Tightened OIP Travel Requirements Unveiled
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 02:10
A new Office of International Programs policy now requires all students, faculty and staff to register school-related international travel plans with the university.
The policy change was announced in an email sent to the campus community by Chief Operation Officer Chris Augostini Monday night.
“In adopting this policy, we are enhancing our ability to locate and communicate with students, faculty and staff traveling abroad so that we may provide support in the event of a crisis such as a natural disaster, political unrest or a medical emergency,” the email read.
The change comes after a particularly tumultuous year and a half for OIP. In January 2011,the university evacuated all 15 students studying in Egypt amid protests against the regime of president Hosni Mubarak. Two months later, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, which prompted the university to cancel its spring semester program there and requested that all students abroad in Japan return to the United States.
According to OIP Executive Director Katherine Bellows, the change had been in the works before these events.
“The decision to expand that policy had been planned for several years,” Bellows wrote in an email. “The university realized that more students, staff and faculty were traveling internationally, so by expanding the policy, we are now able to provide support and information to more of the Georgetown community.”
Previous guidelines required faculty and staff considering travel to areas issued Travel Warnings by the Department of State to request and obtain permission from the university in advance. Now, Georgetown will mandate that all travelers take these steps.
Personal information submitted through the travel registration system is now available to the university in the event of crisis or emergency. Georgetown is able to provide resources such as medical support, translation services, embassy information, repatriation and security and medical evacuation.
Bellows is confident that the new policy enables the university to accommodate the needs of students, faculty and staff traveling abroad.
“[The policy] addresses in a comprehensive and consistent manner the best ways to prepare for potential risks of international travel,” Bellows wrote in an email.
Students, staff and faculty can register their itinerary and emergency contact information by booking travel through the university’s preferred travel agencies or manually register through the International SOS Personal Travel Locator book.