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UW-Madison travel resources, guidelines and policies

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, sent the following email communication about UW-Madison travel resources, guidelines and policies to members of the UW-Madison community on 2/18/2015:

The attached document, UW-Madison Travel Resources, Guidelines and Policies, is the result of work by the 2013-14 University International Travel Committee (UITC), in consultation with an array of committees and administrative units across campus. We ask every UW-Madison student, faculty and staff member who is considering international travel to read and understand the Travel Resources, Guidelines and Policies document. The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is a matter of the highest concern as we seek to heighten learning outcomes abroad while mitigating and managing the risks of international travel.

The policy acknowledges that there is a balance between risk and the wonderful learning opportunities present in international education, research and outreach. The standard adopted at UW-Madison for this balance is the federal Travel Warning and Advisory process. This document establishes a reasonable and conscientious framework for safe and secure student travel under the university’s auspices.

The University International Travel Committee, a representative body charged by the Office of the Provost, administers the travel policy with the International Safety and Security Director (ISSD). The UITC will also review and consider requests for waiver to the policy. This is an important aspect of the policy in that the university understands that international experiences are unique and sometimes require knowledgeable review in order to determine the degree to which a given standard of risk is present in the undertaking. This certainly is true if a program desires travel to a country or region under a Travel Warning. If there are any questions regarding the Travel Resources, Guidelines and Policies document, please contact Ron Machoian, the UW-Madison ISSD, at (608) 890-2446 or rmachoian@bussvc.wisc.edu.

We sincerely appreciate your support for our collective efforts to ensure that UW-Madison’s vibrant presence abroad is marked by both safety and success!

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

International Travel Resources, Guidelines and Policies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2/11/2015

In support of the international work that is needed to help carry out UW-Madison’s mission
in which faculty, staff and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all, the safety and security of UW-Madison Employees and Students abroad is of utmost importance. In order to help protect our Employees and Students, the following resources, guidelines and policies were adopted to ensure a consistent set of standards are followed to address concerns about the health and safety of UW-Madison (“University”) Employees and Students during University-affiliated international travel.

It is not the intention of the University’s “International Travel Resources, Guidelines and Policies,” either explicitly or implicitly, to intrude upon or otherwise restrict the academic freedom of any member of the University community. It is the sole intention to provide a framework for safeguarding the University community with respect to University-affiliated international travel.

For the purpose of this document, University-affiliated travel includes, but is not limited to: travel funded by or disbursed through a University account; travel organized, endorsed and/or sponsored by a University Employee; or travel that involves academic credit granted by the University.

The first section of this document discusses resources for international travel available to University Employees and Students. The second section addresses University Employee travel. The third section of the document addresses University Student travel.

The policies and guidelines discussed in this document are in addition to, and do not replace, any other University policies, most notably:

Accounting Services Travel Policies & Procedures: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/acct/policy/ppindex.html

UW System Policies: http://www.wisconsin.edu/spp.htm

I. Resources

A. International Safety & Security Director: The International Safety & Security Director (“Director”) shall serve as the University’s responsible official for promoting the health, safety, and security of the University’s Employees and Students abroad. The duties of the Director shall include:

i. Policy Development, Review & Implementation;
ii. Proactive Risk Assessment & Emergency Preparedness;
iii. Crisis Management (including 24/7 availability to advise on emergencies related to international University-affiliated activities);
iv. Training and Outreach; and
v. Coordination of University Resources in Support of Safety and Security Abroad.

B. Prior to and during traveling, UW-Madison students, staff and faculty are expected to monitor the U.S. Department of State travel information including Country Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerts and notices. To receive the latest travel updates and country information, University Employees and Students are encouraged to register on-line with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program (STEP).

Important web sites include:
U.S. State Department:
· General: http://www.state.gov/travel
· Tips for Traveling Abroad: http://travel.his.com/travel/tips/tips_1232.html
· STEP Program Registration: http://travel.his.com/travel/tips/registration/registration_4789.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
· General: http://www.cdc.gov/travel
· Survival Guide to Safe and Health Travel: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/survival-guide.htm

C. University-affiliated travelers should address any health and safety concerns prior to departure. Recommended steps include consultation with personal medical and/or mental health providers to develop plans for ongoing healthcare needs, a visit to a specialized travel medicine provider for required or recommended preventive immunizations and medications, a dental check-up, and education about health and safety in the travel destination. Many University programs and activities also may request the completion of the UW-Madison Affiliated International Travel Health & Wellness Information Form which provides health information in the event of an emergency.

D. For additional resources related to international travel, visit the University’s International Travel website at http://internationaltravel.wisc.edu.

E. For questions regarding this policy, individuals may contact the chairperson(s) of the University International Travel Committee (“UITC”).

II. University Employees

A. For the purpose of these policies, the term “University Employees” includes all persons employed by the University as Faculty, Academic Staff, Classified Staff, Student Assistants, Employees-in-Training, and Limited Unclassified Staff Appointments as defined by applicable University policies and as applicable to the particular travel experience. For a student who is also an employee, in order to be considered a “University Employee” for the purposes of this policy, the University-affiliated travel must fall within the scope of his/her employment at the University.

B. Documentation regarding international travel:

i. To ensure coverage by the Wisconsin State Liability and Worker’s Compensation Programs, University Employees are advised to confirm with their Dean (or designate), Chair, or employment supervisor in writing the individual’s University-affiliated international travel plans before commencing travel. This written documentation serves to confirm the University-affiliated travel is deemed to be related to the mission of the University and that the University Employee will be acting within the scope of employment while traveling.

ii. Please note that undocumented travel and personal side trips unrelated to University business may not be covered under the State’s Liability or Worker’s Compensation programs. Employees are encouraged to obtain supplementary medical and repatriation coverage independently for such activities.

C. While traveling abroad, University Employees involved in educational/research activities abroad are automatically enrolled in a special medical evacuation and repatriation program (currently through the Europ Assistance program) and are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) program for other health and medical support coverages. University Employees are covered by worker’s compensation if injured in the course of employment regardless of work location.

D. The University strongly recommends against, but does not prohibit, University Employee travel to countries where the U.S. Department of State has issued an official Travel Warning, or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks. The final decision regarding travel to such areas lies with the University Employee and their respective employment supervisor.

i. No University Employee will be required to travel to a country under a Travel Warning to fulfill their employment duties.

ii. The University reserves the right to require the execution of an appropriate assumption of risk form and/or release before authorizing any arrangement of and/or funding for travel to areas where the U.S. Department of State has issued an official Travel Warning, or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks.

iii. University Employees who are in an area at the time a Travel Warning for the area is issued, are advised to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain all relevant information and guidance, and are advised to leave the area by the most expeditious and secure means available. They are further advised to contact their sponsoring University department at the earliest opportunity with information about their whereabouts and plans.

E. It is the responsibility of all University Employees who intend to take equipment, technology or software abroad to confirm they are in compliance with U.S. export control laws. Information regarding the University Export Control Program can be found at http://www.grad.wisc.edu/research/policyrp/rpac/exportcontrol.htm.

III. University Students

A. University Students participating in University-affiliated international travel are required to notify in writing the appropriate University faculty and/or staff member associated with the affiliated activity. Participating Students will follow all activity or program-specific requirements, if applicable, for University-affiliated travel. These may include, but are not be limited to, completing travel documentation forms and providing copies of their passports’ information pages, airline or other travel tickets, in-country contact information and itineraries.

B. University Students are required to have comprehensive health insurance including coverage for medical care while abroad, including medical evacuation and repatriation; Students studying/traveling abroad under a University-affiliated program must enroll in health insurance through the University of Wisconsin System approved insurance plan. For more information visit: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/risk_mgt/study_abroad.html.

C. Travel Warning Policy for University Students

i. The following policy regarding travel to countries under a Travel Warning from the U.S. Department of State and/or the CDC has been developed to help protect the safety and well-being of those Students who travel abroad for University-affiliated purposes.

a) The University will typically not operate a program in or send a Student to any country for which a Travel Warning has been issued, and Students will not be required to study or do research in a country under a Travel Warning in order to satisfy a course or degree requirement. Any participant who wishes to decline participation in a program or activity in a country under a Travel Warning should be accommodated. University Students who have a compelling educational reason to travel to or remain in such countries may submit a request for consideration for an individual exemption as outlined below.

b) When the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning recommending U.S. citizens depart the country or region immediately, all University Students (or their program coordinator, if applicable) who are in the country must contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain all relevant information and guidance, and must leave the country by the most expeditious and secure means available in coordination with CISI and the University. University Students (or their program coordinator, if applicable) are required to contact their sponsoring University department or program at the earliest opportunity with information about their whereabouts and plans. The University will not continue to support Students who choose to remain in or travel to a country for which a recommendation of immediate departure has been issued. This may include the withdrawal of financial, material or intellectual support as well as negate any prior approval for the transfer or granting of academic credit for coursework or experiences in the country.

c) Faculty or staff accompanying University Students abroad in violation of this policy will not be considered as acting within the scope of their employment during the unapproved travel and may not receive the legal protections provided to state agency Employees under the Wisconsin State Liability and Worker’s Compensation Program; they therefore risk personal liability.

d) Travel Warning Policy Exemptions

i. University Students, either as individual travelers or as part of a group, who have a compelling educational reason to participate in University-affiliated travel to countries under a current U.S. Travel Warning may submit a request for consideration for an individual or group exemption to this policy prior to making travel arrangements to such countries.

ii. The Travel Warning Policy Exemption Request Form must be submitted to the International Safety & Security Director for the UITC’s consideration by the University Student, or in the case of travel through an organized program, by the sponsoring unit.

iii. A Travel Warning Policy Exemption may be granted under those circumstances when:

a. there are academic or research objectives which can only be achieved through travel to the proposed locations; and

b. the safety and security risks posed by the travel can be adequately mitigated.

iv. Please refer to: http://internationaltravel.wisc.edu for the current Travel Warning Policy Exemption Request Forms waiver forms and application process and procedures.

e) When a University Student and/or Program is Currently in Progress and a Travel Warning in the Country is Issued:

i. The UITC will review the Travel Warning to determine if the circumstances pose a threat to the health or safety of the individuals. The International Safety & Security Director and the UITC will consider whether the individual travelers and/or programs should continue and whether any restrictions must be implemented (e.g., limiting travel within a country under a Travel Warning). All participants’ requests to leave a program in a country under a Travel Warning should be accommodated as soon as possible.

ii. In the case of an immediate threat to Student or Student group’s health, safety or welfare, the International Safety & Security Director or other designated University official may immediately suspend a program or a University Student’s travel and begin evacuation proceedings. Such action will be immediately communicated to the Chancellor, the Provost, UITC, and University Communications.

f) University Students applying to non-University of Wisconsin-Madison Programs in Countries with Travel Warnings: The University will not provide any support to Students who wish to participate in non-University programs located in countries with Travel Warnings. A University Student who is planning to transfer academic credit from participation in a non-University program in a country with a Travel Warning will submit a request for a Travel Warning Policy Exemption PRIOR to travel.

These guidelines and policies were developed by the 2013-14 University International Travel Committee and approved by the Provost. Revisions to this document may be implemented by the UITC. Questions about this policy should be directed to the International Safety & Security Director.

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