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Crisis Management Protocol

University of Louisville Crisis Management Protocol

University of Louisville

International Travel Crisis Management Protocol

For Faculty and Staff



The University of Louisville encourages its faculty and staff to participate in international activities and promotes the development of opportunities for international study and research.  To this end, the University attempts to balance the value of participation in international activities against potential risks and crises that may develop.
Crises are always a potential reality when traveling overseas, and it is important to have a protocol in place to deal effectively with emergency situations as they arise. A crisis is a serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly, demands immediate action, and can often be minimized with good planning. The International Travel Crisis Management Protocol will respond to situations where employees become ill, suffer accidents, are the victims of muggings and assaults, find themselves caught up in potentially violent political situations.  While it may not be possible to plan for all contingencies involving our employees abroad, this Protocol provides procedures that will allow the University to act responsibly when emergencies arise.


One of the most important components of any crisis planning process is an emphasis on crisis avoidance and prevention. Avoidance and prevention of crises are best accomplished through a pro-active approach by establishing effective crisis management protocols. This International Travel Crisis Management Protocol outlines health and safety protocols for all faculty and staff participating in international activities sponsored or sanctioned by the University of Louisville.
Emergencies include natural disasters, outbreaks of civil or political unrest, kidnappings, accidents or injuries, and similar events that pose an immediate threat to University employees.
Examples of emergencies include the following:
•    Sudden evacuation of a faculty/staff member in response to an emergency situation in the U.S;
•    U.S. State Department's travel warning issued while employee is abroad for a specific country, region, or world-wide.  For further details see the University Policy for Travel to Travel Warning Countries. A situation--either in the U.S. or abroad--that causes serious concern, i.e., a political uprising (violent civil disorder or military action), a natural disaster, an act of war, terrorist threats and/or actions, or other event causing or threatening harm to a faculty/staff member
•    Health epidemics (e.g., Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or flu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
•    Serious injury or illness that requires hospitalization or makes it impossible for the faculty/staff member to continue his/her travel;
•    Being a victim of a serious crime (e.g., assault or rape);
•    Being accused of committing a crime;
•    Death of a faculty/staff member;
The Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs or his/her designee  in consultation with the International Travel Crisis Management Team will determine whether there is an actual threat to UofL faculty/staff. The decision on the course of action to take is reached after consultation with staff overseas, administrative officers at UofL, and any other person or agency with appropriate information and judgment useful to the decision making process. The Team will then make a recommendation to the Executive Vice President and Provost for a final decision.


The University of Louisville follows the Health and Safety Guidelines for travel abroad recommended by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and practices the following:
•    Monitors U.S. Department of State Travel Warning and Watches and Center for Disease Control regarding health and safety conditions.
•    Monitors OSAC Daily Newsletters (Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Overseas Security Advisory Council)
•    Does not send employees to locations abroad with political unrest, the threat of terrorism, and/or war or where a U.S. Department of State travel warning is in effect without express permission as outlined in the University of Louisville Travel Warning Policy.
•    Provides information to enable employees to make informed decisions on how to deal with health and safety issues and on the potential risks of international travel.
•    Encourages University employees traveling on University business to carry sufficient medical insurance for illness or accidental injury that may occur while overseas.
•    Consistent with all applicable laws, maintains good communication with all stakeholders who need to be informed in cases of serious health problems, injury, or other significant health and safety incidents.
•    Provides emergency action protocol that enables employees abroad to contact the University Police on a 24-hour basis.
•    Coordinates the on-campus action of the UofL International Travel Crisis Management Team in case of a crisis abroad involving university employees.


Crisis management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from a crisis situation. Preparation, communication, and certain administrative procedures are essential in managing a crisis.
The Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs has charged the 
International Travel Consultant for Faculty/Staff and Group Travel at the International Center to coordinate the University’s response to a crisis.  Once the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs is informed of the situation/crisis, a coordinator will be assigned who will regularly update the Vice Provost and other relevant parties about the evolving situation.
It is preferable that communication with the 
International Travel Consultant of the International Center be conducted by telephone, but if not possible, communication can be via fax (+011-1-502-852-7216) or e‐mail(

International Center Staff Members

Position Name Work Phone
 International Travel Consultant for faculty and staff   Janet Batik  502-852-4114
 Associate Director  Virginia Hosono 
 Program Coordinator
 Melissa Moore    502-852-4113
Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs    Mordean Taylor-Archer   502-852-5719

Contact with the staff during non‐business hours should be made through the Public Safety Office at the University of Louisville (+011-1-502-852-6111). They will always have the contact information for the International Center staff.


•    The first priority is for employees to do whatever is necessary and reasonable to ensure and safeguard their personal safety and well‐being.
•    If possible contact a member of the International Center staff (above) and inform her about the situation. Daytime phone is +011-1-502-852-6602; call collect if necessary. If no one can be reached at that number, please call Public Safety at +011-1-502-852-6111. Make every effort to reach the International Center staff by telephone, rather than e‐mail or fax as there are many issues to discuss during a crisis.
•    Prior to departure, employees will receive information on the host countries’ political and legal climates to get baseline understanding of what events require Embassy or Consular attention. If the situation warrants, employee should notify the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the emergency and follow their procedures and advice.
•    Prior to departure, employees will register their travel plans with the U.S. State Department, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP),
•    Benefits for medical emergencies involving UofL faculty and staff are provided by Assist America, a division of Sun Life Financial. UofL’s Plan number is 01AA-SUL-100101. For personal or travel medical assistance call collect: +011-1-301-656-4152, outside the United States.
•    Keep an International Center staff member informed on a regular basis, through telephone, fax, and/or e‐mail messages, about the evolution of the emergency and/or crisis.
•     Once the International Center is informed of the emergency and consults with the employee and other appropriate persons, the employee may be sent a written course of action/response plan that he/she will be expected to follow.
•    During a political crisis, social unrest, or some other emergency or crisis in which foreigners, in general, or U.S. citizens, in particular may be at risk, avoid demonstrations, confrontations, or situations. Employees should avoid behavior that could call attention to themselves or identify them as Americans (such as speaking in English); and also avoid places where foreigners, Americans, or American military are known to meet.
•    In the event that the employee is unable to call out of the country or is otherwise unable to reach University of  Louisville officials in the early phases of an emergency, proceed as best able following the advice of local officials and U.S .Embassy or Consular officers. Then contact an International Center staff member (above) as soon as possible; however, during a natural disaster or other crisis, all communication systems may be rendered inoperable.


The Executive Vice President and Provost charges the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs with the responsibility of coordinating the management of crises affecting participants conducting research, teaching, or public service abroad that is sponsored or sanctioned by the University. The Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs is assisted in this role by the International Travel Crisis Management Team. The Team addresses critical issues involving University of Louisville faculty and staff abroad. In the event of a crisis or emergency, the International Travel Crisis Management Team will be mobilized to assess and respond to the crisis or emergency.

A.    Team Members

The Team is comprised of permanent and temporary members depending on their positions and the emergency.
    Team members or their designees include:
    Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs (Chair);
    Associate Director of the International Center (Co-Chair);
    Associate Director for Study Abroad, International Center;
    International Travel Consultant, International Center, for Faculty, Staff and Group Travel;
    Director, Communication and Marketing
    Program Director, Controllers Office
    Ad Hoc Team members or their designee include:
    School/College Dean;
    Department Chair;
    University Liaison for Airline Travel;
    Campus Health representative;
    University Emergency Management Coordinator;
    University Counsel;
    Others may be asked to join the Team as determined by the emergency.

B.    Team Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the International Travel Crisis Management Team include the following:
•    Addressing immediate action necessary to maintain the safety and health of program faculty and staff;
•    Addressing health, safety, public relations, and legal liability issues;
•    Identifying additional appropriate steps to taken abroad;
•    Developing and helping with an evacuation plan should one become necessary;
•    Preparing a list of persons to be alerted;
•    Developing a communication document to be utilized by all personnel involved;
•    Developing a daily communication plan; and
•    After the crisis, assessing the effectiveness of the crisis preparedness procedures and revising as appropriate.


At the heart of the International Travel Crisis Management Protocol is the procedure by which key individuals and offices are notified of the likelihood of occurrence or presence of a crisis situation. Effective communication is critical to the Crisis Management Protocol.

A.    Emergency Calls to the University of Louisville from outside the United States

The person calling from abroad to UofL to report a crisis or an emergency only has to dial one number, which is the 24 hour contact number for University Police (+011-1-502-852-6111). The University Police will immediately contact the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs or Associate Director of the International Center who will take further action.

B.    Information to the Media and Public

During the crisis situation, UofL will assume responsibility for dealing with the media. Media professionals elicit information in the most trying of situations, especially during a crisis. Information might be sensationalized and broadcasted, often before family members or UofL university leaders have been informed. Inconsistent or premature responses to media may produce unnecessary anxiety and fear for concerned parties which may complicate an already difficult situation.


In some cases (e.g., a serious civil disturbance or a naturally-occurring disaster), it may be necessary to evacuate employees from the host country. As a crisis situation unfolds, the faculty/ staff member together with the International Center and the International Travel Crisis Management Team will assess the nature and extent of the emergency and evaluate the danger to employees, including:
•    The incident's proximity to the location of the employee; its impact on the availability of housing, food, water, and medical supplies; the protection of law and order; the intensity of military presence in the program area; and if political, the target of the unrest.
•    Consultation with U.S. Embassy or Consulate personnel concerning the feasibility of continuing program activities, and the ability of faculty/staff to relocate.

A.    Criteria/Factors for Suspending or Cancelling an Employee’s International Travel

The University of Louisville will consider the following factors in making a decision to require employees to evacuate:
•    Travel warning and/or specific directive by the U.S. Department of State and/or U.S. Embassy;
•    Health warning and/or specific directive by the World Health Organization and/or the U.S. Center for Disease Control;
•    Outbreak of hostilities between the U.S. and the host country;
•    Terrorist activities and/or a declaration of martial law in the program host city or country;
•    Civil unrest or violence that affects employee safety and security;
•    Declaration of war by a third country against the host country;
•    Protracted or indefinite closure of the host university or location of employee activity; or
•    Prolonged disruption of public utilities and/or services at the host institution, site or country.

B.    Convening the University’s International Travel Crisis Management Team

Once the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs  or his/her designee has been notified of an international travel crisis, a request to convene the International Travel Crisis Management Team will be issued to review the situation and take the following appropriate actions:
•    Discern any immediate measures needed to preserve the health and safety of staff;
•     Determine the appropriate course of action overseas;
•    Developing and assisting with an evacuation plan, if necessary (considering the safety of various modes and routes of travel, the costs of evacuation and the method of meeting those costs, and available in‐country resources), based on advice from the U.S. Department of State and in‐country staff. Options would include evacuation, move to U.S. Embassy compound, or remaining on‐site and maintaining a low‐profile.
•     Developing a communication document to be utilized by all individuals involved (consistency is crucial); while keeping in mind the privacy of students and faculty involved.
•    Preparing a list of individuals to be alerted once the entire plan is in place (including the Provost, University President, UofL faculty, staff, and family of that faculty abroad).
•    Developing a crisis communication plan which factors in the people to be included, organizations to notify, and effective methods of communication to utilize
•    Providing the University’s designated official Public Affairs spokesperson with a daily bulletin until the crisis is over.
•    Developing a plan to notify all family members, and/or emergency contacts of those abroad, and to coordinate the response to subsequent phone calls.
•    Submitting an action plan to the Executive Vice President and Provost for a final decision, and once the plan is finalized, transmitting it to the on‐site faculty/ staff member.

C.    Evacuation Procedures


Should evacuation be deemed necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the employee, the following procedures will be followed:
•    The Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs or his/her designee will contact the U.S. Department of State's Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (202-501-4444) to discuss the need for evacuation and any measures that the U.S. is taking to evacuate its citizens from the host country.
•    The employee abroad will contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country to discuss the need for evacuation and any measures that the U.S. is taking to evacuate its citizens from the host country. The employee may also contact the U.S. Department of State's Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management at +011-1-888-407-4747.
•    The International Travel Crisis Management Team or staff will develop an evacuation plan, including transportation modes and travel routes, and a determination of the cost of the evacuation.


The International Travel Crisis Management Protocol provides a framework for contingency planning and defines the communication network to be used in a crisis situation. This document is intended to be a living document that will be reviewed and updated annually. The International Travel Crisis Management Protocol will be distributed to all employees planning on international travel.


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