The University of Alabama

Reminder: Only Authorized Personnel Should Sign Contracts

The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama directs that only certain designated persons on each campus of the System are authorized to sign contracts and other documents on its behalf.

All contracts of The University of Alabama are technically in the name of the board of trustees because the University is not a separate legal entity capable of entering into contracts in its own name.

Therefore, all University contracts must be signed only by those persons authorized by board of trustee resolution to do so. Those persons are limited in number and include the president, certain vice presidents, and a few additional persons in financial affairs and sponsored programs. Deans, directors, department chairs and persons in similar positions, and their staffs, do not have authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University. A University employee without actual signature authority who nevertheless signs a contract obligating the University can be held personally liable for obligations incurred under the terms of the contract, including the payment of money.

In addition, a person who has been directed not to sign contracts but who continues to do so may be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. Signature authority is limited for reasons related to financial accounting, control of funds, and thorough and consistent review of contract terms.

University employees should be mindful of the board of trustee mandate and take steps to ensure it is followed.