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Essential Matters


Please take the time to acquaint yourselves with each of these critical issues. It is important that you are familiar with them and the policies relating to them.

First, a reminder of our focus on incorporating William & Mary’s Vision, Mission and Values into our work and activities.

General Matters
Information security and sensitive data; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other student data; use of copyrighted materials; intellectual property, technology transfer, and export control; use of the internet and electronic media and W&M computers
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 as well as on W&M's online policy library.

Emergency Closings and Notifications

Only the Provost can cancel classes or alter work obligations of university employees (for VIMS and Highland, the Dean/Director and Executive Director, respectively, will make closing decisions), pursuant to the Emergency Closing Policy. Please make sure that your phone number(s) and email address(es) are current in the Emergency Notification System. You can update your personal information via Banner Self-Service.

Free Speech and Use of Campus Facilities

William & Mary is committed to creating an environment in which all members of the community and invited guests are encouraged to speak freely and express themselves on university property. Such a commitment to free expression is essential to fostering open discourse, argumentation, speaking, listening, learning and exploration of ideas. Find more information about university policies concerning free speech, along with relevant links to the Student Handbook and the Use of Campus Facilities for Non-University Purposes Policy, which apply to the scheduling and conduct of events and activities on campus, e.g. meetings and other group activities of student organizations; speeches, performances, and other events by outside groups invited by student organizations; demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other group free speech exercises; and distributions of literature such as leafleting and pamphleting. These policies have been updated to distinguish between the activities of students and employees affiliated with the university and those of third parties.

W&M Style Guide and Branding

We continue to seek to strengthen our national and international reputation and position. Because an important principle of strong messaging is clarity, a key part of that effort entails consistency in how we talk about ourselves. Our Brand Guidelines website communicates clearly the university’s required editorial style, including appropriate guidelines for web copy and email signatures using the name of the institution. As you will see, “William & Mary” with an ampersand is the standard first reference in all communications.

Safety and Respectful Workplace
Centralized reporting website; reporting obligations; concern about a student; student honor code
Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Violence

Please review W&M's policies on Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation and Sexual Misconduct. Please also familiarize yourself with campus resources for discrimination-related services.

Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment
Faculty and staff are encouraged to review W&M’s policy on Violence Prevention and how to identify and respond to a threat or concern.
Faculty, Staff and Students with Disabilities – ֝Requesting and Implementing Accommodation

W&M modifies academic and working conditions and policies as necessary to accommodate students and employees with disabilities.  Accommodations may be authorized only by Student Accessibility Services (221-2509) or the Office of Human Resources (221-3169 or [[AskHR]]) (for faculty/employees with disabilities). It is essential that faculty take care to fully and promptly implement any specific student accommodations. If you have any questions, please contact Student Accessibility Services within the Dean of Students Office at 221-2509 ([[sas]]), Debbie Howe, Human Resources Office, at 221-3153 ([[dmhowe]]), or Carla Costello, ADA Coordinator, 221-1254 ([[cacostello]]).

Building an Accessible Curriculum

W&M encourages faculty to prepare course materials in an accessible format for students with visual impairments. Find more information and other accessibility resources.

Preferred Name Option for Students

Students are able to indicate a preferred name using the personal information questionnaire (PIQ) in Banner Self-Service. Please allow students to express a preferred name and, if appropriate, gender identity or pronoun, to you and use it in your interactions with students. The preferred name option is part of W&M’s efforts to make transgender or genderqueer students feel welcome on campus. Find more information about LGBTQ resources.

Student Access to University Buildings

As of Wednesday, Aug. 19, academic buildings supporting Arts & Sciences are open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. These hours allow for student access for both day and evening classes. To allow for after-hours study, the following facilities will remain open until 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday:

  • Tyler Hall
  • Tucker Hall
  • Morton Hall
  • Jones Hall
  • Integrated Science Center (except the third floor)
  • Blow Hall (third floor)
  • McGlothlin-Street Hall
While these facilities will be locked at the times noted above, students may remain in the facilities until midnight if necessary. The William & Mary Police Department will periodically patrol the facilities during this time. Additionally, students will have access to Miller Hall Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The front doors of the Law School are open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students will have swipe access on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 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 Access Control Policy for University Facilities. Contact the Facilities Management Work Control Office ([[workor]] / 221- 2270) with any questions.
Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Referrals and Hiring

As an institution, we are required to maintain an environment of equal employment opportunity and act in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner without regard of a student’s race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, age, economic status, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law. Occasionally, employers and alumni may contact you to request the names of students who would be good candidates for internship and job opportunities. Though it may seem harmless to provide the names of your best students, there are potential legal and ethical pitfalls. Best practice suggests that in addition to any specific referral you might provide, you should send the information to the Cohen Career Center so that the position can be posted openly for all qualified candidates. The Cohen Career Center will also make appropriate referrals to the other career centers on campus for specific needs such as the Graduate Career Management Center in the Mason School of Business or the Office of Career Services at William & Mary Law School. Contact any of these three offices if you have questions about referrals in hiring.

Reporting Options and Obligations
Personnel policies and handbooks; emergency closings and notifications; free speech and use of campus facilities; W&M style guide and branding
Centralized Reporting Website

The university has a central website for reporting various types of concerns and appeals as well as options for external reports. The individual making the report selects their role as either student, faculty/staff, or parent/alumnus/other.  If you have questions or concerns about reporting processes, contact the Compliance & Equity Office.

Reporting Obligations

There are certain situations that you are required to report to others, including threats and acts of violence and reports of certain crimes or sexual harassment. Review information about these mandatory reporting requirements.

Concern About a Student

Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office promptly with any concerns about an individual student – general welfare concerns (multiple class absences, personal or family crisis, disturbed/disturbing behavior), suspicions about hazing, conduct/honor violations, signs of substance abuse, or any other matter that raises concern. The Dean of Students website has an online Care Report Form available through the central reporting website, and the Dean's professional staff will follow-up promptly based on the information provided. In cases of imminent safety concern, always contact W&M Police at 221-4596.

Student Honor Code

The Office of Community Values & Restorative Practices has resources for faculty regarding the Honor Code. For undergraduate student cases, the Honor System permits faculty members to resolve certain low-level, first-time honor violations without need for a formal hearing. This process provides a non-adversarial means of resolution while also allowing for the teachable moment created by dialogue. Note that the process is only available for certain types of violations and only for first-time offenses; thus, consultation with the Office of Community Values & Restorative Practices is necessary prior to any resolution. That Office of Community Values and Restorative Practices and the Honor Council are available to speak with classes or meet with departments at any time. Please contact Bobak Kasrai, Acting Associate Dean of Students (221-2509), for more information.

Environment, Health & Safety Compliance
EH&S authority
EH&S Authority

The EH&S office is responsible for maintaining compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations and standards. Please review and comply with EH&S procedures, including all directives for fire/safety drills, safety inspections or routine “walk-throughs.” Per W&M policy, the EH&S Office has “stop work” authority if a dangerous situation is deemed to exist.

Financial Items
Discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence; violence prevention and threat assessment; faculty, staff, and students with disabilities - requesting and implementing accommodation; building an accessible curriculum; preferred name option for students; student access to university buildings; ethical and legal standards in student referrals and hiring
Conflicts of Interest

Our Code of Ethics requires that we avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. One type of conflict arises when payments, gifts or other benefits are provided to faculty and staff from vendors or other service providers. External paid employment can also present a conflict, and, for faculty (other than adjuncts) and full-time professional employees such employment must be approved in advance. You should also be aware that under Virginia law, the business and financial dealings of your spouse are imputed to you; thus, your obligation to avoid conflicts of interests extends to your spouse’s activitiesReview conflict information and resources.

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 or 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. It is important to remember to check the Reves Center’s international travel information to be sure that relevant procedures are followed when considering travel to an international destination.

Technology, Information and Intellectual Property
Conflicts of interest; travel and other transactions involving W&M money
Information Security and Sensitive Data

W&M is required by law to protect specific information defined as “sensitive data.” The Data Classification and Protection Policy narrowly defines “sensitive data” and describes other important rules for handling such data. Most notably, be aware that storing sensitive data using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or other cloud-based storage services is not permitted. Additionally, email is not a secure method of transmitting any personal or personally identifiable information. Instead, please use Box, W&M’s file sharing, file storage and collaboration platform, to share sensitive data. Review important IT security policies.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Other Student Data

W&M employees are required to keep student data confidential in accordance with federal and state law; faculty and staff may only access student information when they have a “legitimate educational interest,” so please use Banner, Degree Works, and other systems accordingly. In addition, recent state legislation protects student email, phone, and address from release, even to other students, so please use “bcc” when emailing a group of students. Find additional FERPA information and a tutorial. Email [[ferpa]] with questions.

Use of Copyrighted Materials

Please review W&M's Policy and Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Work (pdf); it is important and touches on matters such as assembling course materials. If you have any questions or need clarification or guidance, please contact Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries who is W&M’s designee in copyright matters.

Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and Export Control

Along with various regulations, laws, and policies regulating research, employees must comply with W&M policies on Intellectual Property and Export Control. Review details on your research compliance responsibilities.

Use of the Internet and Electronic Media and W&M Computers

State policy on use of the Internet and electronic communications covers a broad range of devices such as smartphones and social media technologies including Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. Under the policy, personal use of these technologies is permitted as long as it does not (1) interfere with productivity or performance, (2) adversely affect systems, or (3) imply that the communication is made on behalf of W&M. Find the policy outlining specific requirements and banned activities (pdf). As the federal election approaches, please remember that any individual communications about political activity or discourse should be sent from personal accounts and clearly indicate that they are personal statements, not sent on behalf of the university or within the scope of your employment. If you are an employee whose position is funded by the federal government, there may be additional restrictions that apply to the manner in which you engage in partisan political activity. In addition, the Code of Virginia prohibits the use of W&M-owned or leased computers to access sexually explicit content, except when approved in advance by the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate/Professional Studies.


Please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor, department head, dean or Office of the Provost.