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The Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education

Dartmouth College Off-Campus Programs
Crisis Management Procedures

While it is unlikely that a coup d'etat, political instability, or a major natural disaster will occur in any of the countries in which we conduct off-campus programs, many of the structures that need to be in place to deal with a crisis of this magnitude are the same ones that ensure safe running of the program on a day-to-day basis. The purpose of this document is to be prepared with a system for responding to crisis situations that may threaten the safety and security of Dartmouth students and staff on off-campus programs. No matter how good such a system is, there are some situations that do not lend themselves to a textbook set of responses. The bottom line is that any plan has to have flexibility. It is important at all times to stay calm and use common sense. The following is to be used as a guide.

Sections

I. General Safety & Security Precautions for Off-Campus Program Faculty Directors

II. General Safety & Security Recommendations for Students on Off-Campus Programs

III. Crisis Management Procedures for the Off-Campus Location

IV. Crisis Management Procedures for On-Campus Administrators

V. Decision-Making in Time of Crisis: Program Closure and Evacuation



I. General Safety & Security Precautions for Off-Campus Program Faculty Directors

1. Keep a copy of this document and a list of emergency contact numbers within easy access. Emergency contact numbers should include those for the local US embassy or consulate, police, fire, local doctors and hospitals, Dartmouth College officials, etc.

2. Keep up-to-date contact information (addresses and telephone numbers) for each student. Establish a procedure for contacting them in case of emergencies.

3. Make sure that students know how to reach you 24 hours a day in case of emergency. Purchase a mobile phone (if you do not have one already) and keep this with you at all times.

4. Instruct students to notify you of their whereabouts and contact information any time they are away from the program site (e.g. during weekends and break times). Additionally, while at the program site, each student should provide you with the name of another Dartmouth student or responsible individual located where the student is staying, who will be informed about the student's whereabouts at all times.

5. Collect and keep a photocopy of page one of each student's passport in order to facilitate replacement in case of loss.

6. Register all students with the nearest consulate of their nationality. Keep in frequent communication with the local American embassy or consulate. Make sure that U.S. Embassy officials know how to reach you.

7. Make sure there are no signs posted that identify your program as having an affiliation with the United States.

8. Discourage students from congregating in groups of Americans or foreigners and from spending time in restaurants and bars that are known to be frequented primarily by foreigners (this has a negative effect on integration with people from the host country in any case).

9. Advise students to avoid large crowds and protest groups, to maintain a low profile, and to not bring attention to themselves by speaking loudly in English when walking with groups of other Americans or by dressing in ways that identify them readily as Americans (e.g., baseball caps, college sweatshirts, etc.)

10. Advise students to use common sense and caution when divulging information to strangers about themselves, the program, and other students.

11. Keep up with local news through newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet.

12. Ask students to report suspicious persons or packages to you and/or local authorities, as applicable.

13. Establish a meeting point where students and director will congregate in case of emergency. Identify one additional meeting location where participants should go to find one another if meeting at the regular site becomes impossible. This alternative meeting place should be in a different area of the city from the regular meeting location.

14. Ask that students stay in touch with their families so that they know their students are safe and they know where to reach them in case of emergency, or should an incident cause them to worry about their student's safety.

15. Identify a travel agency that you would trust in case the students would need to be evacuated.


II. General Safety & Security Recommendations for Students on Off-Campus Programs

1. Inform someone of your whereabouts at all times (preferably your program director or another Dartmouth College student). Inform your program director of your planned itinerary and provide contact information any time you leave the program site (overnight, weekends, breaks).

2. Verify that your passport is secure and up to date. You should keep a photocopy of the first page of your passport in a safe place.

3. In general, you should avoid large crowds and protest groups. Maintain a low profile and do not bring attention to yourself by speaking loudly in English when walking with groups of other Americans or by dressing in ways that readily identify you as an American (e.g., baseball cap, college sweatshirts, etc.)

4. Use common sense and caution when divulging information to strangers about yourself, the program, and other students.

5. Keep up with local and world news through newspapers, radio, TV or the Internet.

6. Report any suspicious persons or packages to your program director or the local authorities.

7. Your program director has been instructed to register all students with the nearest consulate of their nationality. Consult with your director if you have questions about this.

8. The Off-Campus Programs office will continue to forward all State Department advisories and other related materials to your program director once they have been issued. You should consult with your director about these and any other relevant sources of information.

9. Carry emergency contact numbers with you at all times (embassy, police, fire, local doctors and hospitals, other student numbers, etc.).

10. Keep additional cash dollars on hand.

11. Maintain contact with your director at regular intervals.

12. Keep in touch with your families so they know you are safe and they know how to reach you in case of emergency.


III. Crisis Management Procedures for the Off-Campus Location

In the event of a crisis, guidelines for directors have been created to guide you through three levels of emergency: Possible Emergency Situation, Consolidation and Imminent Emergency.

Stage 1. Possible Emergency Situation.
When information is received by the faculty director indicating a potential threat to the health or safety of students, the faculty director will:

  • Notify the students of the nature of the impending emergency and provide them with information relevant to the situation.
  • Notify the Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs of any and all threats, and include assessment of whether the threat is credible or not.
  • Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate and ask for advice and assistance.
If appropriate, faculty directors should consider issuing the following "Stand Fast" instructions to all students:
  • Instruct students to remain where they are staying (lodging) as they await further news and instructions.
  • Advise students to make prudent preparations, including collecting all necessary identification and travel documents, money and one emergency bag of essentials (see below).
  • Students should also make an inventory of other property that may have to be left behind.
(Decision to move into Phases 2 or 3 of the plan should be made in close consultation with Dartmouth College's Crisis Management Team).


Stage 2. Consolidation Phase.
If the situation deteriorates to a point where it makes sense to gather all of the students in one place, the faculty director will notify all students to move to a pre-determined consolidation point. This will be a hotel, dormitory, apartment or other location where the faculty director has made arrangements to accommodate all students and the director in the event of an emergency. This facility should provide room and board for all, and a communications link (telephone, fax and/or e-mail). Once at the consolidation point, the group should organize themselves as follows:

  • Designate specific members of the group to be responsible for specific duties, such as communication updates with the US Embassy and with Dartmouth College officials.
  • Delegate other duties, such as buying food, cooking, etc.

Stage 3. Imminent Emergency Phase.
If an evacuation of American citizens from the country is imminent, or the threat escalates to the point where the program is canceled, students and faculty will be expected to arrange for safe departure from the site to the US or another safe haven outside of the country. If required, the Off-Campus Programs office in Hanover, will assist in making these arrangements. If airline transportation is not available, the faculty director, in consultation with the US Embassy and Dartmouth College officials will need to assess alternative means of transportation.


Emergency Bag of Essentials - Suggested Items
  • Money, traveler's checks, check books, credit cards, etc...
  • Passport, driver's license, ID card and other important papers
  • Change of clothing: undergarments, socks, shirts, trousers/dress, sweater, cap and handkerchief
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine Hygiene supplies
  • Prescription drugs, medical supplies (i.e. band-aids, aspirin).
  • Flashlight/batteries
  • Address book
  • Radio
  • Keys
  • Easily portable dry foods (crackers, cookies, nuts, candy, etc.)

IV. Crisis Management Procedures for On Campus Administrators

In major emergencies, a team will be set up by the Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs to handle all situations related to the emergency. The team should be as small and efficient as possible. At a minimum, the team will include the Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs, the Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Humanities and one or more individuals from the following areas:

Dean of the College
Legal Affairs
Public Affairs
Budget (Exec. Office)
Additional representation from the Dean of Faculty and Off-Campus Programs offices
One or more members of faculty w/expertise in the area/program

The selected team should then meet and discuss emergency procedures as outlined here. Tasks should be delegated and a communications outline should be created to ensure that everyone is kept informed of important details. Detailed notes should be kept by every person involved in the situation, including a log of all telephone calls.

The situation will dictate much of what needs to be done next. In general, the Crisis Management Team will consider:

A. Immediate measures needed to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

B. Additional issues regarding health, safety, academics, financial aid, public relations and legal liability.

C. Appropriate actions to be taken overseas, including dealing with initial student concerns and recommendations regarding appropriate student behavior.

D. If the Crisis Management Team considers it appropriate, an evacuation plan will be developed. This plan will be developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State and the overseas faculty director, and will take into consideration recommendations regarding relative safety of various modes of transportation and travel routes, the costs of evacuation and means for meeting these costs, the possibility of splitting up the students into smaller groups and having them reconvene later in a different locations, and resources available in the host country.

E. The Crisis Management Team will develop guidelines to be utilized when speaking to the media or other individuals about the crisis in order to prevent unnecessary concern and to promote consistency and accuracy in responses. One member of the team will be designated to speak with the media. Another member will provide back up for this person. As necessary, the Dartmouth Public Affairs Office, in conjunction with the Crisis Management Team and off-campus faculty director, will develop formal, written communications, likely in the form of a situation fact sheet that can be handed to staff at all levels, faxed in response to media queries, and even posted on a web site. A fact sheet might include:

  • The confirmed facts of a situation
  • Official College statements
  • Contact information and phone numbers
  • Information regarding College resources that have been committed to ensuring student safety and managing the crisis
  • A time line for action
All such fact sheets are considered works in progress, and would be updated appropriately as a situation develops.

F. The Crisis Management Team will prepare a list of people to be alerted once the situation specific crisis management plan is in place. This list will include the parents and families of students abroad and Dartmouth officials in Hanover.

G. The Crisis Management Team will develop a plan for daily communication with key people and organizations. The Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs will serve as the link with the Dartmouth overseas faculty director. The overseas faculty director and other designated key people will be contacted on a daily basis (or other set interval) until the crisis is resolved.

H. Chronological logs should be kept of the crisis, on site and in Hanover, detailing what happened, what steps were taken, when they were taken, with whom staff members talked, and what follow-up actions were necessary. The person keeping each log should note the time of each event as carefully as possible as well as the time at which the notes were written down, and a report will be written by each after the crisis ends. These reports should then be forwarded to the Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs who will issue a comprehensive final report. The report will assess the impact of the event once ended, document all actions taken and make recommendations that may be relevant when responding to future crisis situations. The crisis management team should meet to evaluate how effectively the staff met the crisis and discuss how to improve the response on the next occasion.


V. Decision-Making in Time of Crisis: Program Closure and Evacuation.

In deciding whether to close a program and/or evacuate the students, the physical safety of the students must be the paramount issue. The decision to terminate a program or evacuate the students will be made by the Crisis Management Team in consultation with the off-campus faculty director, who should have the best understanding of the local conditions. In the event of a crisis at or near the location of the off-campus program site, the faculty director should be prepared to report on the following:

  • The safety of the Dartmouth students.
  • The geographic proximity of the program to the crisis.
  • The impact of the crisis on the quality of life (availability of food, potable water, medical supplies, the protection of law and order.)
  • The target of the unrest, if the crisis is political.
  • The intensity of police or military presence in the area of the program.
  • The feasibility of continuing with classes at the current location or at other locations.
The off-campus program faculty director should contact the nearest U.S. consulate to discuss the need for evacuation and any measures that the U.S. is taking to evacuate its citizens. A member of the crisis management team in Hanover will contact the State Department in the same vein. This staff member will also contact other institutions with programs in that vicinity to discuss what action they are taking. The Executive Director of Off-Campus Programs will convene the Crisis Management Team to decide the best course of action and make a decision about evacuation.

In any emergency, the director of the off-campus program should attempt to communicate with the Hanover staff, either directly or, if that is impossible, through the United States embassy or, if advisable, through the government of the host country. When an inability to communicate makes consultation impossible, the local director has the authority to close a program and evacuate the students. Once a decision has been made to evacuate students, the College cannot be responsible for the safety of any student or staff member who refuses to comply with the evacuation procedures arranged by the College.

In the event of an emergency, public communications will be coordinated through the Public Affairs Office and all press inquiries should be referred to this office. The Public Affairs Office will also issue guidelines to staff about communicating with families. At the outset of a crisis, students should be cautioned to avoid unnecessarily alarming their families and others at home with panicky phone calls and ill-considered e-mails. Level heads abroad and at home are the best way to insure rational, carefully considered procedures.

After the students have been evacuated successfully, the College will make academic and financial arrangements appropriate to the program at the time of its termination.

A decision to reopen a program that has been closed as the result of a crisis will be made by the Crisis Management Team after a review of the situation and receipt of input from on-the-site personnel, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Consulate and Embassy in the country.


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Last modified 07/02/2014