80  Export Control

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Responsible Officer: University Export Compliance Officer

I. Purpose

A.  It is the intent of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) to fully comply with federal regulations that control the conditions under which certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas to anyone, including U.S. citizens, or to a foreign national on U.S. soil.

B.  It is the responsibility of the faculty, staff, and administrators involved in restricted research, international collaborations, and foreign exchanges that risk export or violation of the regulations, to comply with the provisions of any license (or other governmental approval), policy, procedure, or Technology Control Plan (TCP).

II. Scope

A.  It is unlawful to send or take export controlled information out of the U.S. or to disclose or transfer, either orally or visually, export controlled information to a foreign person inside or outside the U.S., without proper authorization from the federal government. Under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), a license may be required for foreign nationals to access export controlled information. A foreign national is a person who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien of the U.S. The laws make no exceptions for international graduate/undergraduate students.

B.  Export regulations apply not only to federally funded research, but to the performance of industry contracts, travel, and other research involving export controlled information or material.

C.  Federal export controls are accomplished primarily through:

1.  The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) implemented by the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, for inherently military items.

2.  The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, for dual use of items that have both a commercial and potential military use.

3.  Regulations of the Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) relating to the transfer of technology or assistance to sanctioned countries or their citizens.

III. Overview

A.   Members of the University community should understand and must identify any potential export limitations before engaging in any activity that involves an export. The following are a few examples that trigger export controls:

1.  Where foreign persons will participate in research;

2.  Where MTSU will partner with a foreign company;

3.  Where MTSU hosts foreign visiting scholars for the purpose of research that involves certain specified technologies subject to export controls;

4.  Where MTSU has international graduate/undergraduate students;

5.  Where equipment needed for experiments or research abroad will be exported (i.e., shipped or accompanying the researcher/faculty member), including, for example, laptops, GPS equipment, and other hand-held mobile devices, etc., or any device that contains encrypted software.

B.  Many University activities are eligible for one of the EAR, ITAR, or OFAC exclusions, meaning that no license will be required. However, when a research or educational activity involves an export, MTSU must document its analysis of export control issues, including the availability of any exclusion or exemption.

C.  The export control analysis should be undertaken with the assistance of the Office of the Export Compliance Officer, which has been delegated University-wide authority in this area. The Export Compliance Officer is responsible for development of the TCP, which provides the ways in which MTSU safeguards its technology. It is important to note that if a license will be required, this analysis must be done prior to engaging, or agreeing to engage, in the activity because the process for obtaining U.S. government approval is lengthy.   

D.  If anyone employed by, acting on behalf of, or associated with the University receives information identified as export-controlled, the information may not be disclosed to any foreign national until the export control analysis has been completed to determine licensing requirements. In addition, if an anticipated MTSU research or educational activity involves a country subject to U.S. government sanctions, the faculty member or researcher will also need to consult the Export Compliance Officer and Office of the University Counsel before entering into any negotiations or agreements involving, or before traveling to, such countries.

IV. Training

A. The members of the University community, including contracting officers and grant officers who review research proposals, administrative assistants working for faculty, researchers who handle export controlled information or work with foreign contract sponsors, faculty conducting research on campus for a foreign sponsor, faculty who travel abroad for University business and/or take University equipment and information abroad (such as a laptop, software, research), information technology staff who manage computer content or resources for foreign employees, employees traveling abroad, and human resources staff who process foreign employees or visitors to the campus should be required to have basic training on export controls.

B.  The Export Compliance Officer is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate training is made available for the individuals listed above, and that these individuals complete this training in a manner which can be documented.

V. Violation and Penalties

A.  In the event of a violation of U.S. Export Control Law, both the University and the individuals involved in the violation may be liable. The exporter and the individual employees involved may be subject to severe administrative and civil sanctions as well as criminal penalties.

B. Members of the University community must understand their obligations under ITAR, EAR, and OFAC regulations, and promote compliance with these regulations. Criminal and civil penalties for unlawful export and disclosure of information in violation of U.S. Export Control Laws may be assessed against individuals and institutions and may include the following:

1.  ITAR: Criminal violations can incur penalties up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) per violation and ten (10) years imprisonment for individual willful violations. Civil penalties imposed upon departments, agencies, and officials can incur penalties up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) per violation. A university found to be in violation of ITAR regulations can be debarred from contracting with the government and could lose its export privilege.

2.  EAR: Criminal violations by a university can incur penalties up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) for each willful violation. For individuals, these violations can incur penalties up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) or twenty (20) years imprisonment, or both, per violation. Civil violations for both the university and individuals can incur penalties up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) per violation, or two (2) times the value of the export, whichever is greater. These violations can also result in a denial of export privileges as well as other potential collateral penalties.

3.  OFAC: Penalties will depend upon the sanctioned regime in question. Criminal violations by the university can incur penalties up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00); criminal violations for individuals can incur penalties up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) or twenty (20) years in prison, or both. Civil penalties can be imposed up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) per violation, or two (2) times the transaction in question, or both.

C.  The University will assist any member of the University community in complying with export control laws, including pursuing licenses from U.S. government agencies, where appropriate. However, the primary responsibility rests with the faculty/staff member and/or researcher, as the individual most informed about the contemplated project.

VI. Export Control Compliance Procedures

A.  A guidance document is available on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs website and is intended for members of the University community to promote understanding of export control regulations and the procedures designed to promote University compliance. It provides detailed explanations of the export control regulations and their legal limitations, and provides examples of export triggers and export controlled activities.

B.  Faculty/staff members and/or researchers should contact the Export Compliance Officer for assistance or if any additional information is required regarding possible export control issues.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: November 2020.

References:  22 C.F.R. §§ 120-130 (ITAR); 15 C.F.R. §§ 730-774 (EAR).