First Welcome and Important Announcements

Dear Students,

The new school year is upon us!  Welcome back to all returning students, and a special welcome to all those who are new to the Tribe.   It's been energizing to see our campus come back to life these last few weeks as students have returned to Williamsburg -- athletes taking to the practice fields, law camp and other graduate programs beginning, RAs and OAs working their magic for move-in and orientation.  Classes are now fully underway, so the fall semester is off and running.  

The start of a new academic year always brings with it a number of IMPORTANT announcements to be shared with the student community.  Some items require your action -- all are things you need to know moving forward into the 2013-14 school year.  There is a good bit to read through -- my apologies.  But please take time to review each section and save this email for future reference.  

  • Campus-Wide Emergency Alert System -- ACTION REQUIRED
  • Emergency Evacuation Plans -- ACTION REQUIRED for students living in campus housing
  • Your Directory Information (FERPA) -- action optional
  • Missing Person Inquiry and Confidential Contact -- action optional
  • Local Address Information in the Campus Directory -- action optional
  • 2013-14 Student Handbook Changes – POLICY, informational
  • Title IX Resources: Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment and/or Sexual Violence – POLICY informational
  • Voter Registration -- informational
  • Property Insurance -- informational
  • Students Living Off-Campus -- informational
  • End-of-Semester Travel – informational

CAMPUS-WIDE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM

During emergency situations or closings due to inclement weather, the College uses several methods to alert the campus.  An emergency notification system is used to notify students, faculty and staff via voice, email and text messages sent over land lines and cell phones.  In addition, an audible alert or siren will sound if an event poses imminent danger, and the College’s homepage provides alerts and continuing information as the emergency develops.  Beginning this semester, the College’s mass notification system is now linked with the social media sites of the W&M News. In addition to campus email, text, landline, and cell phone, anyone (including parents and other family members) can receive our emergency messages by following the W&M News Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wmnews and W&M News Twitter page at www.twitter.com/WMNews.   Our emergency notification system is tested at the beginning of each semester to ensure proper functioning.

For this system to work, it is essential that the College have a way to contact you.  Students are required to register at least one phone number, which should be your own, in the emergency notification system.  Additionally, students can register a total of five phone numbers of people to be notified in the event of a campus-wide emergency – simply log onto myWM and go under the “Personal Information” tab in Banner.  We encourage you to discuss with your family who you should register into the system.   The data you provide will only be used in the event of an emergency.  It will not be made available for any other purpose.   You will not be able to validate your registration for the fall until you have entered or confirmed your information.  NOTE:  This is not to be confused with the Emergency Contacts, which are the name(s)s and phone number(s) of those who would be contacted should you have a personal emergency.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANS

As a part of its emergency preparedness planning, the College has determined that there are certain emergencies for which the safest response will be to close the College.  Beginning two years ago, all residential students at the College of William and Mary are now required to develop and document two possible Personal Evacuation Plans (students living off-campus are encouraged to develop plans as well, though it is not required of you).  Because of the need for a quick response to an emergency, you are the only person who can effectively plan for yourself. If you have not already done so, please log in to myWM and select the Banner Self Service tab to complete your evacuation plan. 

YOUR DIRECTORY INFORMATION (FERPA)

Consistent with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the College has designated certain information about its students as "Directory Information" which may be released to the public without the consent of the student.  This information includes:

  • Student’s Name
  • Current Classification
  • Address (permanent, local, and email)
  • Telephone Numbers (permanent and local)
  • Previous Schools attended and degrees awarded
  • Dates of attendance at the College
  • Current enrollment status
  • Degree(s) earned and date awarded
  • Major(s), minor
  • Honors or special recognition.
  • Height, weight, and birth date of members of athletic teams
  • Photograph

You do have the right to prohibit the release of directory information by completing a "Request for Confidentiality" form which is located on the University Registrar's web site. With a confidentiality request, the College cannot release any information about you to anyone without your written permission -- the College will not even confirm your status as an enrolled student if asked.  The request will remain on file indefinitely until written notice is submitted by you to remove it. To facilitate the publication of the Campus Telephone Directory (which will contain information listed under items #1-4 above), a student who does not want the above information released, must submit the Request for Confidentiality form to the Office of the University Registrar by Friday, September 6. 

You should be aware that Virginia legislation, effective July 1, 2008, requires the College to release information to the parents of dependent students upon request.  Should such a request be received by the Registrar’s Office, you will be informed at your email.wm.edu email address, before any information is released. For more information about confidentiality and your FERPA rights, I recommend you contact the Registrar’s Office.

MISSING PERSON INQUIRIES AND CONFIDENTIAL CONTACTS

The College has established a procedure to investigate when a student is reported missing. Each student has the option to designate a confidential contact by submitting a form to the Dean of Students. The College will contact the designated person within 24 hours of the time that a student is considered missing. Law enforcement officials (including W&M police) also will be notified of a student’s absence no later than 24 hours after the student has been deemed missing and will follow their own investigation procedures. For students who are minors (under 18 and not emancipated), the College is obligated to notify parent(s) or guardian(s) within 24 hours of receiving a report that the student is missing. We encourage each of you to consider designating a contact person for communication by submitting the Confidential Contact Form. The form is available on the Dean of Students Office website.

LOCAL ADDRESS INFORMATION IN THE CAMPUS DIRECTORY

When the campus directory is published each fall, it customarily contains your name, local and permanent phone numbers, local and permanent addresses, and email address.  Students have the option of asking that their local address not be published in the campus directory and still have the other contact information printed there.  To remove your local address from the printed campus directory, choose the “Student Directory Options” link on the W&M Find People Directory .  The deadline for opting-out is at 11:59 pm, Wed. Sept. 18.

 2013-14 STUDENT HANDBOOK CHANGES

Each spring members of the W&M community have the opportunity to propose and comment on suggested changes to the Student Handbook.  The President, then, must approve any changes that will go into effect for the following academic year.  Several substantive changes were approved by President Reveley this summer for inclusion in the 2013-14 Student Handbook, including changes to the university’s Arrest Disclosure Policy.  A summary of all the changes and their rationales are detailed in the attached memo – please review them.

Title IX Resources: Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and/or Sexual Violence

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are antithetical to who we are as a campus community.  Title IX prohibits sexual harassment, including sexual assault, occurring in connection with any academic, athletic, extracurricular, or other university program, regardless of the location.  The Dean of Students, as Deputy Title IX Coordinator, is the administrator who will respond to student complaints about any experience of sex-based discrimination or violence.  Should you or a friend need help or wish to make a report, information and resources are available on the university’s Sexual Assault website.

VOTER REGISTRATION

Effect change with your vote! Voter registration forms for all states are available in the Dean of Students Office.  Forms for the Commonwealth of Virginia are also available on-line through the Board of Elections website (www.sbe.state.va.us). Students with disabilities should feel free to contact Disability Services for assistance with any aspect of voter registration. Located in the Campus Center, Room 109, Disability Services is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (757) 221-2510 or email doscom@wm.edu for an appointment. 

PROPERTY INSURANCE

Since William and Mary cannot insure your personal belongings against fire, theft or other loss, it is important that you provide such protection for yourself.  In most cases, your parents’ homeowner’s policy may already provide such coverage.  Check with your family’s agent to make certain your property is insured and to determine the extent of your coverage.  If you are not covered, special policies for college students are available from most insurance companies.

STUDENTS LIVING OFF-CAMPUS

The City of Williamsburg and the local Neighborhood Relations Committee (NRC) work collaboratively to improve the quality of life for all who live in the City of Williamsburg -- their website includes an updated "Guide for Student Renters" which offers useful information about everything from trash collection and recycling to parking and making necessary arrangements for extended time away from your home/apartment (e.g. over breaks or between semesters). 

END-OF-SEMESTER TRAVEL

As you and your family make plans for your travel at the end of the semester, please remember to consult the published final examination schedule.  Because there are few circumstances for which final exams may be rescheduled, it is important that any travel be scheduled to occur after the scheduled date of your last exam.  In the past, some students have been disappointed when their exams could not be rescheduled to accommodate a desire to travel prior to their official examination date.  Please note that the exam schedule is published prior to the start of each semester and is included in the materials students receive for course registration.  You might also consult the Registrar’s Office web site.

It is wonderful to walk around a thriving, student-filled campus again -- here's to our new year!

Best regards,

Ginger Ambler