Archive for Tuesday, June 28, 2011

KU considers allowing students to study abroad in countries with State Department travel warnings

June 28, 2011

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Officials who oversee Kansas University’s study abroad program are considering a policy that would allow students to study in countries with State Department travel warnings, if a committee of KU officials deems it to be safe.

Current KU policy forbids any undergraduate students from studying in any country with a State Department travel warning.

Sue Lorenz, director of KU’s study abroad program, said that some graduate students and faculty members can apply for exemptions from the policy through KU’s Office of International Programs to pursue their research.

The move could give KU the flexibility to allow students to study abroad in situations where the risk to their safety remains minimal, despite travel warnings.

“When there was (a tsunami) that was located in Japan, we had a student in the far west of Japan that probably wasn’t very close to the action at all,” said Susan Gronbeck-Tedesco, associate vice provost for international programs.

Also, a warning regarding drug violence in Mexico has caused KU to suspend its long-standing arrangement with a university in Puebla, a city far south of much of the violence.

Lorenz said the review committee would potentially include KU administrators, one or more people who could offer legal counsel, someone from the international programs office and someone from the office of study abroad.

The committee might also get advice from faculty and staff who have expertise in the areas under consideration, Lorenz said.

KU’s current policy is in place at many other public institutions, Lorenz said, but many private institutions have regulations that aren’t as restrictive.

KU’s new committee and new policy could be in place by the spring 2012 semester.

“We needed to take a look at this policy,” Gronbeck-Tedesco said, and review the kinds of policies that could expand available options while still ensuring the safety of KU students studying abroad.

Comments

KU_cynic 3 years, 10 months ago

The world is a dangerous place......period. It is unfortunate that affairs have evolved to the point that there is a presumption that KU or other universities can guarantee the safety and security of students, staff, and faculty at all times and in all places.

KU and other universities have to be able to move beyond the nanny-state mentality of neo-in-loco-parentis and allow students, staff, and faculty members to make their own decisions about where to travel for study and research -- naturally without any assumed liability to KU in the event that something unfortunate happens.

Sean Livingstone 3 years, 10 months ago

Anywhere in the world can be dangerous, even here in the United States. We should focus too much on what will limit us, but we should focus on what will broaden our mind. I agree with you.

RoeDapple 3 years, 10 months ago

With students facing armed robbery and assault on the streets of Lawrence are they really any safer here?

Vinny1 3 years, 10 months ago

How about this...students know the risk of going, let them go. They sign away liability. Why should the school care? Let the kids go where they want to go.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 10 months ago

Why even have the state department warnings if we are going to arbitrarily ignore them. In other news, KU announces that graduate students will only have to stop at stop signs that the college deems "important". KU graduate students will only have to drive the speed limit in places where "it's really an issue"

ivalueamerica 3 years, 10 months ago

State department warnings are NOT simply a public service, they are political. Living abroad, i have seen the exact same criteria judged very differently in countries depending on their trade and relations with the USA.

oldbaldguy 3 years, 10 months ago

folks wil go where they want to go regardless of warnings. if it is under KU's auspices there has to be full disclosure to the studentii who are going and let them make up their own mind. Look at the 3 American hikers that were grabbed by the Iranians and are being held hostage to trade for some Iranians we grabbed in Irag.

KU should not be held responsible it something bad happens so long as it clear there are threats in the country and the students know it.

rtwngr 3 years, 10 months ago

Another bunch of academics thinking that they know better than everybody else because they have, what, tenure??? If it were my child and they wound up in a dangerous area because some KU professor deemed it "safe", I don't know that I would be able to contain myself. Heed the warnings, KU!

KU_cynic 3 years, 10 months ago

KU doesn't need to offer or confirm any official travel warnings. Instead, your adult child (with your help as needed) can take in the available information and make a decision. Again, KU is not a nanny to your adult child.

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