Purdue Policy on Security

Purdue University is committed to developing a wide variety of international study, research and work opportunities for its students. At the same time we recognize that there are times and places where personal security issues may outweigh the advantages of exposure to international experiences; therefore, we have developed a very careful and considered approach to the safety of our students.

Our approach to safety includes careful monitoring of U.S. Department of State travel warnings and travel alerts. In addition, we have implemented an emergency preparedness and crisis response plan for our overseas programs by providing key individuals (on-site faculty and host institution administrators) with guidelines to follow under a variety of circumstances. The response plan calls for working with overseas contacts as well as Programs for Study Abroad, the Dean of International Programs, the Dean of Students' Office, and ultimately the Provost and President of Purdue University.

U.S. Government Advice

The United States Department of State has developed a set of reports designed to inform travelers of potential risks (click here for details).

Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Country Specific Information Sheets.

Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are other examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. They include such information as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition(s) may be included under an optional section entitled "Areas of Instability." On limited occasions, they also restate in this section any U.S. Embassy advice given to official employees. Country Specific Information Sheets generally do not include advice but present information in a factual manner so the traveler can make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country.

How Purdue Uses Government Advice

At a minimum the following always applies:

Purdue University's Office of Global Affairs will not send students to any country for which a U.S. Department of State "travel warning" has been issued unless approved in conjunction with the Purdue Risk and Security Assessment Committee (see IP website for more detail).  This includes study abroad programs, travel by student organizations, athletics, Purdue Music Programs and other.  

Any Purdue activity involving student travel to a Travel Warning location must be approved by the Office of Global Affairs via the Security and Risk Assessment Committee (SRAC).  A Purdue unit proposing an ongoing group program should consult this website.  In any case, organizers should contact the Director of Programs for Study Abroad to initiate the process.  studyabroad@purdue.edu  After the request is approved, leaders will be advised to implement related tasks for the independent international activity; for study abroad programs, most tasks will be in place via normal planning.

Note: "Travel alerts" generally indicate that a specific threat has been received by the embassy or that the department has concluded that there might be a threat to U.S. citizens because of recent events in that country or the U.S. In most cases these threats are not realized, and most importantly, are not likely to cause difficulties for our students and faculty if they exercise reasonable caution. The Office of Global Affairs will carefully review any "travel alerts" issued by the U.S. Department of State for specific regions of countries where security issues are a concern. Decisions about sending or withdrawing students from areas with "travel alerts" will be made in the context of current world situations and after consulting with responsible officials of foreign host universities or overseas providers, the U.S. Department of State, Purdue University administrators, and other experts who are well-informed on issues related to the region in question.

The Office of International Programs and Programs for Study Abroad also reserve the right to cancel any program when we believe that the security of our students may be threatened, even if the United States Department of State has not yet issued a travel warning or a travel alert. Purdue will not assume any financial responsibility for such involuntary withdrawal.

The following information is provided to participants and their parents regarding the range of aspects of participants' overseas experiences that are beyond Purdue's control. Purdue:

  • Cannot guarantee or assure the safety of participants or eliminate all risks from the study abroad environments.

  • Cannot monitor or control all of the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants.

  • Cannot prevent participants from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities.

  • Cannot assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in overseas legal proceedings or provide or pay for legal representation for participants.

  • Cannot assume responsibility for the actions of persons not employed or otherwise engaged by Purdue for events that are not part of the program; or that are beyond the control of Purdue and its subcontractors; or for situations that may arise due to the failure of a participant to disclose pertinent information.

  • Cannot assure that home-country cultural values and norms will apply in the host country.