Shenandoah University International Travel Policy
In keeping with Shenandoah University’s commitment to educate compassionate citizens with respect for diverse cultures, experiences, and perspectives, Shenandoah University endeavors to support and promote intentional international experiences and travel.
Shenandoah University has long encouraged and supported international travel by its faculty, staff, and students, and is aware that such travel may pose significant safety risks. Therefore, the university has created an International Travel Policy applicable to all faculty, staff, and students of Shenandoah University engaged in university supported or sponsored programs and activities. Shenandoah University employees and students participating in university affiliated international travel must register their travel plans in advance. Travel involving SU students must be planned and approved as described below. The university reserves the right to restrict, deny, or postpone any university sponsored or supported international travel program or activity, if in the determination of the president or her designee the risk of travel is substantial. University faculty, staff, and students who do not follow this policy will bear full responsibility for any liability resulting from their travel.
To ensure that international travel is properly authorized, all units should follow the procedures contained in the International Travel and Safety Procedures. University-sponsored travel should not be planned in areas under a US Department of State Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory. Requests for travel advisory waivers will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the International Risk Management committee and appropriate administrative officer(s).
- International Travel and Safety Procedures
- All international travel sponsored by academic units or administrative departments and involving students must be approved in advance by the respective dean or unit head.
- International activities sponsored by SU-recognized student clubs and organizations must follow procedures issued by the Office of Student Engagement.
- All participants in university-affiliated international activities must register online using the Center for International Programs’ travel registration system. This will involve submitting an itinerary and a passport copy, signing a Travel Waiver and completing emergency contact information prior to departure. This information will be maintained in the Center for International Programs database.
- All study abroad programs and university-sponsored international activities involving students must include pre-departure orientation(s) for all participants.
- The academic or administrative unit sponsoring the activity will conduct or arrange for pre-departure orientation session(s) and will ensure that all participants attend or receive the materials in written or electronic formats.
- At a minimum, the pre-departure orientation(s) must include a discussion of appropriate and expected behavior for participants; potential social, health, political, economic and legal risks involved in the experience; and emergency procedures in case of individual or group incidents.
- All travelers will be subject to the laws of the United States related to international travel, including without limitation, the Export Control Laws. (See Export Control Guidelines). In addition, all travelers will be subject to the laws and customs of the locations they visit. Shenandoah University is not responsible for the violation of any laws and customs by travelers.
- The SU Conduct Code, Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook, Academic Integrity Code, and other academic policies or rules apply to all university-sponsored activities abroad.
- International Travel Advisory Policy
- SU is committed to maintaining the health and safety of faculty, staff and students while promoting international experiences. Therefore, University-sponsored travel should not be planned in areas in countries or specific areas within countries for which the Department of State (DoS) has issued a Travel Advisory of Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel). The rationale for this policy is that areas under these level of Travel Advisories are considered to be unstable and potentially unsafe and that the US government cannot ensure its citizens emergency assistance in that location. However, the University recognizes that a Travel Advisory does not always negate compelling academic reasons for travelling to a country, and that security situations may vary considerably in different parts of a country under a Travel Advisory.
- Requests for waivers to the Travel Advisory Policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the International Risk Management Committee and appropriate administrative officer(s) under the process described below. If a level 3 or 4 advisory is issued after the program is approved/underway, the International Risk Management Committee will review each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate course of action. Refunds will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may depend on specific service-provider refund policies.
- Requests for Travel Advisory Waivers
In some circumstances, SU may consider an exception to the travel advisory policy. Such circumstances could include programs and program leaders with a long and safe history in a specific location; program activities that are restricted to local areas that are not affected by country-wide concerns; and student participants who are uniquely qualified for the proposed activities. Requests should be submitted to the International Risk Management Committee by the identified trip leader and include the following information:
- Description of the learning, service, and/or research objectives of the trip.
- The importance of the program to the educational, research, service, or professional development of the group or individual.
- The political and physical conditions at the proposed site that could impact health and safety.
- The level of risk to the individual or group health and safety, including the traveler’s knowledge of the area and conditions. Topics to address include:
- qualifications of those involved – leaders, participants and partners;
- geographic location, its political and legal environment and its history of safety;
- physical environment including roads, buildings and equipment;
- modes of ground transportation;
- proximity to emergency and health support such as hospitals
- number of participants and leaders;
- design of the program including types of activities and established rules;
- established emergency procedures and participant training;
- awareness of and mitigation of possible risks;
- contracts with clear responsibilities and obligations;
- adequate health/medical and liability insurance coverage.
- A description of travel conditions within the country and an evacuation plan should it become necessary.
- A signed Travel Advisory Waiver/Release form for each traveler.
- Waiver review process and timeline
- The request for a waiver to the Travel Advisory Policy must first be approved by the respective dean or unit head.
- The waiver request should then be submitted (click here for online form) to the International Risk Management Committee for review during the program proposal phase which as a general rule should be no later than six months prior to departure.
- Review of the waiver application will take place within 2-3 weeks of submission. Following the review the IRMC will make a recommendation which will include whether or not a program should run, as well as what change of conditions might cause the recommendation to change.
- At least two weeks prior to departure, the trip leader will provide a status update, including a description of any changes that have occurred since the initial proposal that may impact the health and safety of travelers.
- The waiver requests and approval documents will be kept on file for reference and insurance purposes.
- Requests for Travel Advisory Waivers
- International Risk Management Committee
- International Travel and Safety Procedures
An International Risk Management Committee shall be established to manage the following tasks:
- Review and make recommendations on all travel waiver applications.
- Review and develop a plan for any situation requiring a comprehensive response that occurs while an individual or group is out of the country.
- Make recommendations for enhancements or changes to travel guidelines.
The IRMC will be composed of representatives of relevant offices and units across campus. Temporary members may be added to address case-specific situation. (e.g. representatives from program, faculty with expertise).
Distribution and Change of Policy and Procedures
This policy should be made available to every person traveling abroad for any SU-sponsored program or activity.
Shenandoah University reserves the right to change this policy and procedures in light of changing circumstances affecting travel, safety, health, or other matters related to the best interest of the University.