Published September 3, 2020
As a global university, USC encourages students to gain international experience through a variety of programs, including study abroad, internships abroad, and international service trips. In light of the growing number of programs abroad, it is important to be prepared from a university-wide perspective to respond to emergencies that might occur abroad, and to make well-reasoned decisions about appropriate destinations for USC-sponsored student travel and study.
It is at the discretion of the Provost and/or the Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives to restrict travel by USC-sponsored student international trips to destinations with State Department travel warnings, Center for Disease Control (CDC) warnings, or other indicators that might suggest conditions are unhealthful or particularly dangerous for travel. Additionally, travel (or any university-related activities) to countries with U.S. sanctions is prohibited and can only be undertaken after obtaining legal review from the General Counsel’s office and approval of the Provost.
All program coordinators are expected to consult State Department and CDC information resources early in the program planning process for any anticipated programs abroad for both graduate and undergraduate students. In the event of State Department or CDC warnings advising against travel to a specific destination, the sponsoring department must inform Strategic and Global Initiatives, as far in advance of the program start date as possible if you wish to propose continuing the program. The Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives will consult with other members of the USC community, and outside experts as needed, to determine if the university will allow the continuation of the program, with the ultimate decision to be made by the Provost. health and safety factors of vulnerable locations can change drastically without warning. Programs are strongly urged to take necessary precautions (such as trip cancellation insurance through a travel agent) in case it becomes necessary to change plans or cancel a trip on short notice. Students should also be encouraged to have back-up plans for alternative study destinations in the event that their first-choice program is suspended for health or safety reasons.
The health and safety factors of vulnerable locations can change drastically without warning. Programs are strongly urged to take necessary precautions (such as trip cancellation insurance through a travel agent) in case it becomes necessary to change plans or cancel a trip on short notice. Students should also be encouraged to have back-up plans for alternative study destinations in the event that their first-choice program is suspended for health or safety reasons.
Crises/Emergencies during a Program Abroad
Prior to travelling, all international trips by USC students, except personal, must follow the guidelines set by Strategic and Global Initiatives (add link), which include general trip requirements/recommendations and completion of the Study Abroad Roster.
In the event of an emergency or crisis that threatens the immediate safety of USC students during programs abroad, call International SOS for on the ground support or DPS at (213) 740-4321.
In response to an emergency call, an Study Abroad Emergency Response Team will be immediately convened by the Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives. This group, which would typically include representatives from Campus Support & Intervention, Student Affairs, the sponsoring academic/administrative unit responsible for the program abroad, and the Provost’s office, will gather information and make a recommendation to the Provost about whether to cancel/suspend a program and how to best respond to the needs of student participants. In a serious emergency, the hotline will coordinate the evacuation of students, faculty and staff.
Coordinators of USC student programs abroad will monitor the health/safety situation of their study/travel destinations before and during their program dates. When circumstances arise that call into question the safety of participants, the sponsoring department should immediately contact the Campus Support & Intervention and Strategic and Global Initiatives to initiate the discussion about an appropriate university response.
Additional information and resources for health and safety issues abroad, including the full text of the USC Study Abroad Emergency Response Guideline, are available through the Office of Strategic and Global Initiatives and Campus Support & Intervention .
Strategic and Global Initiatives
Campus Support & Intervention