Section VII: Other Operational Matters

Subsection A. Legislative Affairs (Governmental Relations)

1. Policy

In furtherance of its role as the governance body for Northern Illinois University, the Board of Trustees is desirous of participating in those legislative matters affecting the university and Illinois higher education.

a. Review

Proposed or pending legislation shall be reviewed by the president and the president's staff.

b. Representation

No person shall take any position on behalf of the Board of Trustees in any legislation proposed or pending in the General Assembly without prior authorization of the Board of Trustees or the president.

c. Report

The president shall periodically report to the Board on the status of pending legislation.

Subsection B. Collective Bargaining

1. Policy

The Board of Trustees is the employer, as defined in the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, of all employees of Northern Illinois University. Only the Board may act with regard to the rights and responsibilities established by that Act. The Board may delegate authority to negotiate with employee organizations. No collective bargaining agreement shall be effective or implemented until approved by the Board of Trustees, signed by the Board chair or an authorized designee and signed by the employee organizations' authorized representative(s). Upon official certification by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, any substantive or procedural rights or privileges as set forth in any applicable provisions of the university system of shared governance shall immediately become subject to negotiation for positions and employees contained within the scope of exclusive representation pursuant to the certified bargaining unit description. Such rights and privileges shall not be maintained except to the extent negotiated and fully ratified within the scope of a collective bargaining agreement.

All notifications and correspondence required by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act shall be directed to the President's Office or designee.

a. Use of Facilities by Employee Organizations

Employee organizations as defined by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act shall have access to the campus facilities subject to such reasonable limitations necessary for orderly operation as established by the university. Employee organizations may use the campus mail service for the distribution of literature pursuant to Board Regulations and university policy and subject to the first priority use by U.S. mail and official university mail. Employee organizations may contact employees on campus at times when employees are not working but shall respect the request of any employee who does not desire to participate in or be exposed to such contact.

Subsection C. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Compliance

A. General

This statement of policy relates to administration and protection of certain protected health information coming into possession of individuals and business affiliates performing official functions on behalf of components of the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University. This policy statement is intended to facilitate and foster Board of Trustees and institutional compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"), Public Law 104‑191, including applicable amendments and related implementing regulations of responsible agencies, as may be applicable to a university of the State of Illinois.

B. University Privacy Officer

The President of Northern Illinois University shall designate an appropriately qualified member of the university staff to serve as University Privacy Officer to assist the President with responsibilities associated with interpreting and administering privacy standards for the University, including those for protected health information.

C. Delegation of Authority

As necessary and appropriate consistent with applicable law and regulations, the President of Northern Illinois University, or designee, is delegated authority to develop, adopt and arrange publication of appropriate internal procedures to maintain continuing compliance with applicable federal and state standards concerning matters related to privacy of information, including protected health information of students, employees and other individuals.

Concerning protected health information, administration of such procedures will require all university units that maintain or transmit such health information to utilize reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards:

  • 1. To ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the information;
  • 2. To protect against any reasonably anticipated
    • a. threats or hazards to the security or integrity of the information; and
    • b. unauthorized uses or disclosures of the information; and
  • 3. Otherwise to ensure compliance with applicable privacy law standards by the officers and employees of the Board of Trustees.

Subsection D. Legal Representation and Indemnification

1. Board Members, Employees and Students

The Board of Trustees shall provide legal representation and indemnification for a claim or action instituted against a Trustee, a former Trustee, an employee of the Board of Trustees, former employee, or estate of such person which is based upon damage or injury allegedly arising from an act or omission occurring within the scope of duties on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Upon timely request of the person or the person's estate, the Board shall determine the appropriateness of providing counsel for the defense of the claim or action and indemnification for actual costs incurred as a result of such claim or action. The Board of Trustees shall provide such defense and indemnification upon a determination that the individual has acted in good faith, without malice, and within the apparent scope of his or her authority. The Board of Trustees shall not provide indemnification for a claim or action which is the result of intentional or willful and wanton misconduct. Legal representation and indemnification is subject to the Representation and Indemnification of State Employees Act and other applicable laws.

Duly authorized volunteers shall be afforded indemnification protection consistent with this section and other applicable State law.

Subsection E. Legal Proceedings and Actions

1. Claims and Collection Actions

For legal matters involving (a) relatively routine collection matters or (b) forcible entry and detainer actions when any tenant of a university facility fails to abide by the terms of the lease due to nonpayment of rent or otherwise, instituted by the university involving less than $250,000, the Board of Trustees delegates authority to the president or appropriate designee to initiate and resolve proceedings on behalf of the Board of Trustees in appropriate courts or other suitable forums to enforce, collect or protect legal interests of the Board and the university. Where a cross-claim or counterclaim is raised in a collection case, the Board Chair shall be promptly consulted on the matter.

2. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and Interests

For legal matters involving the enforcement of the university’s intellectual property rights and interests, the Board of Trustees delegates authority to the president or appropriate designee to initiate and resolve proceedings on behalf of the Board of Trustees in appropriate courts or other suitable forums to enforce, collect or to protect the intellectual property rights and interests of the Board and the university.

When determining whether to initiate or resolve such legal proceedings, the president or designee shall appropriately consult with the university’s general counsel and the vice president who is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the university’s intellectual property portfolio. Additional consultations may be necessary depending upon the circumstances. The president (or designee) or general counsel shall provide the Board with notice that such legal proceedings have been initiated or resolved as soon as practical.

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