.
2016 Florida Legislative Session: Update on Pending Firearms Bills January 12, 2016
Sexual Misconduct Articles
Sexual Misconduct: American Council on Education Comments on the Campus Accountability and Safety Act
(September 9, 2014)
Letter from the American Council on Education (ACE) to Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) regarding the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) (S. 2692). ACE states that it "strongly support[s]" many of the concepts embodied in the legislation but points to certain provisions that should be altered to reinforce effective implementation and to promote a safe campus environment. Specific provisions addressed include those mandating confidential advisors, climate surveys, memoranda of understanding with law enforcement agencies, Title IX training for responsible employees, and new Clery reporting requirements. The letter also calls upon Congress to resolve ambiguities and conflicts between Title IX and the Clery Act and to require the Department of Education to engage in extensive outreach with all stakeholders before implementing new policies that address campus sexual misconduct.
Sexual Misconduct: Letter from the American Council on Education (ACE) on Campus Efforts to Address
(July 1, 2014)
Letter from the American Council on Education (ACE) to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) regarding sexual assault on campus. The letter describes the efforts of colleges and universities to address the problem and details certain difficulties that institutions are facing in light of the policies and procedures issued by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. ACE concludes its letter by providing six recommended steps for Congress to take that would assist institutions in reducing incidents of sexual assault and facilitating institutional responses to reports of such incidents.
Sexual Assault: First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault
(April 29, 2014)
Report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault providing recommendations and action steps intended to combat sexual assault on college and university campuses. The Report's recommendations focus on four action steps: 1) identifying the problem and its extent on campuses, 2) preventing campus sexual assault, 3) responding effectively to student victims, and 4) rendering the federal government's enforcement efforts more effectual and transparent. The Report includes policy recommendations and resources to better execute the action steps.
Sexual Assault: OCR Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence
(April 29, 2014)
Toward a Smoke Free Valencia
Valencia is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, employees and visitors. In recent years, we have made improvements toward healthier campuses with the implementation of LEED-certified buildings, employee wellness programs and recycling efforts. Smoke-free campuses will further promote the health, safety and well-being of members of the Valencia community by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke on Valencia campuses.
In taking this step, Valencia joins the University of Florida, Edison State College and many other colleges and universities in Florida and around the country in providing for healthier academic environments. Valencia's work plan in crafting this policy, including a list of those who worked on this initiative, can be found here.
To connect to related resources, including help for those who may want to quit smoking, please visit the following links:
- Valencia's Current Policy: Smoking Regulations - Policy: 6Hx28:10-05
- Colleges and Universities with Policies: U.S. Colleges and Universities with Smokefree Air Policies
- Valencia Wellness
Your thoughts and ideas about this important new initiative are critical to implementing a successful policy. Please email us at smokefree@Valenciacollege.edu and let us know what you think.
Notification of Social Security Number Collection and Usage
In compliance with FL Statute 119.071(5), this document serves to notify you of the purpose for the collection and usage of your Social Security Number (SSN). Valencia Community College (Valencia) collects and uses your SSN only for the following purposes in performance of the College's duties and responsibilities. To protect your identity, Valencia will secure your SSN from unauthorized access, strictly prohibits the release of your SSN to unauthorized parties contrary to state and federal law, and assigns you a unique student/employee identification number. This unique ID number is used for all associated employment and educational purposes at Valencia.
Your SSN is used for legitimate business purposes for completing and processing the following:
- Federal I-9 (Department of Homeland Security)
- Federal W4, W2, 1099 (Internal Revenue Service)
- Federal Social Security taxes (FICA)
- Distributing Federal W2 (Internal Revenue Service)
- Unemployment Reports (FL Dept of Revenue)
- Florida Retirement Contribution reports (FL Dept of Revenue)
- Workers Comp Claims (FCCRMC and Department of Labor)
- Direct Deposit Files
- 403b contribution reports
- Group health, life and dental coverage enrollment
- Supplemental insurance deduction reports
- Work study work assignments
- Background checks
Providing your Social Security Card is a condition of employment at Valencia.
Federal legislation relating to the Hope Tax Credit requires that all postsecondary institutions report student SSN's to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This IRS requirement makes it necessary for community colleges to collect the SSN of every student. A student may refuse to disclose his or her SSN to the College for this purpose, but the IRS is then authorized to fine the student in the amount of $50.00.
In addition to the federal reporting requirements, the public school system in Florida uses SSN's as a student identifier (section 1008.386, F.S.). In a seamless K-20 system, it is beneficial for postsecondary institutions to have access to the same information for purposes of tracking and assisting students in the smooth transition form one education level to the next.
A student's SSN is required for the following financial aid purposes: The United States Department of Education's (USDOE) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires all applicants to report their SSN to be used for all federal financial aid programs as a student identifier for processing and reporting. In addition to its use by USDOE as a student identifier, the SSN is required in order for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate citizenship status, for the Federal Work Study Program, and is required on all loan applications for use by the lender/servicer/guarantor.
Valencia collects a student's SSN on certain institutional scholarship applications for student files and federal and state audit/reporting purposes.
If you are a recipient of a State of Florida grant or scholarship such as the Florida Student Assistance Grant, Florida Work Experience or Bright Futures the State of Florida Department of Education will require the use of the SSN on their grant/scholarship disbursement website and for reporting purposes.
Student, faculty, and staff Valencia ID (VID) number will be used in the libraries' patron database (LINCC) for online login authentication, patron verification, and the elimination of duplicate records.
The Bridges and College Reach-Out Programs are youth outreach (intervention) projects funded by discretionary grants from the US or FL Departments of Education. In order to verify a participant's project eligibility, social security numbers are required and also later used when submitting information for the Annual Performance Reports due to the US or FL Departments of Education.
These programs, funded through the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI), use your SSN as an identifier for program enrollment and completion. Also, it is used for entering placement information into either the OSMIS or the Employ Florida Marketplace statewide data collection and reporting system. Because these are performance based contract programs, AWI requires that all participants and their program related activities be recorded in the Florida state system.
Valencia collects contractor SSN information in order to file the required information returns with the Internal Revenue Service, as required and authorized by federal law.