Travel to High-Risk Destinations
While Lafayette College encourages all students, faculty, and staff to engage in off-campus activities, including study abroad, internships, research, volunteer activities, and music performances or sports competitions in various countries, the College is also concerned with the safety of its constituents. The following policy provides guidance on how Lafayette College evaluates its sponsored activities in high-risk destinations. This may include countries where the US State Department has issued a Travel Warning, as well as countries without a Travel Warning that still pose a significant threat to the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, and to the running of the program.
Risk Assessment Committee for Off-Campus Studies
The Risk Assessment Committee for Off-Campus Studies exists to assess the risks of any off-campus program that may, for any reason, appear to present significant concerns for the safety and well-being of the participants.
The committee shall consist of the Dean of the Faculty, the College’s Risk Manager, the College’s Legal Counsel, the Director of International & Off-Campus Education, and a faculty member of the Off-Campus Studies Advisory Committee. The committee may consult with other members of the campus community with expertise pertinent to specific situations. Recommendations of the committee regarding a change in status of a program will be made to the Provost, who will have the sole authority for the final decision to continue or discontinue the program.
An evaluation by the Risk Assessment Committee for Off-Campus Studies will generally be initiated by Travel Warnings issued by the U.S. State Department. Additionally, members of the campus community can petition the committee to conduct an evaluation. Any recommendations on changing the status of a program will be made to the Provost, who will have the sole authority for the final decision.
If a program/trip is targeting a high-risk country, students and/or their faculty or staff advisers may be invited to participate in a risk assessment meeting. Prior to the meeting, a pre-departure report may be requested, and during or after the meeting additional information and waiver of responsibility forms may be required. Please note that, if a student or group is planning to travel to a high-risk country, the risk assessment evaluation and procedure must start at least two months before the scheduled departure so as to allow enough time to review the case. Failure do so may cause a delay in program approval, which may make it necessary for the student or group to postpone the scheduled program.
Travel Warnings containing the following designations will automatically cause the College to cancel its sponsorship of an activity:
- orders for departure of US dependents and nonemergency personnel;
- departure recommendations for any US citizens remaining in the country after the initial order for US dependents and nonemergency personnel to depart;
- strong warnings to US citizens against travel to the country; and
- warnings to US citizens to defer (nonessential) travel to the country.
To learn more about the risk assessment process or to get started with the risk assessment process, please contact the Office of International & Off-Campus Education.
How to Petition for a Risk Assessment
Any member of the campus community who is concerned that the College is sponsoring a program in a destination that exposes Lafayette students, faculty, and/or staff to an inordinate level of risk may submit a written petition for assessment of the program to the Director of International & Off-Campus Education, who will then forward the petition to the committee. The petition should explain the factors contributing to the perception of inordinate risk and should include appropriate documentation of these factors (government reports or warnings, news reports, etc.).
When Lafayette College officially suspends travel prior to the commencement of a program or activity abroad, the student shall be entitled to a full refund of all monies paid to date related to that program, excluding any nonrefundable deposits. Should Lafayette College suspend an international program while it is in progress, every effort will be made by the College to evacuate participants in the program. Any unexpended funds or refunds received from canceled activities will be returned to the student.
Students who voluntarily withdraw from a program where Lafayette College has not officially suspended the program will be responsible for all unrecoverable costs incurred to the date of withdrawal, as well as any nonrefundable deposits that were made.
For further information on health and safety abroad, please see the Health & Safety resources page and the Health & Safety Insurance page.