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Study Abroad Emergencies

This plan suggests effective responses to two types of emergencies: 1) those involving Whitman students on study abroad programs; and 2) crises in foreign countries affecting Whitman international students.

Possible study abroad incidents include everything from a single Whitman student injured in an accident to a situation of global panic because of terrorist threats. The college cannot guarantee the safety of our students when they participate in study abroad programs, but the college is committed to gathering information as completely and rapidly as possible, communicating with relatives, making contact with responsible authorities in the host country, and, when appropriate, taking action to provide medical care, transportation or other required assistance.

The college recognizes that various crises in the home countries can profoundly affect international students. For example, natural disasters or political upheaval can cut communications between international students and their families, causing great distress for our students. The college is committed to providing support to international students in such situations.

Campus Response Team

The Campus Response Team is under the executive direction of the President. In the absence of the President, the CFO, the Provost & Dean of Faculty, or the Dean of Students will assume this role. The President will decide if the team should convene and which members are appropriate to form the team in any particular incident. In most cases, members will include the CFO, the Provost & Dean of Faculty, the Dean of Students, the Director of Off-Campus Studies Programs and/or the International Student Advisor, the Vice President for Communications, and the Director of Counseling, or their designees.

In the event that it is necessary for members of the Response Team to travel overseas locations, each member of the team should have a current passport.


The Director of Off-Campus Studies (study abroad incident) or the International Student Advisor (incident affecting an international student) will be responsible for determining the exact nature of the problem, gathering information from international sources, and when necessary, consulting with the State Department, consulate or embassy, and other authorities. It should be noted that various members of the Whitman faculty have extensive experience in specific foreign countries; the Response Team should consider asking the assistance of such individuals.

If legal counsel is required, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for communicating with the college’s attorney. The Vice President for Finance and Administration and the President will be responsible for approving emergency expenditures relating to the incident.

The Vice President for Communications will be responsible for all media inquiries, as well as advising on dissemination of information to other constituencies (students, etc.).

The Dean of Students or Dean of Faculty will be responsible for communicating with family members.

The Security Department may be the first to receive a telephone call informing the college that an incident has occurred. The security officer who takes the call should elicit the most complete information possible about the nature of the emergency and about the students involved, including (if possible) full name, date of birth, exact location, how to reach the student, and how to make a further contact with the person who has called. The security officer should pass this information to one of the following individuals (start at the top of the list):

  • Susan Holme, Director of Off-Campus Studies, 509-527-5790
  • Kazi Joshua, Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, 509-526-3018
  • Alzada Tipton, Provost and Dean of Faculty, 509-527-5398
  • Jeff Hamrick, Vice President for Finance and Administration, 509-527-5993
  • Gina Ohnstand, Vice President for Communications, 509-527-5739


Emergency Unit Representative Responsibilities
International Programs Director of Off-Campus Studies: Susan Holme (if Study Abroad incident) Gather information from international sources; consult with State Department, embassy, etc.; communicate with involved students; be a resource for Whitman about cultural norms.
International Students Greg Lecki, Director of International Student and Scholar Support Services Gather information from international sources; consult with State Department, embassy, etc. Communicate with involved students. Be a resource to Whitman about cultural norms.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Vice President for Finance and Administration: Jeff Hamrick Consult with college’s attorney; approve emergency expenditures
Dean of Students Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students: Kazi Joshua Communicate with students’ families
Provost & Dean of Faculty Provost & Dean of Faculty: Alzada Tipton Deal with academic and faculty issues; communicate with involved faculty
Public Information Vice President for Communications: Gina Ohnstad Disseminate all public information; advise regarding dissemination of Information to all constituencies (students, etc.)
Security Director of Security: Greg Powell If initial notification comes to the Security Office, the officer should gather complete information and contact a member of the response team
Counseling Associate Dean of Students' Health and Wellness/Counseling Center Director: Rae Chresfield If appropriate, provide counseling to involved students
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