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UT System institutions recall students, personnel from Northern Mexico
(April 26, 2010)--Because of security concerns in specific international regions, the University of Texas System announced April 23 that its nine academic and six health institutions will immediately review and potentially suspend university-sponsored programs in foreign countries and territories consistent with current travel warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State, pending a careful and thorough risk assessment by individual campus review committees. UTSA is not affected by this recall because no UTSA personnel are working in the identified areas.
The escalating violence in Mexico caused the University of Texas System to direct its institutions to recall students, faculty and staff participating in university-sponsored programs within seven Mexican states, effective immediately. The recall applies to the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Baja California and Durango. The recall applies to these states because they include cities and regions that are specifically identified in the U.S. Department of State Travel Warning as areas that have had a recent increase in violence.
At the suggestion of UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. UTSA President Ricardo Romo took action April 23 to form an International Oversight Committee, a team of faculty and administrative staff under the direction of Julius Gribou, UTSA executive vice provost and senior international officer. The IOC will conduct a comprehensive review of all risks and benefits associated with requests for UTSA-sponsored international study and business with recommendations forwarded to Romo for final decision.
"The University of Texas System and its institutions value their close association with Mexico. That said, the safety of University of Texas System students, faculty and staff is of the utmost importance and we feel these actions with regard to study abroad programs and other university-sponsored international activities are prudent given the unfortunate escalation in violence in these regions," said Cigarroa.
For students, faculty and staff involved in mission-critical programs, each University of Texas institution president may make an exception to the recall only after institutional review committees conduct a comprehensive review of the risks and the benefits of allowing personnel to remain in Mexico.
University of Texas institutions will review and possibly suspend activity in other areas of Mexico and foreign countries and territories consistent with current travel warnings issued by the State Department, pending review of the potential risks and nature of the activity by the institutional review committees. The UT System administration and institutions will continue to closely monitor the security situation in these countries.