Commitment to privacy
Virginia Commonwealth University is strongly committed to maintaining the privacy of individuals’ personal data and information. Further, VCU collects personal data and information only to the extent necessary.
The following information explains the internet privacy practices the university has adopted for its official university sites. This shall not be construed as a contractual promise, and the university reserves the right to amend this statement at any time without notice. Privacy and public records obligations of the university are governed by applicable Virginia statutes, including, but not limited to, the Virginia Privacy Protection Act of 1976 and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act; applicable U.S. federal laws; and other university policies.
VCU official site definition
A VCU official site is a web page or social media page with content managed and maintained by the university in support of its mission.
What is collected and how it is used
When you access VCU’s official sites that are VCU-managed web pages, the following information is automatically collected:
- Your IP address
- Date and time
- Pages visited and duration of visit
- Searches executed on VCU’s official sites
- Type of browser used, computing platform
- Referring web page, if present
No other information is automatically collected through a VCU-managed web page. You may choose to submit “optional information” by email or online forms.
VCU official sites that are VCU-managed social media pages have access to non-identifiable aggregate data collected by the social media platforms. The only identifiable information available to VCU is through publicly submitted optional information in the form of user engagement such as comments, likes or shares.
- Information sent via email, including email metadata
- Information you submit to us through a form on a VCU official site
- Any engagement such as comments, likes, shares, upvotes or downvotes you post on a VCU official site
A cookie is a small amount of data that is sent to your browser from a Web server and stored on the device you used to access the website. The cookie is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The purpose of cookies is to identify users in order to prepare customized web pages for them, and allow VCU to prioritize and improve the content delivered to its site visitors. The following types of cookies may be used on a VCU official site:
- Non-persistent cookies: Some VCU official sites use non-persistent cookies for the purposes of fulfilling form requests, so as you move through the web pages in that browsing session, the site will remember customized settings, choices made and content selected. These cookies are automatically discarded after closing the web browser.
- Persistent cookies: Some VCU official sites use persistent cookies in order to provide improved service and enhance website performance. These cookies help VCU to count the number of visitors to VCU web pages, track visitor engagement on VCU web pages and improve the content VCU provides through its websites. These cookies are not automatically discarded upon browser closure.
- Web beacons and third party cookies: Some VCU official sites may use web beacons along with third party non-persistent and persistent cookies to collect non-identifiable data from site visitors. VCU uses this collected data to prioritize and improve the content it delivers to its site visitors and to promote the university in a manner that is most relevant to its site visitors.
The university may provide names, email addresses and/or phone numbers collected by the university to digital services, including social media platforms, search engines and data aggregators for the purpose of reaching audiences via those platforms to promote the university and its services. Specifically:
- VCU-managed social media pages have access to data collected by social media platforms. The data gathered does not normally contain any identifiable information and is mainly used for statistical insights into understanding the success of posts, campaigns and networks. You may receive ads based on the statistical data you supply to social media networks. You can opt out of this service by changing your privacy settings within each social media network. For information and links on opt-out options for ads delivered through social media networks, please see the following section on “Cookie, web beacon and other web privacy controls.”
- Occasionally, some VCU social media pages may use third party tools such as a data aggregator to pull publicly available data from these pages, such as profile names, comments and other social interaction information. This information may be cross-referenced with personal data that has been gathered with informed consent, such as mailing lists. VCU social media pages that participate in this type of data aggregation will have information on how to opt out in the “About” section of their social media pages. You can also receive a list of any participating pages and ways to opt out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cookie, web beacon and other web privacy controls
As an internet user, you have a variety of tools to control cookies, web beacons and similar technologies. Please note that the blocking of cookies and web beacons may impact your experience with VCU web content.
To find out more about cookies, web beacons or similar technology used to deliver advertisements, and how to opt out of them, please review the following online resources:
The way we use information
VCU may use non-identifying and aggregate information to improve the experience of visitors to VCU official sites. In some cases, this aggregate information may be shared with outside parties contracted by VCU to host, manage or analyze the collected information for the purpose of delivering and improving the content on VCU official sites.
We keep client information from our systems in accordance with the local, state and federal record retention requirements after the web page is transmitted, but we do not try to obtain any information to link it to the individuals who browse our website. On occasions when we detect cyber threats targeting one or more of our websites, logs of access information are retained to permit a security investigation and in such cases may be forwarded together with any other relevant information in our possession to law enforcement agencies.
We use the information you provide about yourself when placing an order or request only to complete that order or request. We do not share this information with outside parties except to the extent necessary to complete that order or request. Similarly, we use the information you provide about someone else when placing an order or request only to complete that order or request. Again, we do not share this information with outside parties except to the extent necessary to complete that order or request.
We generally use return email addresses only to answer the email we receive. Such addresses are generally not used for any other purpose and by university and state policy are not shared with outside parties.
Finally, we never use or share the personally identifiable information provided to us online in ways unrelated to the ones described above without clear notice and the opportunity to opt out or otherwise prohibit such uses.
Links to external websites
VCU official sites may contain links to external (not directly affiliated with VCU) websites. VCU is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of external organizations. We recommend you review the privacy statements of each external site that collects personal information.
Providing information is your choice
There is no requirement for you to provide any information at our website; however, some features or services may not be made available to you without the collection of some information.
Our commitment to information security
To prevent unauthorized access, maintain information accuracy and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate and industry standard physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online, consistent with the policies of the university and with the laws and regulations of the commonwealth of Virginia.
Your rights to your personal data
You control your personal data, and you may choose to disclose your personal data to VCU. If you provide VCU with your personal data through our websites, then unless prohibited by law, you have the right to request the review, modification or deletion of your personal data.
If you have additional questions or concerns about this privacy statement, or privacy-related policies and practices, please email email@example.com. If you wish to review or change information gathered about you via an official VCU website, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org, who will assist locating the person directly responsible for requests to review or change your personal data.