Safety and Security
Vanderbilt has contracted with International SOS (ISOS) to provide travel assistance and evacuation services for all students, faculty and staff members traveling internationally on Vanderbilt related business. Read a summary of services here.
The ISOS portal provides invaluable pre-departure information on specific locations, including required vaccinations, health and safety information.
Prior to embarking on an international trip, all VU travelers should complete the Personal Traveler Locator on the portal. Registration is required for students. This ensures coverage and provides the contact information needed by ISOS and Vanderbilt to locate the traveler in the event of a crisis or emergency.
Role of the Committee
The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee is responsible for authorizing an education or service abroad opportunity that is sponsored by the University or involves University programs when there is a significant health or safety concern.
The Committee is also responsible for deciding whether to suspend an education abroad opportunity when health or safety concerns emerge shortly before a program starts or while it is in progress.
The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee is chaired by the Vice Provost for Faculty and International Affairs. The other members of the Committee are the General Counsel, the Vice-Chancellor for Public Affairs, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Risk and Insurance Management, the Dean of Students, the Associate Director of the Institute for Global Health, the Director of International Clinical & Administrative Initiatives, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, the Manager of Compliance, and the Director of the Global Education Office, or their designees.
Vanderbilt-sponsored travel (as defined in the Student International Travel Policy) may be restricted in countries for which one or more of the following applies:
- The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning;
- International SOS has rated the country as High Risk or Extremely High Risk;
- The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control or other governmental health agency has information that there are serious disease or other health hazards present that warrant suspension of travel to that country;
- The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee (SARAC) has determined that there are other safety concerns that warrant restriction of travel.
A list of restricted countries/regions can be found here.
SARAC will review and update the list of restricted travel sites semi-annually based on the criteria listed above.
Requests for Exception to Restricted Travel Destinations
Students who wish to travel to a country included on the restricted travel site list referenced above must submit a “Request for Exception to Travel” to SARAC for review. Please see the Student International Travel Policy for details and forms.
Faculty and staff planning to lead a group of students to a country on the restricted regions list must also request exception from SARAC. Please contact VIO for details and forms (ext. 2-3444).back to top
Criteria for Suspension or Cancellation
The Committee is also responsible for deciding whether to suspend an education abroad opportunity when health or safety concerns emerge shortly before a program starts or while it is in progress. Suspension or cancellation of a program will be considered should one or more of the following events occur:
- Declaration of war between the US against the host country or an adjacent neighbor
- Declaration of war involving a third country and the country of the program’s location
- Protracted or indefinite closure of the university where the program is located
- Inability of the local staff to organize and carry out an academic program outside of the university
- Disruption of public utilities and/or services
- Declaration of martial law in the program city or country
- Significant terrorist activity in the program city or country
- Wide-spread civil unrest, violence, criminal activity and/or rioting
- Recommendation for suspension/cancellation by the institution program staff in the host country
- Travel warning and/or specific directive by the US State Department and/or US Embassy
- Recommended evacuation by local officials
- Widespread disease or epidemic
- Severe weather advisory such as hurricane warnings
The decision to suspend or cancel will be based on information from:
- The program staff in the host country
- University officials at the overseas partner university
- US Embassy officials in the host country
- Other officials from US agencies and/or NGOs, as well as the appropriate US State Department Country Desk Officer(s)
In the case of students on CIEE, CET or IFSA Butler, or other provider programs, Vanderbilt University will generally follow the procedures of the program provider, but reserves the right to make an independent decision.
In the event of an emergency abroad that requires assistance beyond or in addition to what the local authorities can provide, please contact ISOS at +1.215.942.8478 (call collect where available). Vanderbilt's membership number is 11BSGM000066.