When you travel on college-sponsored trips, Madison College employees take on the legal and moral responsibility of giving your health and safety utmost priority.

It is important that you and your parents, family, and other loved ones know that policies and procedures are in place to provide the safest possible environments for you.  

Despite every precaution, accidents and catastrophic events can happen. These guidelines provide a solid foundation of safety measures and standardized protocol for communication and action should emergencies arise. 

Preparation 

Before departure, the faculty or staff leading your trip is required to submit a copy of the following forms to the Student Life Office. They must also take a copy of the forms and Crisis Management Plan on the trip: 

  • Code of Conduct 
  • Emergency Information 
  • Emergency Resource Card 
  • Itinerary 
  • Participant List 
  • Waiver of Liability

Critical Emergency Situation 

For all emergencies, our staff plan to follow these action steps: 

  1. Contact the local police, medical, or other assistance needed to protect the health and safety of all students and participants. Once all participants are safe to the extent possible, Madison College Crisis Staff will be contacted.
  2. Without centralized communication, conflicting or sensationalistic reports to family or media could unnecessarily alarm family or others or open the college to litigation or embarrassment. Students are cautioned not to speak with the media and asked to avoid causing unneeded alarm or misrepresenting the situation in any communication home regarding the incident. 
  3. Chronological logs are to be kept of any crisis, documenting what happened, what steps were taken, when they were taken, who was contacted, and what follow-up actions were necessary. Log records should document both the time that events and actions occurred as well as when log notations were entered. 
  4. Upon return to Campus, staff will complete a full report of the incident using the Student Care Team Referral form. Staff will send a copy of the report to the Student Life Director. 

Crisis Management Decision Making

For all crises, we will use the following decision making steps:

  1. Convene all Madison College personnel at the location of the incident. Do not wait until a crisis has escalated and do not try to handle the situation yourself. 
  2. Gather information as accurately and timely as possible. Not every detail will be available but gather enough to determine the magnitude of the issue. Define the boundaries of confidentiality. 
  3. Decide whether to escalate the issue. Ideally, there is a pre-determined threshold for launching into crisis mode. Generally, if the threat has, or could lead to significant harm to the student(s), club, or college itself, it is worth escalating. 
  4. Engage external partners. If the incident warrants external partners such as the police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Safety Transportation Board, or other regulatory agencies, reach out to identify a point of contact and open the lines of communication. These Madison College representatives should be contacted: Director of Student Life, Clubs Coordinator, and Public Safety. 
  5. Follow appropriate/additional steps based on the situation. 
  6. Record and learn. Once the situation resumes normal, be sure to gather the team involved for an after-action discussion. Every incident is an opportunity to practice the response process and identify areas that need improvement. 

These steps were adapted from Decision Making in Times of Crisis, Strawser, 2017, and 7 Steps of Crisis Management, 2014. 

Response to Crisis Situations

Crisis situations can differ greatly, as do the appropriate action steps to take. Our plans for handling various crises are listed below.

  • Death of a Student or Participant

    1. The trip leader must verify the identity of the student/participant and gather as much information as possible about the circumstances surrounding the student/participant’s death as possible. 
    2. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
  • Emotional Health Problems

    1. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
    2. Follow instructions from Madison College Crisis Staff and/or Counseling Service. 
    3. Assess the extent of the problem. Who has been affected? What support network exists for the student/participant in question (family, friends, roommates, etc.)? Will the student agree to seek help? What professional counsel is immediately available? Has the student disclosed any information on their Emergency Contact Form regarding preexisting medical or mental health problems that can aid in assessing the situation? 
  • Lost or Missing Persons

    1. Gather all of the important information regarding when and where the student/participant was last seen, their behavior patterns, and recent emotional state. Based on this information it may be necessary to assess whether the student/participant is likely to be ignoring curfews or timelines or whether there is a history of substance abuse, depression, dangerous risk-taking, or unusual behavior that necessitates more immediate action. 
    2. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
    3. Contact clinic and hospital admissions, city records, and/or local police officials to see if the missing individual has been admitted or incarcerated. 
    4. Maintain contact with roommates, friends, hotels, and other relevant individuals seeking and relying on pertinent information that might help in locating the individual. Ask them to contact you immediately if the student/participant returns. 
    5. If the student has not been located within 24 to 48 hours after the first report of disappearance, file a report with the local police. 
    6. Once the person has been located, inform appropriate persons at Madison College Crisis Contact. If necessary, activate other protocols for a serious accident, injury, or death. 
  • Serious Injuries

    1. Assist the student/participant in finding appropriate medical care in a hospital or clinic that can provide the best possible care available. Assess the extent or severity of the accident/illness/injury in communication with the physician treating the student/participant. 
    2. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
    3. Assess the need for support services, counseling, and information updates to other program participants who may be emotionally affected and implement as needed. 
  • Sexual Aggression, Abuse, and Harassment 

    In the event of an incident of sexual aggression, abuse, or harassment, the trip leader should never ignore or dismiss any complaints. All complaints should be quickly investigated, and the following actions taken: 

    1. If there is obvious physical injury or the student/participant reports a rape, make sure they are taken to a hospital or clinic that can provide safe and adequate care. 
    2. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
    3. Talk to the person reporting the allegation and determine the identity and location of the victim. If necessary, separate the accused individual from the victim. Clarify with the student/participant to what degree he/she wishes to involve the police. 
    4. Discern any obvious physical injury and/or emotional distress. 
    5. Provide regular briefings to the College Crisis Staff.  
    6. If the accused individual is a student or participant of the program, proceed with the protocol for behavioral code of conduct violations or, if arrested, protocol for student/participant arrest. 
  • Student Arrest

    1. Quickly assess the situation by obtaining as many details as possible. Determine who, what, when, where, how, and why. 
    2. Follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making. 
    3. The trip leader should visit the student/participant wherever they are being held and, to the extent possible, reassure the student. To the best of their ability, staff should explain the legal procedures involved. 
  • Student Code of Conduct Violations

    1. If a Student Code of Conduct violation is reported or observed, meet with the student to inform him or her of the alleged violations and hear the student’s response to the allegations. This constitutes due process. 

      • It is advisable, but not required, to have another responsible staff member present and to allow the student to have one person of their choosing who was not directly involved in the incident/situation present for support. 
      • If more than one student is involved in the incident/situation, an interview should take place with each student separately. 
    2. Interview any other parties who may be witnesses to the code violation(s) and make sure actions are documented thoroughly. This would include those named by the student in question. Use the Behavior Intervention form for this purpose. 
    3. Decide as to whether the student is responsible for the code violation. The standard for this is the preponderance of information. 
    4. If the student is found not to be responsible, the matter is concluded. The reporting person(s) should be informed. 
    5. If the student is found to be responsible, a sanction or consequence should be determined, communicated to the student and reporting parties, and implemented. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, warnings may be adequate. If the violation is repeated, more serious action may need to be taken. If ejectment from the program is necessary, every effort should be made to send the student home, where possible, a Madison College staff/faculty trip leader should escort the student to the airport or other transportation hub. If the student does not have funds to pay for the return ticket, the trip leader should purchase one (using a Madison College Purchasing Card) and notify the student that they will be billed for that cost. If a student refuses to return home, do not attempt to force them to do so. In such situations, the student should be notified that they have been separated from the program and that their decision to remain is their own. In such cases, the college will notify the participant’s emergency contacts about the situation. 
    6. Serious code violations: follow steps 1 – 4 in Crisis Management Decision Making.