Global Affairs

Policy for Education Abroad and Related Activities in Sites with U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/Travel Alert

Title: Policy for Education Abroad and Related Activities in Sites with U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/Travel Alert
Policy Owner: Global Affairs
Applies to: Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Research Associates, Faculty, Staff
Campus Applicability: Storrs and Regional Campuses including the Law School
Effective Date: July 23, 2015
For More Information, Contact Assistant Vice President for Global Affairs
Contact Information:  860-486-2908
Official Website: http://global.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

Global engagement is one of the four core values of the University of Connecticut, as presented in the University’s 2014 strategic planning document Creating Our Future: UCONN’s Path to Excellence. The University has long supported students, faculty and staff as they travel internationally for credit-bearing Education Abroad programs, internships, research, service learning and volunteer opportunities, conferences, registered student organization activities, student groups affiliated with academic departments, and other non-credit-bearing University programs. To further the University’s core values, ensure that students, faculty and staff have all relevant information and support they need while traveling abroad, and assess any potential risks and appropriate actions to reduce those risks, the University has established guidelines concerning  how, when and where students, faculty and staff may travel abroad for university-sponsored or university-related purposes. The University of Connecticut considers issues of terrorism, war, disease and other risks to travelers when assessing the appropriateness of university-sponsored or university-related international travel to a country with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or Travel Alert.

Accordingly, the University will not permit or support travel to any country with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or Travel Alert except pursuant to a Waiver approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs under this policy.

 

APPLIES TO

This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, faculty and staff at the Storrs and regional campuses including the Law School traveling internationally for university-sponsored or university-related purposes. University-sponsored or university-related purposes include credit-bearing Education Abroad programs, internships, research, service learning and volunteer opportunities, conferences, registered student organization activities, student groups affiliated with academic departments, and other non-credit-bearing University programs.

This policy does not include travel through a program that is administered by another organization that has not been vetted and approved by UConn’s Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA) or does not have a formal agreement or exchange program with UConn.

This policy does not apply to students, faculty or staff who make the personal decision to travel internationally on a program or for a purpose not affiliated with the University and use their own funds, or other non-University funds, to support this travel. That is personal travel. This policy does not apply to personal travel. Personal travel includes additional independent travel before or after travel for university-sponsored or university-related purposes that is not part of the official university-sponsored or university-related itinerary. University-sponsored international health insurance does not cover personal travel by faculty, staff or students.

This policy does not apply to the University of Connecticut Health Center.

DEFINITIONS

“Education and Activities Abroad” and “Education Abroad and Related Activities” means any travel outside of the United States for university-sponsored or university-related purposes.

“Program Director” means the faculty or staff advisor, or in the case of a UConn Registered Student Organization or student group affiliated with an academic department of the University, the student leader of the Organization or student group, who is responsible for the planning and implementation of an Education and Activities Abroad program or travel opportunity. In the case of individual student, faculty or staff travel for university-sponsored or university-related purposes, the Program Director means the individual traveler.

“Risk Advisory Committee (RAC)” means the committee formed to review Waiver Applications for Education and Activities Abroad Programs in Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings/Travel Alerts. The RAC members include the Director of UConn’s Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA), a second and/or additional member(s) appointed by the Vice President for Global Affairs, and a representative from the Office of the General Counsel, or their successor in function. As appropriate to the proposed Education and Activities Abroad program or opportunity, the RAC may also seek input from representatives of the School or College associated with the Education and Activities Abroad program, the Division of Student Affairs, and/or any experts on country conditions of the proposed destination. The Chair of the RAC will be designated by the Vice President for Global Affairs.

“University-sponsored or university-related” means credit-bearing study abroad programs, internships, research, service learning and volunteer opportunities, conferences, registered student organization activities, student groups affiliated with academic departments, and other non-credit-bearing University programs. This includes the following:

–           Any travel in connection with activities for which academic credit is sought, including programs operated through UConn’s Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA), travel as part of a formal academic program or course of study, internship credit, and travel for independent study credit (including retroactive requests for academic credit).

–           Any travel for purposes of performance, sporting events, service learning, conferences, meetings, professional development or volunteerism organized by an academic department, a UConn Registered Student Organization or a student group affiliated with an academic department of the University.

–           Any travel for which funding is sought through a University-administered account or a student government-administered account within UConn.

–           Any travel that requires travel approval through UConn Travel Services and/or that requires international health insurance through a University-contracted insurance plan.

“Waiver Application” means the Waiver Application for Education and Activities Abroad Programs in Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings/Travel Alerts, administered by UConn’s Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA). The current version of the Waiver Application is attached as Appendix A.  The Waiver Application may be revised by the Vice President of Global Affairs from time to time consistent with this Policy.

POLICY STATEMENT

The University observes the following policy:

If the U.S. Department of State issues a travel warning/travel alert for a particular country or region within a country, UConn will suspend approval of any current Education and Activities Abroad program or individual university-sponsored or university-related travel by UConn students, postdoctoral research associates, faculty and/or staff and will not approve any new travel in that country as long as the travel warning/travel alert is in effect unless an application for a Waiver of this policy is submitted and approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs.  Without approval of the Waiver, university support is withdrawn. No academic credit will be awarded for programs in those countries, and reimbursement for the travel may be denied.

I.        Proposed Programs or Activities

When initiating a new Education or Activity Abroad opportunity, the Program Director or, in the case of individual travel, the student, faculty or staff member intending to travel, should review whether any destination country is the subject of any travel warnings or travel alerts issued by the U.S. Department of State. See http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html. All U.S. Department of State travel warnings and travel alerts applicable to the destination country must be disclosed and a Waiver sought as part of the proposal, even when the travel warning/travel alert covers a different region or state from the program’s in-country destination.

In reviewing the Waiver Application, the University will carefully review the actual U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert, as well as other sources, which may include recommendations of other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

There may be legitimate academic reasons for developing or continuing a program or exchange in a country or in certain regions of a country while limiting travel to other regions of that same country. In some situations, a travel warning/travel alert may be very narrowly defined. For example, on May 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of State updated its travel warning for Mexico. That travel warning assessed security conditions for Mexico state-by-state. At that time the state of Oaxaca listed “no advisory is in effect,” while the state of Tamaulipas had a security advisory in effect. See http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html). In such a circumstance, upon careful review a Waiver might be granted for travel to Oaxaca State, while denied for travel to Tamaulipas State.

In reviewing the Waiver Application, the University will also carefully review any other pertinent factors brought to the University’s attention, such as any impact to University faculty and staff on sponsored research funding for projects that may not reach completion if the faculty or staff member were to be prohibited from travel or continued travel to a travel warning/travel alert country under this policy. When completing the Waiver Application, faculty or staff should note the existence of and any adverse consequences to sponsored research as part of the reasoning to permit the travel despite the existence of a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert.

Waiver Process

If a new Education or Activity Abroad program or opportunity is being proposed in any country where a travel warning or travel alert is current, the following process should be followed:

A.      When proposing university-sponsored or university-related international travel, certain forms are always required:  the “Education and Activities Abroad Program proposal request” form to be submitted for all student Education or Activity Abroad opportunities; the “Student Organization Off-Campus Event Advising” form to be submitted for all registered student organization travel; or the UConn Travel Office’s Travel WebForm providing for enrollment in international health insurance through the University-contracted international health insurance plan for faculty, staff and graduate assistant travel. In addition, for travel to any country where a travel warning or travel alert is in effect, a Waiver Application for Education and Activities Abroad Programs in Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings/Travel Alerts must be completed and submitted to the Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA). OGA:EA will provide the current Waiver Application form upon request.

B.      The Risk Advisory Committee (RAC) will review the Waiver Application. The RAC will then forward the Waiver Application with a recommendation to the Vice President for Global Affairs.

C.      Vice President’s Decision:

1.      Waiver Approved: If a Waiver is approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs, the travel warning/travel alert will be reviewed periodically by OGA:EA until a rescission or new travel warning/travel alert is issued by the U.S. Department of State. If a new travel warning/travel alert is issued, then the program will be reviewed as per the procedures below for current programs.

a.      All participants in the program will receive a copy of the U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert along with a copy of the completed Waiver Application. All prospective travelers will be interviewed by the proposed Program Director, representative of the OGA:EA, representative of the Division of Student Affairs, or other individuals who are developing the program. This interview will explain the program purpose and the environment in which it will take place (including health, safety and other program elements) and deliver information about the U.S. Department of State’s travel warning/travel advisory to enable travelers to make informed consent decisions as to their participation in the program.

b.      After prospective travelers have been interviewed and determined to be qualified to join the program, and only after the Waiver has been approved, all prospective travelers in the program will review and sign the Informed Consent and Release of Liability statement. It will be the responsibility of the Program Director of the proposed program to ensure that all program participants have completed an Informed Consent and Release of Liability statement prior to departure for the program. Completed and signed Informed Consent and Release of Liability forms should be submitted to OGA:EA. Current versions of the Informed Consent and Release of Liability forms are attached as Appendix B and Appendix C. They may be revised by the Vice President of Global Affairs from time to time consistent with this Policy.

c.       If a Waiver has been approved for travel to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert country or region, additional travel to a different country or region subject to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert country or region that was not considered as part of the Waiver Application is not permitted unless that additional travel has also been reviewed and approved through a subsequent Waiver Application in accordance with this policy.

d.      Refunds and Withdrawals: Travelers will be permitted to withdraw from a program for which a Waiver has been approved if they are not comfortable traveling to the country or region. Reasonable efforts will be made to find alternate programs for travelers to enroll in. If an alternate program cannot be found, reasonable efforts will be made to refund any fees already paid, but the actual amount of refund will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the OGA:EA.

2.      Waiver Application Denied: If the Vice President for Global Affairs determines that the Waiver Application should be denied due to the situation reflected in the U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert, the Program Director and/or the Director of the OGA:EA will notify any current program applicants.

a.      Reconsideration of the decision: When a Waiver Application is denied, the Program Director and the Director of the OGA:EA and/or Chair of the RAC will have the opportunity to confer with the Vice President for Global Affairs about the decision. The Program Director will have the opportunity to submit any new evidence of current country conditions that was not previously before the RAC. If the Vice President finds it appropriate, he or she may refer such evidence back to the RAC for further consideration. The decision as to whether to consider new evidence and reopen the review of the RAC will be at the sole discretion of the Vice President for Global Affairs.

b.      Refunds and Withdrawals: If money has already been collected for a program to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert country and the Waiver Application is denied, the process for notification and refunds will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Vice President based on recommendations from the OGA:EA.

c.       If a Waiver Application is denied, any student, faculty or staff member who makes the personal decision to travel to the location notwithstanding the denial does so as a private individual without a connection to the University. The travel will not be considered affiliated with or supported by the University, University funds will not be used to support the travel, and University-contracted international health insurance will not cover the travel. The University will have no obligation or liability in connection with such travel.

II.      Current Programs

If a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert is announced in a country where an existing Education or Activity Abroad program operates, the Vice-President for Global Affairs are authorized to summarily suspend the operation of the effected program(s) and require the safe and expeditious return of program participants to the University campus.

If this step is deemed not immediately warranted, the following procedures must be implemented:

A.      The Program Director or associated on-campus program facilitator must complete the Waiver Application for Education and Activities Abroad Programs in Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings/Travel Alerts and submit it to the OGA:EA within 48 hours of the issuance of the travel warning/travel alert.

B.      The Risk Advisory Committee (RAC) will review the Waiver Application as soon as possible, with a goal of within 2 business days of receipt of the Waiver Application. The RAC will then forward the Waiver Application with a recommendation to the Vice President for Global Affairs.

C.      Vice President’s decision:

1.      Waiver Approved: If a Waiver is approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs, the U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert will be reviewed periodically by OGA:EA until a rescission or new travel warning/travel alert occurs. If a new travel warning/travel alert is issued, then the program will be reviewed anew, as per the procedures above.

a.      If a Waiver is approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs, all travelers on that program will receive a copy of the U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert along with a copy of the completed Waiver Application. All travelers will be required to sign the Informed Consent and Release of Liability statement attesting that they have read the travel warning/travel alert and the Waiver Application and wish to continue with the program. If the traveler is under the age of 18, the traveler’s parents must review and sign these materials.

b.      If a Waiver has been approved for travel to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert country or region, additional travel to a different country or region subject to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert that was not considered as part of the Waiver Application is not permitted unless that additional travel has also been reviewed and approved through a subsequent Waiver Application in accordance with this policy.

c.       Refunds and Withdrawals: If a Waiver is approved by the Vice President for Global Affairs, travelers will be permitted to withdraw from the program for which the Waiver has been approved if they are not comfortable remaining in the country or region. Reasonable efforts will be made to allow any travelers who do withdraw to complete their coursework or program objectives after their return. Reasonable efforts will be made to refund any unused or unapplied fees, but the actual amount of refund will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the OGA:EA.

2.      Waiver Application Denied:  If upon review, the Vice President for Global Affairs determines that a program should be cancelled or suspended due to the situation reflected the U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert, the Program Director and/or the Director of the OGA:EA will notify all current travelers and institute procedures to return travelers to the University campus or other safe location.

a.      Reconsideration of the decision:  When a Waiver Application is denied, the Program Director or associated on-campus program facilitator, alongside the Director of OGA:EA and/or Chair of the RAC, will have the opportunity to confer with the Vice President for Global Affairs about the decision. The Program Director will have the opportunity to submit any new evidence of current country conditions that was not previously before the RAC. If the Vice President finds it appropriate, he or she may refer such evidence back to the RAC for further consideration. The decision as to whether to consider new evidence and reopen the review of the RAC will be at the sole discretion of the Vice President for Global Affairs.

b.      Refund and Withdrawals: If the Vice President for Global Affairs determines that a program should be cancelled or terminated due to a U.S. Department of State travel warning/travel alert, reasonable efforts will be made to refund any unused or unapplied fees, but the actual amount of refund will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the OGA:EA.

c.       If a Waiver Application is denied, any student, faculty or staff member who continues to make the personal decision to travel to or continue travel in the location notwithstanding that denial does so as a private individual without a connection to the University. The travel will not be considered affiliated with or supported by the University, University funds will not be used to support the travel, and University-contracted international health insurance will not cover the travel. The University will have no obligation or liability in connection with such travel.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code.

The University reserves the right to deny academic credit, funding or reimbursement for any university-sponsored or university-related international travel that is considered inconsistent with published policies and practices.

Appendix

Appendix A: Waiver Application for Education and Activities Abroad Programs in Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings/Travel Alerts

Appendix B- For Students: Informed Consent and Release of Liability for Travel Abroad to U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/ Travel Alert Country

Appendix C- For Faculty/Staff/Other (Non-Students): Informed Consent and Release of Liability for Travel Abroad to a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/Travel Alert Country

 

Student International Travel Policy

Title: Student International Travel Policy
Policy Owner: Office of Global Affairs
Applies to: Students
Campus Applicability: All Campuses except UConn Health
Effective Date: July 23, 2015
For More Information, Contact Assistant Vice President for Global Affairs
Contact Information: 860-486-2908
Official Website:  http://global.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

Global engagement is one of the four core values of the University of Connecticut, as presented in the University’s 2014 strategic planning document Creating Our Future: UCONN’s Path to Excellence. The University has long supported students as they travel internationally for credit-bearing Education Abroad programs, internships, research, service learning and volunteer opportunities, conferences, registered student organization activities, student groups affiliated with academic departments, and other non-credit-bearing University programs. The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the following objectives:

  1. Ensuring student access to information essential to their travel abroad.
  2. Assessment of any potential risks and appropriate actions to reduce those risks.
  3. University awareness of when and where students are taking advantage of these Education Abroad and related opportunities.

APPLIES TO 

This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students at the Storrs and regional campuses including the Law School traveling internationally for university-sponsored or university-related purposes. University-sponsored or university-related purposes include credit-bearing Education Abroad programs, internships, research, service learning and volunteer opportunities, conferences, registered student organization activities, student groups affiliated with academic departments, and other non-credit-bearing University programs. This includes the following:

  •  Any travel in connection with activities for which academic credit is sought, including programs operated through UConn’s Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA), travel as part of a formal academic program or course of study, internship credit, and travel for independent study credit (including retroactive requests for academic credit).
  • Any travel for purposes of performance, sporting events, service learning, conferences, meetings, professional development or volunteerism organized by a UConn registered student organization or student group affiliated with an academic department of the University.
  • Any travel for which funding is sought through a University-administered account or a student government-administered account within UConn.
  • Any travel that requires travel approval through UConn Travel Services and/or that requires international health insurance through the University-contracted insurance plan.

This policy does not include student travel through a program that is administered by another organization that has not been vetted and approved by OGA:EA or does not have a formal agreement or exchange program with UConn.

This policy does not apply to students who make the personal decision to travel internationally on a program not affiliated with the University and use their own funds, or other non-University funds, to support this travel. That is personal travel. This policy does not apply to personal travel. Personal travel includes additional independent travel before or after travel for university-sponsored or university-related purposes that is not part of the official university-sponsored or university-related itinerary. University-sponsored international health insurance does not cover personal travel.

This policy does not apply to students of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

POLICY STATEMENT

Any student who travels internationally for university-sponsored or university-related purposes, as defined above, is required to register with the Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA).

Registration with the Office of Global Affairs: Education Abroad (OGA:EA)

Specifically, any student who travels internationally for university-sponsored or university-related purposes is required to:

a. University Registration.  Register with the OGA:EA;

b. Health Insurance.  Through the OGA:EA, register for University-contracted (or other suitable) international health insurance coverage;

c. Itinerary and Contacts.  Submit up-to-date itinerary information to the OGA:EA, including personal and emergency contact information (both U.S. and international), host program/entity contact information (as appropriate), travel itineraries and international accommodations;

d. Updated Itinerary Upon Changes.  Promptly provide updated travel itineraries and accommodations to OGA:EA as they develop, especially if/as these change during the course of travel;

e. Contract Requirements.  Read and sign any appropriate contract documents (e.g. the Education Abroad Student Contract) that pertain to the Education Abroad program in which the student is participating;

f. State Department Registration.  Register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/step.html; and

g. State Department Acknowledgement.  Acknowledge, via electronic signature, having researched and read any U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for the destination country/countries. If the destination country/countries has a travel warning or travel alert and the University has reviewed and granted permission for the student to participate in accordance with the Policy for Education Abroad and Related Activities in Sites with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/Travel Alert, the student is required to review and sign the University’s Informed Consent and Release of Liability for Travel Abroad to a Travel Warning/Travel Alert Country in accordance with that applicable policy.

Conduct while Traveling for University-Sponsored or University-Related Purposes

While away from campus, students are required to honor the University’s Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code, as well as any appropriate contract documents (e.g. the Education Abroad Student Contract) that pertain to the UConn international program in which they are participating. Students must further adhere to the codes of conduct established by faculty directors, hosting entities/institutions, and/or professional practice applicable to the UConn international program in which they are participating. Students traveling internationally are subject to all local laws and to discipline under The Student Code.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary measures in accordance with the University of Connecticut Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code.

The University reserves the right to deny academic credit, funding or reimbursement for any student international travel that is inconsistent with published policies and practices.

Related Policy

See also:  Policy for Education Abroad and Related Activities in Sites with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning/Travel Alert

Policy History

Adopted: July 23, 2015 [Approved by the President’s Cabinet]