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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Bruce Hanna, Education Abroad Program, University of California
desk (805) 893-4259
cell (805) 451-5414
bhanna@eap.ucop.edu

SARS CAUSES UC TO SUSPEND EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAMS IN BEIJING, CHINA

The University of California announced today (April 17) the suspension of its Education Abroad Programs in Beijing due to the continued expansion of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"Regrettably, the Education Abroad Program has suspended its programs at Peking University and Beijing Normal University in Beijing and mandated the immediate return of UC students in the programs," said professor John A. Marcum, universitywide director of the Education Abroad Program (EAP).

The decision reflects UC's ongoing concern for student safety, given the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in Beijing including a recently confirmed case at Peking University and other cases in neighborhoods near the university. No EAP students have been diagnosed with SARS.

The Education Abroad Program has instructed its 44 students in Beijing to depart immediately. The program is supporting students with travel plans, helping eliminate financial obstacles due to the program suspension, securing as much academic credit as possible for students and advising students on health care precautions upon their return.

EAP continues to monitor local conditions that may impact its programs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. "At this time, all other EAP programs currently operating in Asia remain open," Marcum said.

The Education Abroad Program will decide about operating its summer programs in Beijing no later than May 10. Summer programs in Beijing are scheduled to begin in late June.

Marcum said, "UC is monitoring events closely and is in constant contact with EAP staff abroad as well as with the U.S. State Department, local U.S. embassies and host institutions abroad. UC will continue to provide regular updates and recommendations about specific regional safety concerns."

Throughout its 40 years, student safety has remained a primary focus of the UC Education Abroad Program, and its staff has extensive experience dealing with health and safety concerns. EAP has a wide-ranging network of overseas staff, including on-site UC study center directors, many of whom are UC faculty, host university staff, locally-based EAP staff, and members of the U.S. foreign diplomatic community.

EAP staff provides an ongoing source of information and assistance to students, while also monitoring events locally, nationally and internationally. Through the U.S. diplomatic corps' warden network, EAP study centers regularly receive updates from local U.S. embassies and consulates regarding U.S. citizen safety and remain in close contact with the central EAP administration in Goleta, CA.

Safety updates are available on the EAP Web site at: http://eap.ucop.edu/911/

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About the UC Education Abroad Program

Since the opening of the first EAP study center at the University of Bordeaux in 1962, more than 40,000 UC students have studied in more than 150 universities in nearly 50 countries. During the 2003-04 academic year, more than 4,000 UC students are expected to take advantage of EAP at over 140 institutions in 34 countries.

 
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