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Information & Protocols for Off-Campus Programs
The University of Illinois, in furtherance of its mission as an institution of higher education, provides a number of off-campus educational/instructional experiences (hereinafter called "academic field trips/field class") that involve group travel. Such trips facilitate and enhance the learning process; however they may also present additional risks and exposure to hazards. It is important that University departments and/or faculty/staff reduce liability and risk to themselves and the University by following procedures to help ensure the safety of academic field trip/field class participants.
While the University facilitates these opportunities by arranging for visits to appropriate locations and facilities, academic field trip/field class participants are responsible for their own behavior, and the University shall not be liable for any and all claims arising out of or in any way connected with a student's participation in the field experience. Because University faculty/staff must exercise reasonable care to warn students of known hazards, the information shown below includes sample acknowledgement of risk forms that faculty/staff should obtain from all participants before the academic field trip/field class begins. In addition, University faculty/staff must exercise reasonable supervision, including emergency preparedness planning in the event of an emergency. Information shown below provides guidelines on steps to planning academic field trips/field classes that includes obtaining emergency contact information, and having a working cell phone.
The guidelines and information given here are intended for off-campus programs within the United States. For international program and program set-up, go to the International Programs webpage.
Conformance with University Policies
All faculty, staff, and students must comply with University of Illinois policies while participating in off-campus educational/instructional experiences, as they would on campus. The education and instructional activities must conform with the University's policies including those concerning alcohol and drug use, vehicle use, student misconduct, policy on sexual harassment and other University policies.
General Information on Risk Management
The University of Illinois has established the University Liability Self-Insurance Plan that will pay on behalf of faculty/staff all damages to which the Plan applies, which the faculty/staff becomes legally obligated to pay because of injury or personal injury to others. The University will defend and indemnify University faculty/staff for claims arising out of their negligent acts or omissions, while acting within the scope of their employment. Intentionally harmful acts, willful or wanton acts or omissions are not within the scope of employment and will not be covered. Faculty/staff are strongly encouraged to review the Plan documents, limits of liability, and coverage terms/restrictions
The policy of the University of Illinois requires registered students either have health and accident insurance through the parent's policy or the University's Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP). In the event of an accident or illness during an academic field trip/field class, students shall be responsible to ensure that any medical costs incurred during and/or as a result of the academic field trip/field class will be submitted to their appropriate health/accident insurer. In addition, the University does not assume responsibility for deductibles and/or co-payments.
The University department will arrange for transportation by any of the following methods, with the following rules being applicable. Faculty/staff should familiarize themselves with these rules of use and insurance as they make decisions regarding transportation of participants.
- University Vehicles: Only University employees should drive, and the State of Illinois Auto Liability Plan provides liability protection for the driver and harmed third parties.
- Rental Vehicles: If rented with University funds only University employees shall drive, and all applicable terms of the rental agreement will be followed. The rental vehicle will have liability limits with the State of Illinois Auto Liability Plan providing liability protection above that provided by the rental car company.
- Charter Bus Service: The University has many existing agreements with charter bus companies, with the charter bus company providing insurance
- Common Carriers (e.g., Greyhound, Amtrak) may be utilized, with the common carrier providing insurance.
- Personal Vehicles: May be used but only after all parties have a clear understanding of the insurance coverage issues:
- If a student uses their own personal vehicle the University does not insure or accept liability for any damage, loss or injury resulting from the use of a student participant's vehicle. Students who use their own personal autos should have auto liability insurance on their vehicle and should have a valid driver's license. Participants who chose to ride in a private automobile do so voluntarily and at their own risk.
- If faculty/staff uses their own personal vehicle the individual's personal auto liability insurance will have to respond up to its limits of liability. If the State of Illinois (Central Management Services) determines the vehicle was being used for the furtherance of state business at the time of the loss, the State's Auto Liability Plan will provide liability limits in excess of the individual's personal auto liability. Under no circumstances will the State of Illinois or the University of Illinois provide coverage for damage to the faculty/staff's personal vehicle (i.e., "auto physical damage"). In addition, faculty/staff should have a valid driver's license. Participants who choose to ride in a private automobile do so voluntarily and at their own risk.
Risk Management Forms and Information
Acknowledgment of Risk and Release of Responsibility (PDF | Word)
This form or a Legal Counsel-approved variation of the form - is to be signed and collected from all participants in an off-campus program.
Emergency Contact Information (PDF | Word)
Program directors must collect and travel with emergency contact and release of information form for each of the program participants. A copy of the list must also be left with the sponsoring unit/department.
Housing agreement (if applicable)
Program directors may wish or need to establish clear expectations of the program participants with regard to their housing arrangements.
Notification on Emergency Protocols (PDF | Word)
Prior to departure for the off-campus program, program directors must submit a plan for emergency response to the sponsoring unit/department. This requirement helps the program director a) respond appropriately to ensure safety and health of participants and b) report activity appropriately to help protect the program and University. The plan must include:
- Name and address of hospitals nearest to destination(s) of off-campus program;
- Phone number of local police departments at destination to be notified in event of a crime;
- Campus-based contact (name, emergency phone number, and e-mail address) to whom the program director will report any emergency, crime-related, or other problematic event experienced by program participants. This should be a staff member within the sponsoring unit/department who will be able to respond in an emergency.
- Phone number of Emergency Dean of Students, in the event of a student-related concern or emergency
In the case of any emergency, program directors must ensure the health and safety of program participants above all else.
General Information on Student Issues
Student Preparation and Orientation
Any UIUC program that takes students off-campus must ensure that prior to departure - the students are prepared for the experience and different expectations, as compared to an on-campus experience. A well-documented and implemented orientation also helps to counter claims of negligence.
The pre-departure orientation should include, but is not limited to, the following:
- program plan and purpose (e.g., syllabus, itinerary),
- codes of conduct for general UIUC students and for specific off-campus program as determined by the program director
- consequences of abuse to codes (e.g., written dismissal policy)
- emergency protocols while traveling and at destination
- safety recommendations on non-program related activities at or en-route to destination
Student Disability and Accommodation
Updated March 10, 2009