MSU Considers Changing Foreign Travel Policy - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

MSU Considers Changing Foreign Travel Policy

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BOZEMAN -

After a Montana State University professor was tragically killed in a Nepal rockslide, the University is now implementing new policies for faculty and students to follow when studying aboard.

In May, MSU Professor Betsy Palmer was killed by falling rocks while leading a group of honor students through a trip in Nepal.

After that, International program coordinators are tightening up the school's foreign travel policies.

"We need to do our very best to make sure students and faculty traveling on University business are safe," said Norman Peterson, MSU International Programs Executive Director.

The new policy would require more reporting ahead of time. For example getting approval from supervisors and paying close attention to safety concerns issued by the U.S. Government before traveling to certain areas.

The old policy only applied to faculty members leading student groups. Now it will apply to any students traveling outside the U.S.

"If a group of students wanted to go by themselves to do the same itinerary, there was no requirement for them," said Peterson.

The new policy would require all student information to be entered in a database, a primary leader and an alternative leader to be selected for every group and every group must have a communication plan.

"If anything happens, God forbid an earthquake in Greece, we can know very quickly the names of the MSU students that might be impacted," said Peterson.

Bronwyn Rolph is the President of Engineers Without Borders, a group that travels to Kenya once a year to design and develop infrastructure.

Rolph said the organization already has policies in place but would also be affected by anything the University requires.

"It would be really nice to see something that is flexible enough that we can kind of kill two birds with one stone," said Rolph. "It would be really great if it helps us with our safety. It would be really frustrating if there's a lot more paperwork."

The University Council is expected to vote on whether or the policy will go into effect on a meeting held on December 4. 

If the policy is approved, all the changes would go into effect immediately.

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