Welcome Back and Important Announcements, Fall 2017

Message from the Vice President for Student Affairs

Dear Students,

The new school year is well underway!  Welcome back to all returning students, and a special welcome to all those who are new to the Tribe.  The start of a new academic year always brings with it a number of IMPORTANT announcements to be shared with the entire student community.  Some items require your action -- all are things you need to know moving forward into the 2017-18 school year. 

I realize there is a LOT of information included here.  Please take time to review each section, take required actions where indicated, and then consider saving 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
  • Title IX Resources: Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment and/or Sexual Violence –POLICY, informational
  • Resources for Mental Health and Well-Being – informational
  • Student Handbook – POLICY, informational
  • Revised Standards for Driving Under the Influence -- POLICY, informational
  • Health & Safety:  The Dangers of Punch Bowls -- POLICY, informational
  • Student Access to University Buildings – POLICY UPDATE, informational
  • Voter Registration – informational
  • Property Insurance – informational
  • Students Living Off-Campus – informational
  • End-of-Semester Travel – informational


During emergency situations or closings due to inclement weather, the university 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 W&M homepage provides alerts and continuing information as the emergency develops.  The university’s mass notification system is also linked with the social media sites of the W&M News. Anyone (including parents and other family members) can see 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 university 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 (through my.wm.edu).  Additionally, students can register a total of five phone numbers of people to be notified in the event of a campus-wide emergency.  We encourage you to discuss with your family which additional numbers you will register into the system.


As a part of its emergency preparedness planning, William & Mary has determined that there are certain emergencies for which the safest response will be to close the university.  All residential students are 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. 


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.  At William & Mary, this information includes:

  • Student name
  • Current classification
  • Address (permanent, local, and email)
  • Previous schools attended and degrees awarded
  • Telephone numbers
  • Dates of attendance
  • Current enrollment status
  • Degree(s) earned and dates awarded
  • Major(s), Minor
  • Scholarships, Awards, Honors or Special Recognition
  • Height, weight, and birth date of members of athletic teams
  • Photograph

Students may prohibit the release of directory information by completing the Request for Confidentiality Form (pdf). This request will remain on file indefinitely until written notice is submitted by the student to remove the confidentiality request.  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. 

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 address before any information is released. For more information about confidentiality and your FERPA rights, I recommend you contact the Registrar's Office.


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) will also 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 (pdf).


In our continued efforts to reduce unnecessary costs and to become more sustainable by reducing the university’s carbon footprint, our campus directory is an online resource found at http://directory.wm.edu/.  In addition to the public directory, members of the W&M community also have the ability to log in to perform advanced searches and access information once available in the printed directory but not available to the general public (e.g., home address, phone number and spouse name [for faculty & staff, assuming they have provided it], and for a student’s class year, home address, home phone and room assignment). IT has created a link on the WM Directory page called “Student Directory Options.” There you can authenticate and have your address info removed from the directory search, if that is your preference.

TITLE IX RESOURCES: Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and/or Sexual Violence

Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are antithetical to who we are as a campus community.  W&M prohibits sexual harassment, including sexual assault, occurring in connection with any academic, athletic, extracurricular, or other university program, regardless of the location.  Should you or a friend need help or wish to make a report, information is available on the university’s Sexual Violence website.  The website also includes information about other campus resources. 


W&M is committed to providing the highest standards of care to support the well-being and health of students.  Among the resources W&M offers is ProtoCall, an after-hours/weekend service for students who call the counseling center regarding mental health issues. Through ProtoCall, students are able to reach a mental health professional 24/7 and receive a timely response from someone who can offer the support they want and need.  Other mental health resources include the ParkRx program; Tribe Rides; Silver Cloud, a robust collection of online tools that can help individuals cope with anxiety, depression, and stress; and “At Risk: Friends in College,” avatar-based learning modules that teach students, faculty, and staff how best to recognize and respond to signs of distress in students.  W&M’s Authentic Excellence Initiative -- open to all students, faculty, and staff -- is a multi-layered program designed to promote flourishing and resilience. The program explores the difference between “fear-based excellence” and “authentic excellence,” and how they relate to resilience, fulfillment and productivity.


William & Mary’s Student Handbook – including the Student Code of Conduct and the Honor Code – is published annually on the Office of Student Conduct website.  All students at William & Mary are bound by the regulations noted within the Student Handbook. It contains important information about the College's expectations regarding student conduct, student rights and responsibilities, and relevant processes and procedures to address alleged misconduct. Please be aware that the College has a policy that requires students to disclose arrests within 72 hours.  Information about the policy, including the form for disclosure, is available online


The College cannot tolerate the dangers to self and others represented by driving under the influence; therefore, the presumptive sanction is suspension for one semester for a first-time violation.  DUI for persons over the age of 21 is defined as a BAC of .08 or above (note that, depending on body weight and other factors, this may be as few as two drinks’ worth of alcohol).  Legal consequences for a first-time DUI include loss of license for one year, a criminal record, fines and other restrictions. For students under 21, DUI is defined as a BAC of .02.  If you choose to drink, we advise that you avoid driving altogether; make alternative plans.  We also ask for your help in caring for one another—if you witness a fellow student attempting to drive under the influence, please intervene.  The city has a taxi service, and Uber and Lyft also are readily available.  Finally, Steer Clear is available to provide rides within a three-mile radius of campus.


We remain focused on the safety concerns raised by so-called “common source” drink containers such as gin buckets and punch bowls.  Each year we receive reports of students who are transported to the hospital due to over-consumption of alcohol from such sources.  Please remember, when you consume alcohol from a drink mixture whose contents are unknown to you, you likely are consuming much more alcohol that you realize.  Do not rely on taste as your guide—even sweet or good-tasting drinks can be dangerously potent.  This is a critical health & safety issue.  It is also a matter of policy – know that William & Mary policy prohibits the use of common-source containers of alcohol.  In accordance with the Federal Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, I will be sending a separate email with more detailed information about university policies, health risks related to the use of alcohol and other substances, and substance abuse resources both on and off-campus.  Your safety and wellbeing are of utmost importance.


Beginning this fall, active William & Mary students will have 24-hour/7 day card swipe access to Tyler, Ewell, Jones, and Morton Halls, and Swem Mews during each semester. Additionally, students will have access to Miller Hall from 6 a.m. – 2 a.m., 7 days per week. Law School card swipe access will be provided on a 24 hour/7 day basis for students enrolled with the Law School and students enrolled in the MPA program.  Student access to residence halls remains the same as previous years. The Scheduling Office and Conference Services will coordinate building access for events scheduled through those offices.  Access to university buildings outside of scheduled open hours may be arranged on a one-time or ongoing basis with approval of an Authorized Signatory as outlined in the university Access Control Policy. http://www.wm.edu/offices/compliance/policies/access_control/index.php.  Contact the Facilities Management Work Control Office ([[workor]] / 757-221- 2270) with any questions. 


Effect change with your vote! Voter registration information is available on the Dean of Students Office website.  Forms for the Commonwealth of Virginia are also available online through the Board of Elections website (www.sbe.state.va.us). Students with disabilities should feel free to contact Student Accessibility Services for assistance with any aspect of voter registration. Located in the Campus Center, Room 109, Student Accessibility 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]] for an appointment. 


Since William & 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.


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). This fall W&M also created its own Off-Campus Living Guide (PDF) with detailed information that will help you understand your rights as a tenant (if you are renting property), the resources available to you in the greater Williamsburg area, and the basic responsibilities of living in harmony with your Williamsburg neighbors.


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


Virginia Miller Ambler ‘88, Ph.D. ‘06
Vice President for Student Affairs