The University of St. Thomas has developed the following guidelines and procedures for UST students traveling to a University sponsored or University supported activity. These guidelines and procedures are designed to ensure the safety of all University members attending events, outline University expectations for student behavior at events, and minimize the liability and risk associated with student travel. These guidelines and procedures apply regardless of funding for the event (i.e. even if student activity fee money is not used, this policy remains in effect).
Clery Compliance Reporting
The University of St. Thomas is required by the Jeanne Clery Act to gather and report crime statistics for student travel of trips more than one night and/or repeated use of a location for a school-sponsored yearly trip. The definitions below are from the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting governed by the Department of Education (DOE):
- Short-stay “away” trips: are institutional trips of more than one night for its students, all locations used by students during the trip, controlled by the institution during the trip and used to support educational purposes.
- Study abroad programs: are trips whereby the institution rents or leases space for your students in a hotel or student housing facility, you are in control of that space for the time period covered by your agreement.
- Repeated use of a location for school-sponsored trips: are trips whereby the institution sponsors students on an overnight trip every year and the students stay in the same hotel each year. III. GENERAL
Organized student travel refers to students carpooling and traveling beyond 60 miles from campus for a university event, academic or otherwise.
Can the university vans be used?
If a university van is being used to provide the means of transportation, these guidelines and procedures are effective. There are specific van procedures that can be obtained from the University Police Department, which include having a university approved driver.
What is needed by a student driver?
If students drive their own vehicles for the organized student travel, they must have a valid state driver's license and possess personal automobile insurance coverage as mandated by the State of Texas. Copies of both will need to be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs. Vehicles must also have a current state inspection and registration.
Can a student group travel out of the country?
Yes. All rules within this packet apply to both domestic and international student travel.
Can a student group stay in an AirBnB? No. All travelers must stay at a hotel/motel.
What do we need to do to organize a trip? Each student trip will need to identify a “trip coordinator” who will be the primary contact for the organization. This person may be a student or faculty/staff advisor. The trip coordinator is responsible for completing all paperwork at least 3 business days prior to the planned trip. A pretrip meeting is recommended prior to your trip. This meeting could be attended by the “trip coordinator” and/or the Advisor/Coach.
Organized Student Travel Paperwork Includes:
- UST Student Travel Form and Driver Information (if applicable)
- Signed travel release, waivers, and indemnity forms for each participant
- Copies of the drivers’ automotive insurances and licenses
- Complete emergency contact information on every student traveling
Copies of paperwork should be provided to the Office of Student Affairs a minimum of 3 business days prior to the departure date. Originals will stay with trip coordinator during the trip.
What is expected of students participating in student events away from campus?
As a Catholic university, we expect the students will act in accordance with our core values and Catholic mission at all times. As representatives of the University, students are expected to abide by the Code of Student Conduct while attending or participating in activities that represent the University of St. Thomas. Students may be subject to disciplinary action should these expectations be violated.
UST Safety Guidelines for Drivers and Occupants
Drivers and occupants participating in a UST organized student travel trip are expected to act responsibly and use sound judgment while traveling.
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Obey all traffic laws and regulations, including posted speed limits
- Not drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or transport or possess alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, unauthorized firearms or other types of weapons
- Confirm that the vehicle in which the group or individual is traveling has appropriate insurance as mandated by the State of Texas, as well as a current state inspection and registration
Drivers and occupants must:
- Wear seat belts at all times; the number of people in the car cannot exceed the number of seat belts
- Confirm that the vehicle’s recommended capacity is not exceeded
- Avoid any distractions (i.e. texting, talking on the cell phone, horseplay, racing, etc.) or aggressive behavior
Drivers are encouraged to follow these safe driving and traveling practices:
- Begin the trip well rested
- Notify Advisor upon departure and arrival
- Avoid driving when conditions are hazardous; stop the trip and find lodging if weather conditions or fatigue prevent the trip from continuing safely
- Plan routes in advance; if carpooling, ensure that all drivers are aware of the route prior in advance
- Divide the trip into segments and stop for rest as needed
- Make sure at least one person in each vehicle has a charged cell phone for emergency purposes
- Establish a reasonable departure and arrival time to and from the activity or event (i.e. avoid driving between Midnight and 6:00 a.m.)
- A passenger should remain awake with the driver at all times
- Carry a flashlight, fire extinguisher and other recommended travel safety items
- Avoid taking medication that may harm your ability to drive safely
Questions? Contact Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org / 713-525-3570.
Student Travel Guidelines and Documentation can be found at www.stthom.edu/StudentAffairs.