Catherine Couretas

A minimum grade point average (GPA) will now be required of all students looking to study abroad or participate in travel programs while studying at Miami University.

Will Hazleton, professor of political science, presented some of the first major revisions to the study abroad and travel program guidelines in nearly nine years to the university senate Monday.

“We’ve put in a minimum 2.0 GPA for participation,” Hazleton said.

Cheryl Young, director of lifelong learning, said a 2.0 was chosen after investigating other schools’ requirements.

“At most schools it’s a 2.5 or 2.75,” Young said. “At Miami, if you have below a 2.0 you’re on probation. We don’t believe that someone with below a 2.0 should be studying abroad; they should be working on getting their GPA up.”

Young added that program directors can require a higher GPA for certain programs. She strongly suggested that faculty scrutinize each student’s academic record to make the judgment if they can study abroad.

“Different programs have different requirements,” Young said.

According to Young, the first set of study abroad and travel program guidelines were developed and approved by university senate in early 2000.

Travel programs, or university related trips which students take within the country, have the same guidelines as study abroad programs.

Young said that these guidelines needed to be revisited because of a significant increase during the past nine years in the number of Miami students traveling, especially abroad.

The guidelines now also incorporate language dealing with all types of harassment abroad and on travel programs, according to Hazleton.

Young said faculty members are also now required to report back to campus any issues of harassment that occur during travel-a rule that had not been clear before.

“We have had incidents, we believe, where it was reported to faculty and not to the university,” Young said. “We just wanted to make faculty aware that it’s their responsibility to report harassment back to campus.”

Policies on drugs and alcohol were also clarified, according to Young.

She said that the policy says university funds cannot be used to purchase alcohol, though the guidelines do not restrict students from drinking.

“We’re asking students to be on their best behavior,” Young said. “We can’t say they can’t drink. We’re trying to clarify that basically the rules that apply on campus apply on travel programs.”

Young said that the main goal of clarifying these policies was to develop guidelines that follow university policy.

“We expect everyone to behave,” Young said. “We want to make these travel experiences excellent for students and the faculty leading them.”