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Suspending Education Abroad Opportunities

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Role of Committee

The International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) is responsible for deciding whether to suspend an education abroad opportunity sponsored by the University when a significant health or safety concern is raised regarding the opportunity. This health or safety concern may arise from a number of sources, including U.S. State Department travel warnings, travel warnings from governmental health organizations, natural disasters, on-site staff officials or other indicators of potential health or safety threats. The committee has University-wide jurisdiction and its decisions apply uniformly to all campuses. The committee may decide to suspend an education abroad opportunity before a program starts or while it is in process.

Prior approval of the Committee is required for any education abroad opportunity involving travel by University of Minnesota students to a location subject to a travel warning from the State Department.

Committee Composition

The International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) is comprised of the Associate Vice President and Dean for International Programs, the General Counsel, the Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration, and the Vice President for Health Sciences. These officials may delegate their responsibilities to others within their areas of authority. The Assistant Vice President for Public Health will serve on the committee whenever a decision is being considered to cancel or suspend an education abroad opportunity for public health reasons.

Criteria

In deciding whether to suspend a University-sponsored education abroad opportunity, the Committee will consider the following factors:

  • The academic purpose of the opportunity;
  • Whether the opportunity is for undergraduate, graduate, or professional development;
  • The educational, research, or professional development importance of the opportunity in relation to the students' academic program;
  • The political and physical conditions in the site country;
  • The level of risk to students' health and safety;
  • Travel conditions and the ability to evacuate students, if necessary;
  • The manageability of legal risk to the University.

Travel Approval

In accordance with policy, the Education Abroad Opportunities: Addressing Health, students or faculty-led groups of students traveling to countries on the U.S. Department of State's travel warning list are required to receive special permission from the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC). The Committee will review requests to travel to these countries based on the same criteria listed above.

Approval by the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) will allow use of financial aid, scholarships, travel stipends and other University supports including credit transfer. Approval is required for students undertaking education abroad activities (including study abroad programs, internships, field studies, service learning, research, volunteer or work programs, or professional development activates) in countries on the U.S. State Department travel warning list.

Students should apply for International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) approval following the instructions for travel approval on the Office of International Programs’ website.

Individual Student Action

Students who choose to participate in an education abroad opportunity on the U.S. Department of State’s travel warning list without approval must take a leave of absence from the University to do so and cannot be registered for any University credits during this period. Any student who chooses to participate in a program in a country, region or area where the University has suspended its programs does so voluntarily and is acting outside the control and responsibility of the University. Students on leave of absence from the University of Minnesota are not eligible for financial aid from the University.

Emergencies

In emergency situations where it is impractical for the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) to meet, the Associate Vice President and Dean for International Programs may take immediate steps to have students removed from a country, region or area. Individual University-sponsored program staff also may take immediate steps to remove students from a country, region or area in emergency circumstances without prior action by the committee. The individual program director or designee will notify the Committee within 24 hours of any such emergency action.

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Last modified on May 13, 2013