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Policy for Student Travel to Travel Warning Countries

Responsible Office: Reves Center for International Studies

Effective Date: February 6, 2012

Revision Date: First Version

I. Scope

This policy applies to all undergraduate student travel sponsored, organized, supported or recognized by the College of William & Mary, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (the university).  Travel is sponsored, organized, supported, or recognized by the university when any of the following occurs:

  • It is  funded by the university, whether through public or private funds; 
  • It is part of a university international program – a program organized and administered by the university;
  • It is part of a program or trip administered by another institution or organization under an agreement with William & Mary;
  • Students receive university academic credit for courses taken during the travel; or
  • It is organized by the university, such as trips organized and led by members of the faculty, acting in their official capacity.

This policy does not cover student travel that is outside W&M’s institutional auspices, including non-W&M spring break travel or travel between semesters.  It also does not apply to personal travel taken prior or after to or during travel covered by this policy, such as a weekend trip taken by a student participating in a semester abroad program.  Students are responsible for all costs and risks associated with such travel, including for emergencies, evacuations, and missed program expenses. Travel to countries under a Travel Warning even during independent breaks during an approved international program may, however, jeopardize a student’s continued participation in the program.

II. Purpose

The university strongly supports internationalization initiatives including international travel by students. The university also recognizes the risks to safety and security of students engaging in such travel, particularly the risks outlined by the U.S. Department of State when it issues a Travel Warning.  This policy establishes the circumstances under which student travel to countries subject to a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is permitted.

III. Policy

A.   Prior Approval for Travel to Travel Warning Countries Required.  Without receiving prior approval through a special review process by the University Travel Warning Review Committee (the TWRC), undergraduate students will not be able to transfer credit, register for study abroad, participate in university-affiliated travel, or use university-based funding for travel to a country under a Department of State Travel Warning.  Approvals are granted by the TWRC. 

Undergraduate students should contact the Vice Provost for International Affairs or the Director of Global Education at the Reves Center for additional information on how to petition for approval to travel on a College-related program in a country under a DOS Travel Warning.

 The TWRC includes the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Director of Global Education, and the University Compliance and Policy Officer, in consultation with University Counsel and the relevant academic Dean(s).  In addition, the TWRC will invite appropriate members of the William & Mary faculty with relevant regional expertise to provide their views on all proposals it considers.  The committee will consider the following factors in assessing undergraduate students’ individual and group petitions and making its decision on whether or not to support the travel:

  •  The level of warning and specific details of the Travel Warning as this information relates to the student’s travel;
  • Any federal regulations affecting William & Mary support for the proposed program abroad;
  • Recommendations and warnings from expert faculty;
  • Security briefings and limitations to evacuation coverage by a contracted security company;
  • The academic and personal preparation of the student(s) applying for travel to a Travel Warning country, including prior language study, regional studies, international experiences, and preparatory actions;
  • The level of onsite support to handle emergencies. Emergency preparation includes information about the specific destination, mode of daily transportation, emergency response plans, and responsiveness and emergency plans by onsite coordinators;
  • The academic or service learning necessity of such travel at this time.

B.  Travel Warnings Issued After Student Departure.  Should a Travel Warning be issued while an undergraduate student is already in the subject country, the Travel Warning Review Committee will convene to assess the situation and make appropriate recommendations and decisions based on concerns for the safety and security of student participants. Depending on the above-defined factors, the TWRC may recommend immediate departure and suspension of the program (if applicable).

III. Approval and Interpretation

This policy was approved by the Provost.  Questions regarding the application of this policy can be answered by the Vice Provost for International Affairs.