After experiencing disaster in Japan, the university should improve its planning process.
The world today is unpredictable, but contingency plans are all the more necessary because of it.
When a 9.0 magnitude quake devastated Japan on March 11, university officials began to evaluate the safety of its TU Japan students. By the time the United States Department of State issued a travel warning March 18, officials informed students the university was “suspending the TUJ Study Abroad program for the duration of the semester,” according to an email from the Temple education abroad office.
In the email, students were told, “A team of Temple administrators and faculty are developing strategies now, and we will follow up with you directly.”
The move to keep students safe – along with giving them the option to stay or leave – was one anyone would expect from the university. Though we cannot fault the administration for the decisions they’ve made in light of a disaster regarding student safety, The Temple News urges officials to develop these strategies beforehand.
As Connor Showalter reports in “TUJ campus restarts classes for returning students,” Page 1, Temple is offering TU Japan students who decided to return to the U.S. an option to receive free housing and complete their semester on Main Campus. TU Japan professors can give incomplete grades to students who can’t finish their courses. But if the student takes the incomplete because they left Japan, tuition reimbursement is out of the question.
We find it hard to believe there were not policies in place regarding tuition reimbursements in case of emergencies, but if there weren’t, we hope the study abroad office is actively working with administrators to create them.
No one wishes for natural disasters – and they are hardly preventable – but they can be more manageable. Another quake already hit eastern Japan on March 27. The 6.5 magnitude quake should shake some pre-planning sense into administrators.