5.25 Use of Electronic Signatures

Board Policies
Chapter 5 - Administration

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Part 1. Policy Statement. This policy authorizes colleges, universities, and the system office to use electronic signatures to conduct official business, to the extent such use meets the requirements of Minn. Stat. Ch. 325L  and other applicable law, board policy, and system procedure.

Part 2. Definitions. Terms used in this policy or in system procedure shall be interpreted consistent with Minn. Stat. Ch. 325L and other applicable law

Subpart A. Authentication. Authentication means the process used to ascertain the identity of a person or the integrity of specific information. Authentication ensures that the user applying an electronic signature is in fact who they say they are and is authorized to sign.

Subpart B. Digital signature. Digital signature means a type of electronic signature produced by two mathematically linked cryptographic keys, a private key used to sign, and a public key used to validate the signature. A digital signature is created when a person uses his or her private key to create a unique mark (called a “signed hash”) on an electronic document.

Subpart C. Digitized signature. Digitized signature means a graphic image of a handwritten signature in any form, including facsimile.

Subpart D. Electronic signature. Electronic signature means a digital or digitized signature made by electronic sound, symbol or process that is attached to or logically associated with a record and that is executed or adopted with the intent to sign the record.

Subpart E. Electronic record. Electronic record means any record that is created, received, maintained, and/or stored through electronic means, regardless of the method used to create that record. Examples of electronic records include, but are not limited to, electronic mail, word processing documents, spreadsheets, and databases.

Part 3. Methodology to Reflect Level of Risk. Prior to approving use of electronic signatures for any transaction category, a college, university, or the system office shall ensure that applicable legal requirements are met and that any operational risk is offset by the anticipated benefit, consistent with system procedure.

System procedure may provide for various methodologies, such as use of digital or digitized signatures, depending on the risks associated with the particular transaction, including fraud, repudiation, and financial loss. The quality and security of the electronic signature method must be commensurate with the risk and needed assurance of the authenticity of the signer, including whether to require a digital or digitized signature.

Part 4. Authority and Responsibilities.

Subpart A. Procedures. The chancellor shall adopt system procedures to implement this policy, meet all applicable legal requirements, and ensure practical and secure application of electronic signatures.

Subpart B. Delegated authority. Nothing in this policy is intended to authorize any individual to sign on behalf of the Board if he or she has not been granted such authority in accordance with board policy and system procedure.

Subpart C. Use of other formats. This policy shall not be construed to require use of electronic signatures by a college, university, or the system office, or to limit the right of a college, university, or system office to conduct official business on paper or in non-electronic form, or to affect the right of a college, university, or system office to have documents provided or made available on paper.

Subpart D. Maintenance of electronic records. Colleges, universities, or the system office may maintain official records in an electronic format provided that the relevant record retention schedule is updated to reflect electronic record management and the college, university or system office has determined that the electronic records are trustworthy, complete, accessible, and durable.

Part 5. Sanctions.

Employees or students who falsify or misuse electronic signatures for college, university or system office transactions are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion, and civil and criminal remedies.

Related Documents:

Policy History:

Date of Adoption: 11/18/14,
Date of Implementation: 3/1/15,

Date & Subject of Revisions:


There is no additional HISTORY for policy 5.25.