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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
One column table with information about Personnel Policies and Handbooks; Emergency Closings and Notifications; Free Speech and Use of Campus Facilities; W&M Style Guide and Branding
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.  These can be updated 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.  More information about university policies concerning free speech can be found on our Freedom of Expression on Campus website, along with relevant links to the Student Handbook and the Use of Campus Facilities for Non-University Purposes Policy, for speeches, performances, and other events by unaffiliated persons invited by student organizations; demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other group free speech exercises.

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.

 Safe, Respectful & Inclusive Community
One column table with information about 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; Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Referrals and Hiring
Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence  

Please review W&M’s policies prohibiting Title IX Sexual Harassment & Gender-Based Harassment and Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, 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 (221-2512) or the Office of Human Resources (221-3169 or (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 at 221-2512 (, Debbie Howe, Human Resources Office, at 221-3153 (, or Carla Costello, ADA Coordinator, 221-1254 (

Building an Accessible Curriculum

W&M encourages faculty to choose course materials that are accessible to all students (Universal Design). Be attentive to learning materials that meet the needs of students with disabilities and visual impairments, and, to the cost of required course materials. Information available at and

Preferred Name Option for Students

Students are able to indicate a preferred name using the personal information questionnaire (PIQ) in Banner Self-Service; you can see the preferred name in Blackboard and Degree Works, and it will also appear on the Banner 9 Self-Service roster later this semester. 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; for more information, visit the LGBTQ resource website

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 Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement,, so that the position can be posted openly for all qualified candidates. The Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement 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
One column table with information about Centralized Reporting Website; Reporting Obligations; Concern about a Student; Student Honor Code
Centralized Reporting Website

The university has a central website for reporting various types of concerns and appeals and 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.  Information about these reporting requirements is available on the mandatory reporting website.

Concern about a Student

Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office promptly with any significant 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, and the Dean’s professional staff will follow-up promptly based on the information provided.  In cases of imminent safety concern, always contact the W&M Police at 221-4596.

Student Honor Code

Community Values and Restorative Practices has resources for faculty regarding the Honor Code, including model syllabus language and tips to create a climate of academic integrity.  In recent years, the system has been adapting to provide options to efficient and non-adversarial means to resolve cases. A majority of undergraduate cases last year were resolved informally with students accepting responsibility for the violation. CVRP and the Honor Council are available to speak with classes or meet with departments at any time.  Please contact Dave Gilbert, Director of CVRP (221-2509 or, for more information.

Environment, Health & Safety Compliance
One column table with information about EH&S Authority
EH&S Authority

The EH&S office is responsible to ensure we maintain compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations and standards in order to maintain a healthy and safe working, living, and learning environment.  Please review and comply with EH&S directives, programs, and requirements, providing support during fire 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.

FOIA Requests
One column table with information about Requests for Public Records
Requests for Public Records

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides for citizens of the Commonwealth and certain representatives of news media to have access to public records created or maintained in the transaction of public business, subject to specific exemptions.  Public records are identified based on their purpose, content, and function, regardless of how or where they are stored and in what form they may take.  If you receive a request from anyone for records that are in your possession, please forward the request to to ensure that the university’s response complies with state law and/or other obligations.  The Office of Compliance & Equity, which has taken over responsibility for FOIA compliance, will assess the request, and work with you and/or other records custodians to respond to the request appropriately.

Financial Items
One column table with information about Conflicts of Interest; Travel and Other Transactions Involving W&M Money
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 advanceYou 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 activities.  Information and resources regarding conflicts are available here.

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 page to be sure that relevant procedures are followed when considering travel to an international destination.

Technology, Information and Intellectual Property
One column table with information about 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 
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, email is not a secure method of transmitting any personal or personally identifiable information. Instead, please use Box or OneDrive to securely share sensitive data. Additionally, be aware that storing or sharing sensitive data using services like Dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud-based storage services that are not contracted or managed by the university is not permitted. Visit IT’s security policies website for important information.

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, Blackboard 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.  For more information and a tutorial use this link.  Email with questions.

Use of Copyrighted Materials

Please review W&M’s Policy and Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Work; it is important and touches on matters such as assembling course materials and defines fair use.  If you have any questions or need clarification or guidance, please contact Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries, who will forward requests to a university libraries copyright committee who provides guidance on such 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.  Details on your research compliance responsibilities can be found here.

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.  The policy outlining specific requirements and banned activities is online here.  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.


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.