Student Travel Policies – NEW

Valparaiso University recognizes that travel to off-campus events and activities is a beneficial part of the student collegiate experience; therefore, the University encourages and permits such travel and recommends the use of commercial transportation. The University seeks to provide the safest opportunities and methods of transportation and to mitigate any risks that might be associated with student travel. To that end, the following policies and procedures have been established. These policies, including those outlined in the Student Guide to University Life, are considered the minimum requirements for student travel. Sponsors of trips (i.e. academic units, the Chapel, athletics, and/or student organizations) may require additional standards to address the unique requirements associated with a particular type of trip.

Form: Student Trip Application

Student trips for which the University provides transportation must be approved by the appropriate administrative office (see below) using the Student Trip Application form.

This form may be used for either blanket (semester) or one-time trip authorization. It must be completed in its entirety and submitted to one of the following administrative offices at least three weeks prior to departure. Once approved, the Student Trip Application form will be returned to the faculty/staff advisor to be filed with the Release of All Claims form. Together, these forms will be filed in the department’s main office so others have access in the advisor’s absence. Travel emergency procedures and contact information will be returned along with the approved Student Trip Application. Questions regarding the University’s student travel policies may also be directed to these administrative offices.

  • Provost’s Office – for academic/Chapel travel. Travel that is sponsored by academic units or the Chapel and for which the University provides transportation requires the approval of the Provost. These trips include course-related field trips, field study courses, music, theatre, or Chapel groups, service learning trips, attendance at conferences, workshops, and competitions, and group field research.
  • Union Director’s Office – for co-curricular and Student Organization travel. Student travel that is sponsored by student organizations requires the approval of the Union director. Such travel must also adhere to current policies and procedures for student organizations.
  • Director of Athletics’ Office – for athletics travel. Athletic travel, including club sports travel, requires the approval of the director of athletics. Athletic travel must also adhere to the policies of the Athletics department.

Form: Student Self-Transportation Agreement

In the event a student travels in any personally-owned vehicle or via public transportation for University-sponsored travel off campus, the student must complete a Student Self-Transportation Agreement and submit it to the department chair or trip sponsor prior to the event. This form is to be kept on file for two years and three months following the last day of travel. The Student Self-Transportation Agreement may be used for one-time trips or for frequent trips throughout a given semester. This policy applies to events for which the student chooses not to use the University provided transportation as well as events for which the University does not provide transportation. In the event a student is involved in an accident in her or his personal vehicle while traveling to or from a University-sponsored event, the student is responsible for loss or damage to the vehicle, any bodily injury or property damage to others they may cause, and is expected to maintain appropriate insurance covering damage, liability, and medical costs. Note that sponsoring department or organization policies may be more restrictive in nature and may not allow student self-transportation.

Form: Release of All Claims

Students who participate in University-sponsored travel events, including those for which the University provides transportation and those for which students transport themselves, must sign the Release of All Claims form. This form must be kept on file along with the approved Student Trip Application or the signed Student Self-Transportation Agreements in the department/chair (main) office for two years and three months following the last day of travel.

The use of commercial transportation is recommended for the purposes of student travel. Chartered buses, vans, and limousine services are examples of acceptable commercial transportation. It is imperative that a certificate of insurance be obtained from the commercial operator before students are transported. When a reservation for commercial transportation is made, confirm whether the University has a certificate of insurance on file; if not, request a certificate of insurance to be faxed to the University’s Finance office at 219.464.6000. Information regarding companies who currently have certificates of insurance on file can be accessed directly on the University’s Purchasing Intranet site (PDF).

All University purchasing policies apply when procuring commercial transportation.

All faculty and staff who provide student transportation must be authorized by the University to do so. All faculty and staff who anticipate they may be involved with student travel are encouraged to become authorized drivers at the beginning of the semester or soon after hire. Faculty and staff must submit a current driver’s license to the Valparaiso University Police Department, which will request a driver’s history and driving record check on the information provided. Departments and organizations will be charged for the costs incurred to conduct this check. Please allow for processing and review time of approximately three weeks.

Faculty and staff driving authorizations are valid for the duration of employment with Valparaiso University unless a violation occurs. Licensure violations must be self-reported to VUPD within three days of the violation. Driving authorizations are subject to revocation; failure to self-report violations will result in disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to require interim license and driving record checks.

Faculty and staff who transport students are encouraged to use rental vehicles rather than a personal vehicle. See section III(ii) of the University’s travel policy for vehicle rental policies and procedures.

Valparaiso University permits student drivers for University-related travel and student trips only after proper reporting or with required authorization as indicated below. These policies are considered the minimum requirements for student travel. Sponsors of trips (i.e. academic units, the Chapel, student organizations and/or athletics) may require that student drivers meet additional standards to address the unique requirements associated with a particular type of trip.

University authorization is not required for student drivers for the following routine or recurring activities for which Valparaiso University does not ordinarily provide transportation: student teaching, nursing clinicals, practicums, internships and co-ops, off-site instruction, and certain field research and service learning experiences. Students are, however, required to complete a Student Self-Transportation Agreement.

Form: Student Driver Authorization Application

Authorization is required for student drivers for all University provided travel and student trips. The Student Driver Authorization Application form is used to obtain such approval. To become an authorized driver, students should initiate the following application process at least three weeks prior to the trip. 1) Submit a current driver’s license to VUPD for a driver’s history and record check, 2) complete the University’s driver’s safety training course, and 3) attach a copy of the student driver safety training certificate of completion to the Student Driver Authorization Application. This form must be submitted for approval to the appropriate administrative office as follows:

Academic and Chapel Travel
  • Student drivers for travel provided by academic units or the Chapel require the approval of the provost. These trips include course-related field trips, field study courses, music, theatre, or Chapel groups, service learning trips, attendance at conferences, workshops, and competitions, and field research. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to the sponsoring academic unit.
Co-curricular and Student Organization Travel
  • Student drivers for travel provided by a student organization require the approval of the Union director. Charges incurred to check student’s driver’s license will be charged back to the sponsoring student organization.
Athletic Travel
  • Student drivers for travel provided by athletics or club sports require the approval of the athletics director. Charges incurred to check a student’s driver’s license will be charged back to the sponsoring department.

Student driving authorizations are valid for the duration of enrollment at Valparaiso University unless a violation occurs. Licensure violations must be self-reported to VUPD within three days of the violation. Driving authorizations are subject to revocation; failure to self-report violations will result in disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to require interim license and driving record checks.

In addition, the following policies apply:

  • Cell phones are not to be used while driving a vehicle.
  • In the event a student must operate a rental vehicle, the student will be covered by University insurance as long as the student follows the authorized itinerary. If the student on her or his own accord chooses to deviate from the directed itinerary and an accident occurs, the insurance coverage is no longer in effect. Personal side trips are not permitted.
  • In the event of an accident, regardless of the amount of damage or injury, the student must contact local law enforcement authorities and an accident report must be obtained. The student must notify the University’s insurance carrier, Valparaiso Insurance Professionals, at 219.462.5106 during regular business hours, 219.464.1906 after hours or the vice president for Administration and Finance of the University at 219.464.5215 as soon as possible.
  • Rental vehicles should be returned refueled to avoid excessive vendor refueling charges.
  • Under no circumstance will the student be reimbursed for fines for moving or parking violations.
  • Under no circumstance will the student operate a rental or University vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance.
  • Students are not permitted to drive 15-passenger vans.

In an effort to make every trip sponsored by a student organization and funded by Student Senate a safe and rewarding experience, the following additional guidelines have been established:

  1. All trips must be registered with the Union director’s office, ext. 5007, in advance of departure.
  2. When a trip is planned it is required that an organization’s advisor or University representative accompany the group. If the advisor cannot attend, then the representative must be another faculty member or administrator from Valparaiso University. A student may not act as the advisor. The student organizer and the advisor or representative must sign the Student Senate waiver form for all conferences/events attended before they can be approved. If airline travel is used, only clauses 1, 3, & 4 apply. The organization must supply the advisor with a free ticket for the trip.
  3. All participants must complete and sign the individual and group waiver form(s) at the time of signing up or purchasing a ticket. You may sell tickets at the Union Information Desk and at the time of purchase the desk attendant will present the waiver form for signing. Prior to departure or at the end of the sale, you will receive a copy of all those attending the trip and all signed waiver forms from the desk. Please do not take the waiver forms with you. Use a copy of the list as your checklist before you leave and when returning. You are responsible to make sure everyone returns. It is the group’s responsibility, not the Info Desk’s responsibility, to make sure every person attending the trip signs the waiver form prior to leaving the University. Occasionally, people will purchase tickets for other students or guests who may not be available to sign the waiver at the time of ticket purchase. The Union Info Desk is not responsible for any missing signatures, so it is recommended you check everyone as they board the transportation.
  4. It is recommended that the trip leader have a cell phone with them during the trip, so that participants can contact someone if there is an emergency or if they will be delayed. Distribute the number to everyone before they depart the bus.
  5. All participants are required to go and return on University provided transportation. Individual transportation is not allowed.
  6. If tickets are being distributed, it is recommended that they not be given out until you get to the event. If you sell tickets at the Information Desk, each individual will receive a ticket, and they can turn that one in for the actual event ticket. In order to sell tickets at the Information Desk, you will need to fill out a ticket request form and return it to the Desk (see Ticket Sales).

Any questions pertaining to this policy may be directed to the Union director’s office, ext. 5007.

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