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Policy on Non-Academic Surveys Conducted by Students and Student Organizations

Effective Date:  January 6, 2014
Responsible Office:  Student Affairs
Revision Date: First version

I.       Scope

This policy applies to all students and student organizations of the College of William & Mary, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  It applies to non-academic surveys, as described in Section II.   It does not apply to surveys conducted by students at the request of or on behalf of a faculty member.  

 II.    Policy

In order to safeguard the quality and effectiveness of survey research on campus, any student or student organization that wishes to conduct a survey involving W&M students or employees outside of an academic course or research for academic credit must consult with the Director of Student Affairs Planning & Assessment.  The Director will provide any necessary assistance regarding the content and design of the survey; ensure that appropriate ethical standards are met; and determine a schedule of distribution that avoids conflict with other survey projects. 

Projects intended as generalizable research (i.e., intended to test theories or draw conclusions about a population) must be sponsored by a faculty or staff member and reviewed by the Protection of Human Subjects Committee, as required by federal law.  Surveys conducted for the purpose of evaluating the success of a specific program and sent only to the participants of that program do not need to be reviewed.  Students involved in such assessment projects are welcome to consult with the Director of Student Affairs Planning & Assessment for assistance if they so choose.

Participant samples should be obtained only through the Office of Institutional Analysis & Effectiveness.  Campus directories or other public sources of directory information should not be used to develop samples independently.

Students in formal leadership/governance positions (e.g., Student Assembly, class presidents, graduate student associations, Inter-Fraternity Council) are advised not to use the privilege of their positions to send out invitations/links to surveys that have not been reviewed and approved by the Office of Student Affairs. 

III. Authority, Enforcement and Amendment

This policy is approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs.  This policy is enforced by the Dean of Students Office.