Other Laws and Legal Matters

Other Laws

There are a variety of U.S. laws and regulations related to the export and shipment of specific regulated materials, such as chemicals, biologics, genetic elements, and radioactive materials.  For example, the export of many biologics, toxins, and agricultural products require a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. programs for Disease Control and Prevention.   

New York and U.S. law requires colleges and universities to report annually gifts, grants, contracts, awards, endowments, and property of any kind that is received from non-U.S. sources and exceed certain thresholds. Under New York law, the reporting is triggered if a single source provides a gift, grant, or other arrangement whose value equals $100,000 (considered alone or in combination with other gifts or arrangements from that same source within a fiscal year). Under Federal law, U.S. institutions that receive a gift or enter into an arrangement with a “foreign source,” the value of which is $250,000 or more (also considered alone or in combination with other gifts or arrangements from the same source within a calendar year) must file a disclosure report.

Litigation, Proceedings and Governmental Inquiries

As soon as an overseas program becomes aware of any circumstances that could lead to litigation, threatened litigation, proceedings, or government inquiries that involve in any way the program or Columbia University, Columbia University’s Office of the General Counsel should be alerted.  In general, no action should be taken in response to any such litigation, proceeding, or inquiry without first obtaining guidance from the University’s Office of General Counsel.

In addition, if a crime is committed in any offices or facilities rented or otherwise under the University’s control outside the U.S., you should contact Columbia University’s Department of Public Safety.


Again, our goal for this guidance is to help you identify those circumstances when it is important to seek assistance from OGC and other central administration resources. The central university is ready and able to assist you with compliance issues, both in the U.S. and internationally, so that the burden of compliance is mitigated as much as practical, and faculty and staff can keep their focus on academic, research and service programs and not the minutiae of laws.

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