Chancellor's Memo on Export Control

Date: November 1, 2012

To:  UMass Amherst Faculty and Staff

From:  Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor

Subject:  Export Controls

U.S. laws and regulations that govern exports or access to certain information, technologies or financial services by foreign persons inside the U.S. have received increased attention recently, and have affected programs at all major research universities.  I am writing to you with information on our campus policies and procedures in this area.

First, I want to emphasize that it is the policy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to comply fully with U.S. export control and trade sanctions laws and regulations.  These laws and regulations are currently administered by three Federal agencies, the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury.  For current information, see Department of Commerce (EAR): Department of State (ITAR): Department of Treasury (OFAC):

Because these laws and regulations involve many aspects of our enterprise and are receiving increased attention by the federal government, I have appointed an Oversight Committee for Export Control Compliance (OCECC) with the membership listed below.   

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, James V. Staros

Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement, Michael F. Malone (OCECC Chair)

Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance, James P. Sheehan

Chief Information Officer, John F. Dubach


The OCECC oversees export controls and trade sanctions compliance for the campus.  The OCECC will work this semester to add additional members and faculty representation to implement new procedures for record keeping, etc. in order to document and ensure our continued compliance with these laws and regulations. 


It is also the mission and policy of University of Massachusetts Amherst to conduct instruction and research openly and without prohibitions on the dissemination of learning or research results.  As a result, in most instances the requirements of U.S. export control laws can be satisfied through reliance on available exclusions, such as exclusions for educational information, and information that is publicly available or in the public domain.

Chief among these are the fundamental research exclusions (FRE) under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  Fundamental research is basic or applied research in science and engineering, the results of which are ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community.  Restrictions on the publication of research results and personnel access restrictions can invalidate the fundamental research exclusion. 

It is important to understand that the FRE does not provide exclusion for the physical export of goods or materials (even where FRE applies to the research). Export controls may also apply to the disclosure of certain kinds of information or technology to foreign nationals inside the United States because these are “deemed exports” under the regulations.  An export license may be required before initiating these activities.  

The University of Massachusetts Amherst demands strict compliance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations governing transactions with embargoed countries and prohibited entities and individuals.  These regulations can be of concern, e.g., while on foreign travel, or in financial transactions with foreign persons. A license from OFAC may be required for certain transactions.

The Office of Research & Engagement will facilitate legal advice and a license application if one is necessary for your university activities; note that this is the only authorized means to apply for a license.

You are responsible for securing your research and technology, chemicals and biological materials that you handle, and proprietary and Government articles or information entrusted to you against unauthorized use or theft.  You are also responsible for screening any potential foreign research collaborator and foreign visitor against “Lists to Check” at the links above to ensure that person is not embargoed or sanctioned and to ensure that the proposed end use is appropriate. 

Faculty, administrators, and staff are expected to contact the OCECC should they have any questions about the application of U.S. export controls or trade sanctions to their research or other activities.  Faculty, administrators, and staff should report any potential violations to the OCECC.

I want to emphasize that significant civil penalties can apply even to accidental or innocent violations, while willful and knowing violation of ITAR, EAR, or OFAC is a criminal offense. Finally, let me point out that there is some progress in reducing the burden of these laws and regulations, as described in the attachment from APLU.

I am confident that the OCECC will ensure the maximum freedom of inquiry for faculty, students and staff within the constraints imposed by these laws and regulations. Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

CGA NEWS (9-3-10)

To:     CGA

From:   APLU Congressional and Governmental Affairs Staff

*             Administration Revises Export Control Policy


In a statement released earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced that it plans a number of major policy changes with respect to export controls.  Long sought by the academic and research communities, the revisions are an attempt to provide a more consistent and coherent set of policies and guidelines on this complex issue.

Currently, the lists of technologies and access to items that are “controlled” are maintained separately by the Departments of Commerce and State, with little overlap or consistency in the manner in which the regulations are applied.

Under the approach outlined by the White House, the new policy would create, in part: 

  • a “tiered” approach to controlled items;
  • a “bright line” to determine agency jurisdiction; and,
  • a consistent system that could allow for the two agencies to combine their lists of controlled items in the future

The following three “tiers” of items would be created from the current lists:

  • Highest:  Items in the highest tier are those that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States and are available almost exclusively from the United States, or items that are a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Middle:  Items in the middle tier are those that provide a substantial military or intelligence advantage to the United States and are available almost exclusively from our multilateral partners and Allies.
  • Lowest:  Items in the lowest tier are those that provide a significant military or intelligence advantage but are available more broadly.

With respect to export licenses, a corresponding licensing policy will be assigned to focus agency reviews on the most sensitive items.  According to the Administration:

  • A license will generally be required for items in the highest tier to all destinations. Many of the items in the second tier will be authorized for export to multilateral partners and Allies under license exemptions or general authorizations. For less sensitive items, a license will not be required more broadly.
  • For items authorized to be exported without licenses, there will be new controls imposed on the re-export of those items to prevent their diversion to unauthorized destinations.
  • At the same time, the U.S. Government will continue our sanctions programs directed toward specific countries, such as Iran and Cuba.

Furthermore, an Executive Order will create an Export Enforcement Coordination Center to coordinate the enforcement efforts.  The new export control regime also calls for the adoption of a single information technology (IT) system to administer the export control system, which will eventually allow the IT systems maintained by the various departments to be integrated.


A copy of the press release highlighting these and other changes on export controls is available at the following link: