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Travel Policy

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Policy for Countries Presenting Substantial Risk

Oberlin College & Conservatory recognizes that our students are engaged global citizens wishing to learn from and participate in diverse cultures around the world. We also recognize that some countries pose substantial risk for Americans, American students, inexperienced travelers, and/or individual or unaccompanied travelers.
The following policy addresses concerns about the health and safety of students during international travel to countries or regions of countries on Oberlin College’s list of Countries that Present Substantial Risk found on the Study Away Website www.studyaway.oberlin.edu (document needs to be created).

Countries are placed on this list after extensive research and consultation utilizing a variety of sources listed at the end of this document. Permission for travel under College sponsorship may be denied at any time and decisions may be reversed after approval is initially granted if the political climate or security situation changes.
Risk of political instability, terrorism, civil unrest, extreme weather, disease, and other factors must be taken seriously by our staff, faculty, students, and their families. Maintaining the safety of Oberlin students and faculty during their international learning experiences is a priority for Oberlin College & Conservatory. In order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff while studying and working/researching in diverse locations, all students, faculty, and staff are required to adhere to the following policy with regard to the locations of study.

The first step is to visit the the Study Away website for the list of countries that present substantial risk. While faculty and staff are not specifically included in this policy, they are urged to consider their travel locations carefully. Faculty and staff are requested to adhere to this policy as well.  Faculty and staff traveling to high-risk locations to pursue academic endeavors will be reviewed carefully and presented with a suggested list of health and safety considerations and considerations.  We do not anticipate denying faculty or staff the ability to pursue and carry out their academic pursuits.

For students or faculty planning to travel to a country on the list of countries that present substantial risk for any college-sponsored activity in which either Oberlin College credit is earned, Oberlin funding is used, or transfer credit is applied toward a degree, permission to travel to this destination may be requested by submitting the following:
  • Detailed plans for safety and security in response to travel warnings found on the State Department, UK, CDC and other sources listed at the end of this document
  • The ground travel itinerary within the destination
  • Programmatic or other supports available to the students while in the destination
  • The specific academic justification for studying in the destination
Petitions to travel to countries that present substantial risk will be read carefully by a Travel Warning Committee whose members will include relevant representatives from the Office of Dean of Students, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences or Dean of the Conservatory, Office of Study Away, Off Campus Studies Committee, and Winter Term Committee. Decisions will be based on careful evaluation of the petitioner's response to the specific risks that various sources deem likely at destination and the evidence of preparation and risk averse planning presented in the Travel Safety Petition.

Excepted from this policy are certain semester-long Oberlin Affiliated Programs with which the College has a long-established relationship and has reviewed the safety and security procedures for those programs. For a listing of these programs, please visit the website Study Away Programs tab.

Oberlin students are not permitted to receive academic credit or use College or Conservatory funding for activities in countries that present substantial risk.  Furthermore, if an individual submits a Travel Safety Petition and is denied approval, no Oberlin funds may be used to fund the eventual visit, nor will any credits be awarded for any academic endeavors completed in that location.

If travel is granted, participants will be required to sign a special participation agreement prior to departing on the program/project.

In the event that conditions place the destination on the Oberlin list while a student, faculty, or staff member is participating in a program already underway for which Oberlin has agreed to consider either awarding or transferring credit or has provided funding, the Travel Warning Committee will evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis consulting relevant stakeholders on-campus if necessary.   

Procedures for requesting travel to a country that poses significant risk:
  • Meet with staff in the Study Away/Winter Term office to discuss concerns related to travel at the requested destination.
  • Submit Travel Safety Petition
  • Answer any additional questions/concerns requested by deadline specified in the request.
  • Acknowledge understanding that travel approval may be revisited or revoked at any time if the circumstances in the country change.
  • Sign the special participation agreement.

Sources of Essential Information
Prior to international travel, faculty, staff, and students should become aware of the associated risks of the places they will visit, as well as the risks of any places through which they will transit enroute to their destination. The following resources will be of help.

U.S. State Department
Australian Government Travel Advice
Canadian Government Travel Advice
U.K. Government Travel Advice
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention