Safety and Security

Evan Kaplan - Botswana The safety and security of students are always of utmost priority for Colby and all study abroad program providers, particularly given international developments over the past few years.  These concerns have been intensified by recent changes in real and perceived threats to US citizens, both at home and abroad. Events since September 2001 have affected many aspects of all overseas programs. National and international security issues necessitate that you respect safety recommendations and security policies established by your sponsoring organization and the U.S. Embassy in the country of your destination.
While there is no reason to assume that going abroad will compromise your safety, you must be sure to follow safety guidelines provided by your program at all times. Your program/university will likely go over security policies and advice in depth during their orientation and we advise you to follow these carefully.  Remain attentive to information provided to you and stay in contact with your program, Colby College, and your family throughout the duration of your study abroad program. Always inform your program’s resident director or contact person at the university of any incidents that may arise. You must also take personal responsibility for informing yourself of risks in locations in which you might study or travel; a good source of basic information is the U.S. Department of State Web site.

Colby College discourages travel to countries and participation in a program in a country for which there is a U.S. State Department Travel Warning in effect at the time of departure. Students wishing to travel to a country currently under U.S. State Department Travel Warning are required to submit a petition to the Travel Warning Review Committee providing a complete description of and justification for their study/travel at a Travel Warning site. If approved, the student and his/her parents will then be required to sign a second waiver as part of the application for approval process.

In the event that a country goes under U.S. State Department Travel Warning after a student has been approved, the student will be required to submit a petition, and sign a second waiver, in order to proceed as planned.

Students on programs already in session when the Travel Warning is issued will not be required to return as long as the program provider they are with indicates it is safe to remain, but will be advised of the Travel Warning by the OCS office.

For a listing of countries currently under U.S. State Department Travel Warning consult the website.
Note: The US State Department has advised Americans traveling anywhere to remain inconspicuous for their own safety, and we strongly support this advice. You are advised to keep a “low profile” wherever you may travel. Pay attention to culturally appropriate dress and behavior. Keep your voice down and avoid congregating in large, noisy groups, and avoid US entities considered symbols of US capitalism. Use restraint in situations that could get out of hand; your personal safety is far more important than your “honor” or your need to express yourself.
The Office of Off-Campus Study is in contact with program directors or program representatives from Non-Colby programs regarding safety and security. Links below provide the most current information on travel advisories, Colby's contingency plans, and the status of Colby's programs abroad.

Security Updates

U.S. State Department Worldwide Caution


Country-Specific Security Information
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets

Colby Emergency Plan
Emergency Plan for Off-Campus Programs in Times of Emergency

Program Policies
Colby College: Policy Regarding Off-Campus Programs and Cancellations


Advice on Alcohol and Drugs

Colby’s policy is to respect the laws of the host countries of its programs.  Where it is not legal to use drugs, including marijuana, do not do so.  Most programs have a zero tolerance policy concerning drugs. If a student is caught using illegal drugs, either by the police or by the resident director, that student may be sent home immediately, without prior notice, and with no credit or refund of fees. Students caught selling illegal drugs may be dismissed from the program and from Colby College.

If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, be aware that you must know your limits and be moderate in your use of alcohol. Not only
will you heap embarrassment on yourself and your country if you consume excessively, but you will also jeopardize your health and physical safety.  Most student incidents that occur are usually alcohol-related. The director of your program will usually have the authority to dismiss
students from the program for violation of the alcohol and drug policy. If a student is expelled from the program, the student may be sent home with no credit and no refund of fees. Colby takes the alcohol policy very seriously, and asks students to take it seriously as well. 


While you are abroad, you are subject to the laws of the country you are in, not those of the US or your home country. If you are arrested, your home country embassy can only ensure that you receive equal treatment under the terms of local law and procedure. You should always,
in all circumstances, treat the police with respect and produce any document they may request, without confrontation. Do not expect that Colby College or your home country’s embassy can exert any pressure to extricate you from a situation which results from your own inattention to, or
disrespect for, the laws of another country.

Alcohol Policy - Colby Prpgrams Abroad

All students studying on Colby programs abroad are subject to the laws of the host country, including those pertaining to alcohol and/or drug purchase and/or consumption.  Additionally, Colby College responds to the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) by implementing measures to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs by students, faculty, and staff, on campus as well as on College sponsored programs abroad.  The following has been excerpted from the Colby College student handbook and clearly states the College's position on alcohol abuse:

"Students are adults and are thus expected to obey the law and to take personal responsibility for their conduct.  Colby does not police students' personal lives on or off the campus, but disciplinary action will result if a students' use of alcohol creates disorder, public disturbances,
danger to himself or herself and others, or property damage. Similarly, hosts of parties or sponsoring organizations may be held accountable for violations by the College and by civil authorities under Maine law."

Please refer to the Colby College student handbook for complete details of U.S. laws and applicable legal sanctions.

While participating on Colby sponsored programs abroad, adherence to the U.S. and Maine laws shall be interpreted in the following manner:

1.    Colby programs abroad will not tolerate abuse of alcohol or drugs. Abusive behavior may be defined as, but not limited to:
•    Excessive consumption of alcohol
•    Any use of illegal drugs
•    Destruction of property (private or public)
•    Harassment
•    Disruptive behavior
•    Endangerment of self or others
•    Public intoxication

2.    Intoxication will not be accepted as a defense or an excuse for disorderly conduct and such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.

3.    Students, faculty, and staff who violate Colby programs abroad policy will be subject to disciplinary action by the College.  The severity of the imposed sanctions will be appropriate to the violation.  Violations of Colby policies concerning illegal drugs and alcohol will result in the imposition of one or more of the following sanctions in accord with established College policies insuring due process:
•    Expulsion from the program (and possible expulsion from Colby College)
•    Official censure or reprimand
•    Participation in a rehabilitation program
•    Probation
•    Referral for prosecution
•    Restitution
•    Suspension
•    Termination of employment
•    Warning
•    Other actions the Resident Director, Office of Off-Campus Study, and/or College deem appropriate.

4.    Given that students on Colby programs overseas are legally able to consume alcohol at the age of eighteen, Colby's policy with respect to program-sponsored activities at the Colby Centers, faculty apartments, public restaurants, student housing, or university facilities, is as follows:
•    Non-alcoholic beverages and food will be available, visible and readily accessible, in quantity appropriate to the number of people attending.
•    Any alcohol will be limited to beer and wine in quantity appropriate to the number of individuals attending the event.
•    Any advertising or gatherings must not emphasize the presence of alcohol.
•    Alcohol cannot be used as a prize for any event, contest or game.
•    Drinking games and/or the active encouragement of people to drink is prohibited.
•    If an event participant becomes visibly intoxicated it is expected that all attendees, including students and staff, will acknowledge responsibility to ensure that the individual stops drinking and arrives home safely.
•    Event sponsors and/or hosts may be held responsible for damages and/or medical expenses should an intoxicated attendee cause damages or injury to a third party, property, or to him/herself, either on the premises or after having left the premises.
•    The Resident Director or program staff on-site must remain sober and in attendance at any Colby sponsored events until the event has ended and all attendees have departed.
•    If a student or staff member becomes intoxicated and non-responsive to physical or verbal stimuli, emergency medical services will be sought immediately.
•    Events should preferably be scheduled on evenings preceding non-class days.