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Waivers: Getting One Consent at a Time

Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
October 2020
The importance of drafting releases specific to events

Informed consent should be a prerequisite for participating in a host of voluntary activities — from student involvement in athletic teams and experiential learning to community use of the campus fitness facilities. Rather than having individuals sign a generic consent form, your K-12 school, college, or university should draft releases specific to events and share copies with each participant.

Whether it is an assumption of risk, waiver, or release form, the document is intended to be a legally binding agreement informing participants of risks and guarding your institution from liability. Providing participants with documents that describe the risks associated with the activity enables them to reflect and ask questions about the document before signing it.

United Educators’ (UE’s) Checklist: Drafting Effective Releases  outlines important elements to consider when drafting or revising a release.

Many points the checklist identifies are demonstrated in these sample releases:

Note, however, that these releases are not narrowly tailored to your institution’s specific activities and don’t constitute legal advice. Don’t rely on sample releases without seeking an attorney’s advice.

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