Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

University suspends student travel in violence-plagued northern Mexico

The following message was issued Tuesday by U-M’s International Travel Oversight Committee:

The University's International Travel Oversight Committee has reviewed the safety and security of travel in northern Mexico. In March the State Department issued a Travel Warning to alert citizens to the risks of travel especially in parts of northern Mexico, which have seen an increase in the severity of violence and other criminal activity. This review has concluded that travel near the border has become particularly hazardous. The situation is unpredictable and fluid, and will likely continue to remain so in the near term and possibly for an extended period of time.

On the basis of this review, the University has decided to suspend all University-sponsored student travel to the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, Durango, Sinaloa and Baja California. These states include the cities of Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, Ciudad Juarez, Nogales, and Tijuana, which have experienced many violent incidents in recent months. Students may not travel to these areas under University auspices or with University funding to pursue research, study or other University-related activities.

While the State Department's Travel Warning remains in effect, Individual students may travel to other parts of central and southern Mexico for University-related purposes, but must read the Travel Warning (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_4755.html) to acquaint themselves of possible risks and to learn what they should do to minimize these. All graduate and undergraduate students also are required to notify ITOC by email (umitoc@umich.edu) of their plans before departure, and to provide a signed waiver acknowledging the risks that may be associated with travel. Undergraduates also must have their plans reviewed and approved by the Dean or a designated adviser, and must provide the signed and notarized consent of a parent or guardian.  All students must register travel information with ITOC (http://www.umich.edu/~itoc/index.html) so the University can coordinate communications in event of an emergency.

Faculty or staff leading a student trip to central or southern Mexico, where the travel ban is not in effect, must get permission for their plans in advance from their Dean, and provide itinerary and emergency contact information. Trip leaders must also register travel information with ITOC (http://www.umich.edu/~itoc/index.html) so the University can coordinate communications in event of an emergency.

It is hoped that this very difficult climate will soon improve and that Michigan students may again travel freely to these areas for study and research. The University will stay informed of the situation and remain hopeful for the return of safety and security, especially for the Mexican people who are so acutely and tragically affected.

For questions, please contact umitoc@umich.edu.