Congress To Tackle Bill Requiring Colleges Report Study Abroad Deaths


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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Congress will tackle a bill on Monday or Tuesday requiring colleges to report study abroad deaths so students and parents can make better decisions regarding places to study overseas.

New York Dem. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will reintroduce The Ravi Thackurdeen Safe Students Study Abroad Act, which will expand the areas where colleges are responsible for reporting crimes, including places where students study abroad, according to correspondence obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Currently, an IHE must annually report data to the Department of Education on certain criminal offenses that occur in the following geographic categories: on campus, on campus in a residential facility, on noncampus property, and on public property,” states the proposed legislation. “This bill expands the geographic categories of reportable offenses to also include crimes that occur while a student is participating in an approved study abroad program.”

“Additionally, it requires an IHE to develop and distribute, as part of its annual security report provided to students and employees, a statement that it has adopted and implemented a program to protect students participating in an approved study abroad program from crime and harm.”

Maloney originally introduced the bill in September 2015 and Congress referred it to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training in March 2016. The bill has 11 cosponsors, nine of whom are Democrat representatives.

The legislation is named after former Swarthmore College student Ravi Thackurdeen, who lost his life to a riptide during his 2012 study abroad program in Costa Rica. His mother, Ros, detailed the loss of her son to TheDCNF.

“As Ravi and another student waded into shallow water, they were immediately caught in a rip current,” said Ros to TheDCNF. “Ravi and his classmate screamed for help. A tourist was able to save the classmate, but Ravi was pulled 300 yards from shore. He treaded water for over thirty minutes, but help never came.”

Ros and Elizabeth Brenner, another mother of a student who died while studying abroad, started Protect Students Abroad, which dedicates itself to informing prospective study abroad students and their parents about the types and risks of programs in which students can partake.

Virginia and Minnesota have already passed bills similar to The Ravi Thackurdeen Safe Students Study Abroad Act.

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