November 14, 2015
SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.
SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at www.internationalsos.com. In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.
Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at firstname.lastname@example.org (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at email@example.com (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs.
Students abroad are asked to review these personal security steps:
- Register your travel with the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP;
- Make sure you register all independent travel with your program director so staff can reach you immediately in an emergency; remember to confirm and update any changes to your emergency contact information in your my.SMU account online;
- Follow news reports closely;
- Remain alert to your surroundings at all times;
- Walk away from the first sign of trouble, and report any suspicious persons, packages or activities;
- Avoid loud conversations and discussions that identify you as foreign, and avoid wearing clothing such as football jerseys or university sweatshirts, or T-shirts with American logos;
- Keep your international cellphone with you, fully charged and turned on at all times, and respond immediately to any calls or messages from program staff.