Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer program in El Salvador ended early

A summer program in El Salvador involving 14 undergraduate students was ended early after three members of the group were robbed at gunpoint in the city of San Salvador.

None of the students was injured during the robbery and the group returned to the U.S. Aug. 2. The incident occurred July 29.

"The safety of our students is always our highest priority," said Pardip Bolina, interim director of LSA's Center for Global and Intercultural Study.

University officials made the decision to bring the students home after a careful review of the situation in El Salvador. The robbery took place in front of the non-profit organization the students were working with. Taken in the robbery was a backpack that contained the group's itinerary and copies of the students' passports. Those facts, and concerns about the level of crime in El Salvador, led to the decision to end the program early.

The student internships were funded through the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates, a program of the Center for Global and Intercultural Study. The students were in El Salvador to administer a water impact survey.

Bolina said the students were being refunded some of their expenses, and arrangements were being made for them to earn full academic credit for the abbreviated international experience.

All of the students were registered through the U-M Travel Registry and all had purchased travel-abroad health insurance, which will be required for all university-sponsored travel starting this fall.