State leaders are urging Minnesota colleges and universities to publish safety records of study abroad programs, citing poor safety and the need for transparency between schools and the public.
While the University of Minnesota says it already does its best to ensure students’ safety, many agree the change is necessary and students and parents will benefit by having access to evaluate the risks in global areas.
“We have tremendous oversight over almost everything,” said the bill’s author, Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka. “But when it comes to sending students into other countries, we don’t have that oversight.
The University currently only reports incidents like deaths, accidents, illnesses and sexual assaults upon students’ requests. The proposal mandates that schools display the statistics online and report them to the Office of Higher Education. Without passing state-set marks, institutions would not be able to grant academic credit for the travel experiences.
Sheryl Hill founded the Clear Cause Foundation in 2011 to increase safety on study abroad trips after her son died in on a People to People Ambassador Program trip in Japan, and she strongly supports the bill.
“I think you have the right to know when you are escorted into a foreign country what the safety record is of the organization you are trusting your life and your future to,” Hill said.
Ann Hubbard, who works for the American Institute for Foreign Study, said she agrees with . . . .