Essential Matters 2013-14

Dear Colleagues:

First, welcome back to the start of the new year!  I hope you had a satisfying and restorative summer.

I write to highlight a number of matters for your attention at this time of the year.  Most are in the way of reminders, but I ask that you (re)acquaint yourselves with each of these critical issues.  I also want to take this opportunity to remind you of the online collection of policies and procedures maintained by our Compliance and Policy Office.  The policies and procedures can be found online at

1.  Personnel Policies and Handbooks:  All employees, including faculty, operate under personnel policies governing the terms and conditions of their employment.  These policies, which are collected in handbooks for certain types of employees, are posted on both the Provost’s Office and the Office of Human Resources websites, and are collected in the policies and procedures website:    

2.  Conflicts of Interest:  Our Code of Ethics requires that we avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest.  One type of conflict is financial remuneration, gifts or other benefits that might be provided to faculty and staff from vendors or other service providers.   External paid employment can also present a conflict of commitment or other conflict of interest, and must be approved in advance.  Please review our policies and procedures at

3.  Sexual Harassment Policy and Consensual Amorous Relations Policy:   It is important to be aware of and to follow the policy on sexual harassment and the policy on consensual amorous relations between faculty and students and, in certain cases, between colleagues. Please review these policies; the Sexual Harassment Policy is available online at and the Consensual Amorous Relations Policy begins on page 45 of the Faculty Handbook. 

As a reminder, the office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity has launched an on-line course on Preventing Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. You are urged to engage and learn more about these important topics. The link is

4.  Students and Staff with Disabilities - Requests for Accommodation.   W&M modifies academic and working conditions and other aspects of university operations as necessary to accommodate students and employees with disabilities.   Accommodations may be authorized only by the Dean of Students Office (for students with disabilities) or the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity (for faculty or other employees with disabilities). 

5.  Inclement Weather:  Only the Provost can cancel classes or alter work obligations of College employees.  The only exemption is for the Gloucester Point campus of VIMS, for the closure of which the Dean/Director has the authority.  The specific policy and details are online at

6.  Travel and Other Transactions Involving W&M Money:  Regardless of funding source, when using funds through the university, including when you make a business-related purchase for which you later request reimbursement, such as when you travel on university business, you must follow applicable policies and procedures.  For example, you must have an approved travel authorization prior to travel.  Further information about buying goods or services is available from the Office of Procurement, and information about travel expense reimbursement is available through Financial Operations at:

7.  Information Security and Sensitive Data:  The College is required by law to protect specific information defined as “sensitive data” and has therefore implemented the “Policy for Securing Sensitive Data.”  This policy provides a definition of what constitutes “sensitive data” (it is narrowly defined) and describes other important rules for handling “sensitive data.  Most notably,  be aware that storing sensitive data using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or other cloud-based storage services is not permitted. Click here to view this and other important Information Security Policies:  

8.  Use of Copyrighted Materials:  Please review this; it is important and touches on matters such as assembling course materials.  This policy is online at

If you have any questions or need clarification or guidance, please contact Dean Carrie Cooper, who is my designee in copyright matters.   

9.  Use of the Internet and Electronic Media:  The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Human Resources policy – which applies to all university employees – on use of the Internet and electronic communications covers a broad range of devices such as BlackBerries and smartphones and social media technologies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, etc.  As outlined in the policy, personal use of these technologies is permitted as long as it does not interfere with productivity or performance and does not adversely affect efficient operations of the Commonwealth’s systems or imply that the communication is made on behalf of the university.  The policy outlining specific requirements and banned activities is online at:   The Code of Virginia prohibits the use of state-owned or leased computers to access sexually explicit content.  Exceptions may be made for research approved in advance.  Please seek such approvals in writing (email is acceptable) from the Vice Provost for Research, Dennis Manos. 

10. Mandatory Reporting Obligations.  There are certain situations that you are required to report to others.  Information about these reporting requirements is provided by the Office of Compliance and Policy.

11. Emergency Notification System:  Please make sure that your phone number(s) and email address(es) in the Emergency Notification System are current.  These can be updated via Banner Self-Service.

Of course, if you have any questions about any of the items listed above, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor, department head, dean or my office.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters.