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Waiver of Liability

woman rock climbing

UC Waiver of Liability

The UC Waiver of Liability is designed to protect the University and its employees from legal liability for injuries that may occur to students or other individuals who participate in certain UC-sponsored activities on and off campus. The law regards a waiver of liability, signed prior to participation in a voluntary activity, as a legally binding agreement by which the participant agrees that the sponsor of an activity, e.g. the University and its employees, cannot be held liable for any harm or injury that the participant suffers.

When Waivers are Required

The University requires the use of waivers when departments sponsor activities that are inherently risky and not essential to the execution of the University’s primary mission of teaching, research, and public service (see UC Waiver Matrix). In general departments should use waivers when they sponsor activities that involve physical activities (hiking, dancing, performing, rock-climbing, etc.), extracurricular activities, off-campus travel, and/or minors. Waivers are primarily legal tools that limit the University’s exposure to claims and lawsuits when people voluntarily participate in activities which may involve an element of risk but they also serve an educational purpose by making people think about the potential risks of an activity. Departments that do not use waivers when they are required to may have to contribute to the settlement of any claims or lawsuits that could have otherwise been avoided if the waiver had been used.

How Waivers Must Be Used

Waiver forms must be used in the exact format provided. They cannot be reduced to fine print or re-worded. NOTE: The department that is sponsoring the activity which requires the waiver must insert the appropriate information in the waiver’s blank spaces before the participant signs it. Anyone who refuses to sign a waiver prior to an activity that requires a waiver may not participate in the activity. Participants may not alter or delete any language in the waiver.

Minors cannot sign waivers. A parent or legal guardian must sign the waiver of any participant under the age of 18. Employees acting in the course and scope of employment do not need to sign waivers. However, if an employee is voluntarily participating in an activity unrelated to their employment, they must sign a waiver like everyone else. Spouses, children, or friends joining employees on field trips must sign waivers. In general, students do not need to sign waivers when doing course work required by a class in which they are enrolled. Exceptions include off-campus field trips and off-campus study (see UC Waiver Matrix). Students participating in non-course related activities, must sign a waiver.

Departments that sponsor activities that require the use of a waiver must retain those signed by adults for three years following the conclusion of the activities. Those signed by a parent/guardian on behalf of a minor must be retained for 3 years after the minor turns 18. Waivers may be preserved electronically after the activity ends, although if the waiver has been used to respond to a claim, the department must retain the original waiver.

Types of Waivers

If you're not sure which waiver to use, contact campus Risk Management at 805.893.5837.