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What is the role of the Office of University Counsel?
The Office of University Counsel provides legal representation and counsel to Tufts University. Our attorneys advise members of the administration, faculty, and staff, in their official capacities, on a wide variety of issues involving the university, including litigation, employment and student issues, real estate, contracts, environmental issues, and government regulation. We view our role as facilitators, as well as advocates. Our goal is to enable our clients to achieve their objectives, while protecting the university from legal risks and liabilities, to the greatest extent possible.
How can I contact the Office of University Counsel?

Our offices are located on the third floor of Ballou Hall on the Medford/Somerville campus. We can be reached by email, phone (617-627-2147), or fax (617-627-3537).

Will my conversations with the lawyers be confidential?
Generally speaking, your conversations with us on matters involving university business will be privileged as to outside third parties, but will not be confidential as to other university officials.
I have been sued. Will the university represent me?
While this is determined on a case by case basis, if you have been sued in connection with your official duties as a university employee and you have acted lawfully and in good faith, you will likely be indemnified and defended by the university. “Official duties” include those duties and responsibilities that are part of the employee’s job description and authority.
I need legal help for a personal matter. Will the Office of University Counsel help me?

No. The Office of University Counsel does not represent employees for personal matters that do not affect the university’s legal rights.

The Lawyer Referral Service is a non-profit public service of the Boston Bar Association designed to provide you with an impartial referral to an attorney in your city or town who handles a specific kind of legal problem. For more information, call the Boston Bar Association at (617) 742-0625 or visit their website.

I have been asked to accept service of a complaint in connection with a lawsuit. What should I do?
Refuse to accept the papers and direct the individual to the Office of University Counsel. Unless you have expressly been appointed to do so, do not accept service of any legal documents on behalf of the university.
I have been served a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. What should I do?
If the matter involves your official duties or activities at the university, contact the Office of University Counsel at or 617-627-2147 as soon as possible. If the case involves a personal matter that is unrelated to university business, contact your personal attorney.
I have received a subpoena asking me to turn over University-related documents. What should I do?

Do not turn over any documents. Contact the Office of University Counsel at or 617-627-2147 immediately for assistance. We will work with you to determine the appropriate response. Here is additional information about the university’s policy on subpoenas for university records.

I received a letter requesting University records under the Freedom of Information Act. Do I have to turn over the records?
The Freedom of Information Act only applies to public institutions. Therefore, Tufts does not have to provide information requested under that statute. Nevertheless, you should immediately forward any letter requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act to the Office of University Counsel.
I want to distribute copies of an article to my class. Do I need to get permission from the copyright owner in advance?

Members of the Tufts community are expected to be mindful of the restrictions imposed on them by copyright law as well as the rights conferred on them by the fair use exemption to the copyright laws. For more information, please read the University’s Policy on Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials.

I think I have been the subject of discrimination. What should I do?

If you believe you have been the subject of unlawful discrimination, you should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at or 617-627-3298. 

How do I report fraudulent or illegal activity to you?

Any theft of physical assets should be reported to Tufts Police at 617-627-6911.
As a member of the Tufts community, you are expected to report any suspected fraud to the Director of Audit & Management Advisory Services (AMAS). If the suspected fraud is initially reported to a supervisor, chairperson, director, dean, vice president, or other responsible person, that person must forward the report to the Director of AMAS. Get more information.

How do I report scientific misconduct?

A complainant having a good faith belief that research or scientific misconduct at the University has occurred, or is occurring, can report it through the normal channels outlined in the university’s Policy on Scientific Misconduct. Alternatively, you can leave an anonymous message on the university’s 24-hour research misconduct hotline, located at the Office of the Vice Provost. The phone number is 617-636-2492.

Am I protected from retaliation?

It is the policy of Tufts University that any person is free to lawfully disclose whatever information supports a reasonable belief of suspected employee misconduct. The university is committed to protecting employees from interference when they make such disclosures.

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

Situations may exist where members of our community feel uncomfortable discussing such matters with their colleagues or supervisors. To assist with these particular situations, the University has an agreement with a 3rd party anonymous reporting provider, EthicsPoint, Inc, to maintain a Tufts University internet application and call center for individuals to report any concerns related to financial, regulatory, compliance, environmental health, and campus safety matters. You may access this service by clicking on the Tufts University Anonymous Reporting Hotline link. Access is also available by dialing toll-free 1-866-384-4277.

While anonymous reports can be helpful in exposing misconduct, without a witness who is willing to step forward, sometimes it will not be possible for the university to fully investigate a complaint.

Who can give me permission to use the university name and logo?
The Office of University Counsel will coordinate all requests for use of the Tufts name and insignias, which are trademarks of the university. The Office of University Counsel is located in Ballou Hall, Third Floor, Medford, MA 02155, 617-627-3337. The Senior Vice President for University Relations and General Counsel is responsible for making final decisions on use of the Tufts name and insignias, including the names of individual units of the university.