Export Controls and Sanctions Compliance

I. Scope

This policy applies to all employees and students of the University, and to all persons holding any position affiliated with the University, including but not limited to Affiliate Faculty Members, and to all University contractors and employees of contractors (“University Community Members”).

II. Background

United States export controls are Federal laws and regulations intended to protect U.S. economic and national security interests and to support U.S. foreign policy, which place restrictions on the provision of items, software, technology and services to foreign destinations and to foreign nationals in the United States (“Export Controls”).  Sanctions are Federal laws and regulations that implement U.S. foreign policy initiatives by restricting the types of services and transactions U.S. persons (and organizations) are permitted to provide to or to enter into with embargoed countries, organizations or individuals (“Sanctions”).  In this Policy, Export Controls and Sanctions are collectively referred to as “Export and Sanctions Laws.”

Research involving military or dual-use items, software or technology controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) or the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) can trigger requirements to follow strict physical, electronic or procedure controls to protect those items, software or technology.   Similarly, transactions and exchanges with Comprehensively Sanctioned Countries, individuals and entities are significantly restricted under the Export and Sanctions Laws.  Export and Sanctions Laws can also require researchers to protect the electronic and hard-copy data and information they receive from research sponsors or collaborators and, in some cases, create in connection with their projects.

George Mason University may need to obtain a Deemed Export license from an agency of the United States government before allowing international students or international scholars to participate in export-controlled research, gain access to export-controlled technology, or visit locations at Mason where export-controlled items or technology are kept.  Export and Sanctions Laws may also restrict the interactions Mason researchers can have with foreign companies or Foreign Persons.

Export and Sanctions Laws also affect international travel and shipping.  Business travel to Comprehensively Sanctioned Countries, even if it is in connection with “fundamental research” activities, can require a license from the United States government, as can shipping tangible controlled items or controlled technology outside of the U.S. (regardless of whether the controlled technology is transmitted in traditional “packages” or via electronic means).  Because of the broad reach of these laws and regulations, this policy is applicable to all departments of the University.

 III. Policy Statement

All University Community Members must comply with the Export and Sanctions Laws. The Export and Sanctions Laws restrict the transfer of certain types of tangible items, software, technology, information, and funds to destinations and persons outside of the United States and, in some cases, to foreign nationals who are physically present at the University in the United States.

 All University Community Members must be aware of and comply with the Export and Sanctions Laws that govern the protection and exchange of research materials and results, as well as, in some cases, the information and equipment used to conduct research.  University Community Members may contact the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (“ORIA”) for information on the Export and Sanctions Laws.

Any University Community Member who suspects or becomes aware of a potential or actual violation of Export and Sanctions Laws at the University, is required to report their suspicions to ORIA.  The University prohibits retaliation against any person who reports such potential or actual violations in good faith.

 IV. Definitions

Comprehensively Sanctioned Countries/Regions:  Countries or regions designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as having comprehensive trade sanctions imposed by the United States.

Controlled Item, Controlled Services, Controlled Software, Controlled Technology or Technical Data:  For purposes of this policy, these terms include items, services, software, or technology/technical data identified on the Commerce Control List (15 C.F.R Part 774) in the General Prohibitions (15 C.F.R. Part 736), or the U.S. Munitions List (22 C.F.R. Part 121).

Deemed Export:  Release or transmission of information subject to export control to any foreign national in the United States, including students and researchers.  Such a release of information is considered to be an export to the home country of the foreign national.

Export:  Any item (i.e., materials, equipment, software, technology, or information) sent from the United States to a foreign destination is considered an export.  Examples include the actual shipment of goods and the transfer of written documents or information via email, phone, fax, internet, and verbal conversations.

Foreign Person: Persons who are not:

  • U.S. citizens,
  • U.S. permanent residents, or
  • Persons who have been granted asylum in the United States.

V. Compliance

Failing to comply with Export and Sanctions Laws may result in substantial civil and criminal penalties to the University and the individual(s) involved, as well as administrative sanctions such as loss of federal funding or of export privileges.  Failing to abide by the export control and sanctions policies and procedures adopted by the University can result in disciplinary action up to, and including, termination and expulsion.

VI. Responsibilities

Each University Community Member is responsible for complying with and ensuring their activities conform to the Export and Sanctions Laws and Mason’s Export Control and Sanctions policies and procedures.  ORIA must be notified and any required licenses or approvals must be in place before an Export or Deemed Export of Controlled Technology or Technical Data or provision of a Controlled Service is made, or a Controlled Item or Software is Exported.  When questions arise individuals should contact ORIA for assistance.

VII. Dates

A. Effective Date:

This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and Provost.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:


 VIII.     Timetable for Review

This Policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.

IX.    Signatures



Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance


Provost and Executive Vice President                  

Date approved: 6/28/2016

Reviewed: 5/19/2021