Student Organization Travel

3341-2-44 Student Organization Travel

Applicability: 
All University Units

Responsible Unit:
Student Affairs

Policy Administrator:
Office of the Dean of Students

(A) Policy Statement and Purpose

The Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Student Organization Travel Policy is designed to ensure that University departments, recognized student organizations, and individual travelers adequately consider and plan for the safety issues associated with an event, activity, and/or class involving travel. This policy establishes guidelines for University sponsored travel involving student organizations.

(B) Policy

Student Organization Travel Policy

In addition to complying with the university’s Student Travel Policy, the following protocols apply to travel conducted by Recognized Student Organizations.

(1) Trip Coordinator

One member of the travel group must serve as the trip coordinator, including completion of trip coordinator training as provided by the Office of the Dean of Students. Trip coordinators must be currently enrolled students at the university.

(2) Advisor Participation

Upon review of the registration form, the designated staff member will determine if the presence of a travel advisor is required. If a travel advisor is required to travel with the group, the travel costs for the travel advisor will be paid from a special account designated for advisor travel and provided by the Office of the Dean of Students. If a travel advisor is not required to attend, the advisor of record, as listed on the student organization registration form, must sign off on the trip registration form. 

(3) Transportation Requirements

Bowling Green State University has established transportation requirements as determined by the Office of Risk Management. All of these related policies can be found on the Risk Management Web page (www.bgsu.edu/risk-management.html). Additionally, all travel participants are required to follow the transportation requirements summarized below as set forth by the Office of Risk Management. Compliance with these items is required. These transportation requirements apply to travel by car or minivan but do not apply to travel by air or charter bus.  

(a) Driver Requirements

(i) All drivers must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license.

(ii) Drivers must obey all traffic laws, including seat belt use. If failure to obey traffic laws results in a ticket, the driver is responsible for any fines, including parking tickets. 

(b) Rental Vehicles

Renting vehicles from university-approved rental car vendors is an accepted practice. Drivers must be at least twenty-one years of age. 

(c) University-owned Vehicles

Only licensed drivers who are at least eighteen years of age may drive a university-owned car or minivan. All drivers of university vehicles must consent to a motor vehicle record check annually to verify the driver meets the accepted criteria in order to drive. 

(d) Personal Vehicles

The use of personal vehicles is strongly discouraged because the institution lacks control over the condition, maintenance and insurance coverage on personal vehicles. Only licensed drivers who are at least eighteen years of age may drive a car or minivan.

(e) Large Passenger Vans

Because large passenger vans pose a special risk, students are prohibited from driving or riding in a vehicle with seating for more than eight individuals.

(f) Insurance

When using university-owned vehicles, the university provides all necessary liability and physical damage coverage. When using rented vehicles, insurance may be provided by the rental company. When using personal vehicles, insurance is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. The university is unable to reimburse the vehicle owner for any accident-related repairs or payment of deductibles, and personal vehicle owners are expected to carry automobile liability insurance in an amount sufficient to cover any property damage or liability loss and be responsible for the payment of their own deductible including the defense of any claim.

(4) Driving Requirements  

(a) Travel routes must be planned in advance

(b) Student organization leaders and trip coordinators are encouraged to select drivers who have at least two years of licensed driving experience free of any court-imposed restrictions. 

(c) Two drivers are required on trips greater than two hundred fifty miles one-way.

(d) On trips over two hundred fifty miles one-way, drivers must rotate every three hours and no one person may drive more than eight hours in a twenty-four hour period.

(e) Drivers are responsible for knowing and following all motor vehicle laws and safety regulations for each state in which travel occurs.

(f) The use of a cell phone, including text messaging, is prohibited for drivers while driving. Hands-free sets are also prohibited for drivers while driving.

(g) The number of passengers may not exceed the number of available seat belts. All passengers are required to wear a seatbelt at all times.

(h) Passengers may not engage in any behavior that would distract the driver.

(i) Transporting minors unless accompanied by a parent or guardian is prohibited except in situations when the minor is a registered BGSU student younger than age eighteen.

(j) If drivers are participating in events and driving on the same day, then drivers should rotate on a more frequent basis to avoid fatigue.

(k) Driver fatigue is greater between the hours of midnight and six a.m. Drivers must use extreme caution when operating a vehicle during this time. A second person should remain awake and ride in the front passenger seat. 

(5) Inclement Weather  

(a) When planning the travel route, check the forecast to see if inclement weather is predicted. 

(b) During inclement weather, travel safety should follow guidelines set forth by the National Weather Service. Drivers should contact local law enforcement to determine the best course of action based on driving conditions.

(c) During inclement weather, drivers are to use extreme caution.

(d) When driving in treacherous weather and conditions are deemed dangerous or unsafe, immediately cease all travel and find the nearest shelter or hotel.

(e) The university will defray the cost of an overnight stay if bad weather impedes the safe return to campus. Permission to seek extended stays due to weather conditions is initiated through contact with the university police (if after normal business hours) at 419-372-2346.

(6) Behavioral Expectations 

(a) All participants who are defined as BGSU students are accountable to the BGSU Code of Student Conduct throughout the duration of the trip.

(b) Being under the influence, or in possession of alcohol or drugs in conjunction with the trip and throughout its duration, is prohibited regardless of the age of the student participant, unless otherwise approved, regardless of the local drinking age. This applies from the moment of departure from campus until the return to campus, or at the moment the student participant disaffiliates from the approved travel arrangements.

(c) If the driver becomes aware of alcohol and/or drug consumption and/or possession, the driver should stop the vehicle and request that these substances be removed from the vehicle before the trip is continued. Failure of any passenger(s) to comply will cause immediate cancellation of the trip. Individuals as well as the student organization will be held accountable to the policies set forth in the BGSU Code of Student Conduct. 

(d) Smoking is prohibited inside any university-owned or rented vehicle.

(e) The transport of hitchhikers or any unauthorized passengers is prohibited.

(f) Use of other than a compact-size trailer is prohibited without approval.

(g) Students are encouraged to report reckless or irresponsible driving by other student participants so that appropriate safety measures can be taken for future trips.

(h) Driving in a foreign country poses extraordinary risks that may necessitate the purchase of special insurance. It is important to consult with the Office of Campus Activities prior to traveling in a vehicle that crosses the border into another country outside the United States.

(i) All trip participants are ambassadors of Bowling Green State University and as such must represent the university in a positive light. Alleged violations of the BGSU Code of Student Conduct will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students for investigation and resolution. BGSU students and the sponsoring organization are responsible for the behavior of non-BGSU students participating in the trip. 

(7) Monetary Guideline

Any person or organization using university funds for travel must comply with the expenditure guidelines established by the Bowling Green State University Office of the Treasurer.

(8) Exemptions

Requests for exemptions to any of the aforementioned policies are subject to approval by the Dean of Students or designee.

Registered Date: October 12, 2018
Amended Date: October 29, 2018