Student Travel Policy
The Health Science Center sponsors numerous off-campus activities involving students. In order to effectively manage these activities while minimizing institutional liability risks, this student travel policy must be followed.
In accordance with Texas Education Code Section 51.950, student travel is defined as follows:
The trip is undertaken by one or more currently enrolled students to reach an activity or event that meets all of the following criteria:
- An activity or event organized and sponsored by the Health Science Center. The event shall be planned and funded by the institution and approved by a designated administrator.
- The activity or event is located more than 25 miles from Health Science Center campuses.
Travel to the activity or event is funded and undertaken using a vehicle owned or leased by the Health Science Center, or attendance at the activity, or event is required by a registered student organization and has prior written approval by the Appropriate Institutional Officer.
DESIGNATED ADMINISTRATOR (DA)
The designated administrator shall be the respective Associate Dean of Student Affairs of each school.
APPROPRIATE INSTITUTIONAL OFFICER (AIO)
For purposes of this policy, any Health Science Center employee overseeing the off campus activity shall be identified as the Appropriate Institutional Officer (AIO). The AIO is responsible for compliance of this policy.
Appropriate Institutional Officer (AIO)
At least one AIO must accompany students on any off-campus activity. AIO is responsible for knowing the University Standard of Conduct and policies as outlined in this document. AIO must make clear to all participants the consequences or non-compliance, and the AIO must take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation. All AIOs are trained regarding the sexual harassment policy and ADA guidelines.
AIOs shall assess all health and safety conditions for each activity and all information shall be provided for prospective participants so the participants can make informed decisions concerning preparation, participation and behavior while on the trip.
Trip Participation Forms
Each participant or the participant’s parent/guardian in the case of a minor must complete, sign and return the Student Travel Information and Release Form to the AIO prior to the trip. The AIO is responsible for maintaining these records in a manner that ensures timely access to the medical information for each participant in case of an accident or health- related emergency. The AIO shall also complete a Student Travel Authorization form and submit copies to the respective DA (Associate Dean of Student Affairs) and University Police prior to each trip.
All enrolled Health Science Center students are required by State Law to have continuous medical insurance coverage, including international students. A copy of the student’s proof of insurance shall be attached to the Student Travel Information and Release Form.
Weapons, Illegal Substances and Alcohol
Use, possession or transporting of weapons, illegal substances and/or alcohol is forbidden while on a University sponsored trip.
University Owned Vehicles/Rental Vehicles/Commercial Carriers
All operators of University owned or leased vehicles shall be employees of Health Science Center who must be trained as required by law to drive the vehicles and have valid operators’ licenses to drive the vehicle that will be used.
In addition, operators shall have a current “Motor Vehicle Record” on file with the individual department’s personnel administrator. All operators of motor vehicles shall comply with all laws, regulations, and posted signs regarding speed and traffic control and shall not operate the vehicle for a continuous period that is longer than the maximum provided by federal or state law or regulations or guidelines promulgated by the Health Science Center, whichever is lower, without scheduled rest stops or overnight stops. There should be no driving between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. without prior approval of the AIO.
When rental cars are used, the same policy applies and all applicable requirements of the state contracts for rental cars and the University of Texas System Business Procedure Memoranda apply.
All Health Science Center owned or leased motor vehicles must have current proofs of liability insurance coverage and state inspection certification, be equipped with all safety devices or equipment required by federal or state law or regulation, and comply with all other applicable requirements of federal or state law or regulations.
In addition, all Health Science Center owned or leased vehicles must have scheduled periodic service and maintenance by qualified persons and comply with all applicable requirements of the University of Texas System Business Procedure Memoranda.
All occupants or motor vehicles shall use seat belts or other approved safety restraint devices required by law or regulation at all times when the vehicle is in operation.
The total number of passengers in any vehicle at any time it is in operation shall not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended capacity or the number specified in applicable federal or state law or regulations, whichever is lower. In addition, when the luggage load is excessive, it is highly recommended the passenger load be reduced accordingly. The weight of the passengers and luggage should be distributed evenly throughout the vehicle.
When commercial carriers are used, the same policies apply and all participants shall observe the carrier’s safety guidelines.
All AIOs are to follow the predetermined emergency notification procedures while on trips.
When any incident relating to students occurs on the trip, the AIOs are to notify the supervisors as soon as possible, and the supervisors shall notify the respective DA (Associate Dean of Student Affairs). Following the trip a report shall be submitted by the AIO’s to the respective DA (Associate Dean of Student Affairs) documenting the incident so appropriate actions could be taken.
Side Trips/Early and Late Departures
Students traveling on institutionally-approved trips must arrive at and depart the site at the same time as the AIOs unless prior approvals are given by the AIOs for special circumstances. Side trips from the predetermined itineraries are at the discretion of the AIOs.
Student Organization Travel
If a proposed trip is organized solely for a student organization, an officer of the student organization will need to submit the Student Travel Authorization form to the Office of Student Life (OSL) no less than one month prior to the scheduled trip.
If the trip is approved by the OSL, the student organization will also need to complete the following steps:
Due at least 2 weeks prior to departure:
- Student Travel Authorization
- Student Travel Information and Release Form
- Provide the OSL with emergency contact information.
- Provide the OSL with a full travel itinerary.
Due 1 week prior to departure:
- Register with the State Department through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Students participating in an education abroad program, (examples: credit bearing, experiential/training related, or "Service Learning" Programs) that are delivered by, in association with, or under the auspices of the University, must review and adhere to the Education Abroad Policy. Consultation with the Office of International Services (OIS) is required by all student participants well in advance of the proposed education abroad program departure date. Students must complete the Education Abroad Approval Form, and receive permission from the respective office of the Dean well in advance of departure abroad, as well as submit all required documentation found on the Education Abroad Checklist to OIS.
NOTE: Travel to countries and localities that have been placed under official “Travel Warning” by the U.S. Department of State is prohibited. Please refer to the International Travel to High Risk Areas policy.