Pittsburg State University

Crisis Management Plan for Study Abroad Programs

This plan will be useful to the following groups of people:

    1.    For staff involved in administrating study abroad programs
    2.    For American students studying in another country
    3.    For parents of students participating in study abroad programs

Scope of Reference:

The term "crisis" in this document covers death or severe injury of a student, or disaster in the host country, natural or otherwise, including acts of terrorism and hostage taking.

Proposed Core Team:

    1.    Director of International Affairs
    2.    Associate Vice President of Campus Life and Auxiliary Services
    3.    Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communication
    4.    Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success
    5.    Faculty members involved in the study abroad program  (if any)

The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services who serves as the coordinator of the Crisis Response Team will work closely with the Director of International Affairs in handling the crisis involving students in study abroad programs.

Procedures in Responding to the Crisis:

  1. Once the information on the crisis situation is established, the Director of International Affairs needs to be informed.
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  2. The Director of International Affairs will:
    • Determine the students involved in the crisis
    • Gather the necessary facts and contact the Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services immediately, who will in turn, gather the Core Team for a meeting to discuss the action plans.  At the same time, the President will be informed by the Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services.
  3. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services (or designee) in consultation with the Core Team, will immediately contact the family members of the student/students involved in the crisis.
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  4. The Director of International Affairs will work with the institution hosting the student/students, the insurance company and where necessary (in the case of death and disaster) the U.S. embassy in the hosting country to:
    • Obtain an official report of the crisis that involves the student/students
    • Help arrange for parents/family member to go over to the country (in the case of death or severe injury)
    • Help with the repatriation process (in case of death)
    • Help with bringing the student back home (in the case of a disaster)
    • Coordinate the return of student belongings (if necessary)
  5. The Director of Public Relations will coordinate all information released externally by the university. All queries from media personnel will be handled by the Director of Public Relations.
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  6. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services will serve as the primary contact person for the family of students:
    • Meet with family members if they choose to travel to campus
    • Write letter of condolence to family members of deceased student(s)
    • Provide assistance for those wishing to hold a campus memorial for deceased student(s)
  7. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services will notify the following personnel by memorandum:
    • Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success
    • Director of Admission
    • Director of University Housing
    • Director of University Counseling Services
    • Director of Food Service
    • Director of Student Financial Assistance
    • Director of Budget and Human Resource Services
    • Director of Career Services (Student Employment)
    • University Controller/Cashiers and Student Accounts
    • Dean, Library Services
    • Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Dean, College of Business
    • Dean, College of Education
    • Dean, College of Technology
    • Dean, Graduate and Continuing Studies
    • Registrar
    • Faculty Advisor of each student involved in incident
    • Professors of each student involved in incident
  8. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services in consultation with the Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communication and the Director of Government and Community Relations will notify governmental representatives when applicable (i.e., US and State Senators and Representatives from the affected students' districts) 
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  9. The following offices will assume the outlined responsibilities: (where applicable)
    • Registrar: close official academic records
    • Cashier's Office: process any allowable refund of tuition and fees
    • Payroll Office: finalize any remaining wage payment, forwarding it to the Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Success and close any employment records
    • Library: renew all materials checked out to avoid inadvertent overdue/fine notices
    • University Housing: process any allowable refund of room, meal plan, and/or Flexi-cash payment; return to library any materials on loan; upon family request, pack private possessions for return to family
    • Financial Assistance: notify Cashier's Office of any funds owed to or by the student
  10. Counseling Services will be responsible for coordinating psychological counseling, emotional support and spiritual referral to students in need of assistance as a result of the incident.
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  11. The Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Auxiliary Services may call meetings to review activities and progress of the team during the resolution of the incident.  A debriefing session will be held upon completion of the work by all team members.

(August 2004)
(Revised November 2007)