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Travel Warnings

Student International Travel Policy: Regarding Travel to Countries subject to Travel or Travel Health Warning Lists 

Clemson University is committed to developing a wide variety of international study, research and work opportunities for faculty, students and staff; however, the university recognizes that there are situations in which safety and security issues may outweigh the advantages of exposure to international experiences. The Office of Global Engagement monitors information relevant to the safety of all Clemson students abroad from official sources as well as from our domestic and international partners and colleagues. The safety and security of Clemson students and personnel abroad is of the utmost importance to us. We work to ensure that students can make informed and wise decisions regarding program selection as well as their behavior abroad. Evaluation of security issues includes monitoring the United States Department of State's travel alerts and travel warnings as well as alerts published by the World Health Organization. 

U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings 

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has developed a set of reports designed to inform travelers of potential risks. This system of reporting is explained on the DOS website (see: http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html) as follows:

Country Specific Information: We provide Country Specific Information for every country of the world. For each country, you will find information like the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices; whether you need a visa; crime and security information; health and medical conditions; drug penalties; and localized hot spots. This is a good place to start learning about where you are going. 

Travel Alerts: We issue Travel Alerts for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, we cancel the Travel Alert. 

Travel Warnings: We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, or ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years. 

World Health Organization's International Health Regulation Alerts

The World Health Organization (WHO) continuously tracks infectious disease situations around the world and issues public alerts against travel to particular locations subject to outbreaks of particular infectious diseases or in recommendation of specific health precautions to residents and travelers in impacted regions. Less frequent than the DOS warnings, these warnings are important in Clemson's on-going assessment of risks to our students, faculty and staff domestically and internationally.

Travel to Destinations Subject to Travel or Travel Health Warnings and Alerts

Clemson University does not recommend travel to destinations with an active DOS or WHO Travel Warning. Countries under Travel Warnings are considered to be unstable and/or unsafe. However, the University recognizes that security situations may vary considerably in different parts of a country under a Travel Warning, and that a Travel Warning does not always negate compelling academic reasons for traveling to a country. Therefore, the University will review on a case-by-case basis all University-sponsored and/or funded travel to any country under a DOS or WHO Travel Warning.

Clemson Faculty-Led Programs

If a travel or travel health warning is issued for a country in which Clemson operates faculty-led study abroad programs before the departure date of the programs, the programs will be immediately suspended. The faculty leaders of the impacted program(s) may request the International Travel Advisory Committee for a program suspension waiver. Waivers apply to single iterations of a specific program only (unless specified during the review). A waiver for one program in a country does not automatically apply to another program in that same country, nor will waivers be extended for additional iterations of the program. Faculty members may be required to complete additional administrative requirements to comply with University policy on travel to destinations with DOS Travel Warnings.

If a travel or travel health warning is issued for a country in which Clemson operates faculty-led study abroad programs while the program is in session but where circumstances pose no immediate threat to student health or safety, the program will be reviewed by the International Travel Advisory Committee which will make a recommendation to the President and Provost about whether or not the program should be suspended and participants evacuated. In the case of an immediate threat to student health, safety, or welfare, the International Travel Advisory Committee has the discretion to suspend the program and begin evacuation immediately.

Non-Clemson Programs

If a travel or travel health warning is issued for a country in which a Clemson student wishes to study on a non-Clemson program, the student is required to complete a request for a waiver before Clemson funds may be used or academic credit received. The International Travel Advisory Committee will review the request and make a recommendation to the President and Provost. The final decision to grant or deny a waiver will be made by the President, and the student will be notified of the decision.

If the waiver is denied, the student may not used any Clemson funds for his/her study abroad program or receive academic credit either concurrent with the program or after return. In addition, in the case of denial, the Office of Global Engagement will not provide any support to students who still wish to participate in program(s) located in countries with Travel Warnings and will not be able to maintain the student's enrollment at Clemson during the study abroad program.

If the waiver is granted, then the student may participate in the program and will receive access to all regular study abroad services offered by Clemson. The university is not responsible for the decision of the student to travel to locations under Travel or Travel Health Warnings.

Clemson Students Conducting Independent Travel

If a Travel or Travel Health Warning is issued for a country in which a Clemson student wishes to conduct independent travel, the student may not use Clemson funds or receive academic credit, either concurrent with travel or after return. This policy applies to all Clemson students (undergraduate and graduate) who are receiving funds from Clemson to pay for a portion or all of their expenses for independent travel (independent study, research, conference attendance, etc). Students may submit a request for a travel policy waiver to the International Travel Advisory Committee. If the waiver is granted, then students must complete the normal application process or submit participant information as appropriate to the activity. The university is not responsible for the decision of the student to travel to locations under Travel or Travel Health Warnings. If the request is denied, then students may not use Clemson funds or receive academic credit from Clemson University for work completed in the country either concurrently or retroactively.

Other Situations

Clemson University reserves the right to cancel or alter any program when we determine, based on a review of relevant information and resources, that the security or health of students may be threatened, even if the DOS or WHO have not yet issued a travel or travel health warning.

The following information is provided to participants regarding the range of aspects of participants' overseas experiences that are beyond Clemson University's control.

Clemson University CAN NOT:
  • Guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks from the study abroad/international environment.
  • Monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.
  • Prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities.
  • Assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or locate, provide or pay for legal representation for participants.
  • Assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by Clemson University for events that are not part of the program; or that are beyond the control of Clemson University and its subcontractors; or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information.
  • Assure that home-country cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.

International Travel Advisory Committee

The International Travel Advisory Committee reviews safety and security conditions associated with Clemson study abroad programs and independent international travel undertaken by students. The committee is responsible for recommending to the President and Provost when students may use Clemson funds and receive academic credit for travel to international destinations. In addition to the DOS, WHO and other government and organization information, the committee considers a variety of factors - the most important being the safety of the students.

The International Travel Advisory Committee consists of the following permanent members or their representatives:

  • Vice Provost for Global Engagement
  • Director of Study Abroad
  • Dean of Students
  • Representative from the Office of General Counsel

As circumstances warrant, the International Travel Advisory Committee may also invite the following individuals to provide additional information:

  • Clemson faculty or administrators with significant expertise in the affected country or region
  • Dean of the College sponsoring the study abroad program or independent travel
  • Other individuals as needed

Request to allow travel to Countries Subject to Travel or Travel Health Warnings

Submit request three months prior to travel and include the following information:

1. Formal Request for Waiver of Student International Travel Policy. Request must explain the purpose of travel and why the particular location is essential to proposer's academic study or research and why the program could not be relocated to an alternative location. Request should include the program proposal, associated syllabi, anticipated credit, detailed travel itinerary and dates.

2. Security Preparations and Emergency Plans:

  1. Provide detailed information on the security situation in the country to be visited. Resources for this information should include the Department of State warnings and advisories, Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), similar documents from other countries such as Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, as well as sources known to faculty/researcher through their professional networks.
  2. Explain the precautions planned to mitigate risks to participants and program. These should include a description of how students/participants will be informed about and prepared to manage any risks of travel.
  3. Provide details of any institution or key contacts with which you are partnering. Include a list of their key personnel, contact information and their emergency protocols (if available).
  4. Describe faculty/researchers' previous experience in the country and/or leading University programs abroad.
  5. Outline your preparations to mitigate risk and respond to potential crises (e.g., terrorist incident, epidemic, natural disaster).
  6. Describe your communication plan with the group (if applicable), with the University and with emergency contacts in the event of a crisis.

3. Awareness of Circumstances:

  1. Provide a letter from the department chair or supervisor for each faculty or staff traveler confirming a discussion regarding the risks of travel to the proposed destination and stating approval for traveler to visit the proposed destination.
  2. Faculty and students may be required to submit additional paperwork and/or waivers to participate in a program granted a travel policy waiver.

4. Proof of Insurance and Release and Indemnification: All travelers will be required to purchase the University's study abroad insurance and to sign Conditions of Participation and Release and Indemnification Agreement - for Countries Under a U.S. Travel Warning.

5. Embassy Registration: Confirm that all travelers will register with the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest their destination prior to arrival and will keep the U.S. embassy or consulate informed of their whereabouts while in-country. This should be done at http://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp.

Please see the Guidelines for Requesting Waiver of Student Travel Policy to review the steps of the travel waiver policy process and to see a sample emergency plan. 

Last reviewed and approved by university counsel: Sept. 2012