Frequently Asked Questions
See below for frequently asked questions about travel with students outside the classroom:
- Does the University offer liability insurance?
- What documentation is necessary before leaving on a University sponsored trip?
- What should I do if there is an accident?
- What kinds of activities are considered extreme and how should I arrange for these activities?
- Who needs to arrange transportation?
- Can I rent a car or van through the university?
- What should I know about car rental?
- Can we use personal vehicles?
- Do drivers need to have additional training?
- What plans should be made with other drivers prior to departure?
- What if we charter a bus or Plane:
- Who is empowered to sign a contract, such as an affiliation agreement?
- Can I bring others not affiliated with Grand Valley on my trip?
Does the University offer liability insurance?
The University carries liability insurance policy which protects the University and the faculty or staff member responsible for the event. The University will defend and indemnify a University faculty or staff member for claims arising from his/her negligent act or omission while acting within the scope of employment. Intentionally harmful acts are not within the scope of employment and are not covered.
What documentation is necessary before leaving on a University-sponsored trip?
If the trip is part of a class, the syllabus should clearly identify that a field trip will be part of the course requirements. The syllabus should inform the students of the known risks associated with the trip, schedules of activity, safety procedures, and include applicable sections of the Assumption for Risk and Release Form.
If not included in the syllabus, a student must be provided with the trip information as stated above. In addition, the Assumption for Risk and Release for Off Campus Activities waiver of liability must be completed by every participant prior to leaving on the trip. This form is to be maintained by the department of the faculty/staff employee for a period of four years.
If traveling with students for an extended period, emergency contact information should be collected. In addition, the destination may require additional documentation.
Certificate of Insurance may be necessary from the companies providing service which names the University as an additional insured with general liability minimum limits of $1,000,000. This insurance requirement should be addressed with the company at the time of initial contact. This may not be required of all experiences. Please contact the Risk management office at 331-2284.
What should I do if there is an accident?
Emergency procedures should be determined in advance of the trip. Take appropriate measures to address the situation.
When away from campus, student-related incidents involving bodily injury or property damage (regardless of severity) require immediate notification to the Public Safety department. Also report incidents to your Unit Head or Dean.
Completion of the University's Injury Report Form is required. (Located in Forms section)
Faculty or staff employees who are injured in the course of their employment may be covered under workers' compensation. Contact Human Resources Workers' Compensation for information.
Thefts or criminal activity should be reported to the local police authority.
What kinds of activities are considered extreme and how should I arrange for these activities?
Certain activities which are considered to be extreme include: White water rafting; Mountain climbing; Rock climbing; Trampoline activities; Sky diving; Hang gliding; Scuba diving; Deep sea diving; Rodeos; Survival camps; Horseback riding; Sports or athletic contest or exhibition etc. For these and other similar activities, you must contact the Risk Management Office 331-2284 a minimum of 3 weeks in advance.
Who needs to arrange transportation?
Transportation needs are to be arranged by the faculty/staff member and not by the students.
What should I know about car rental?
Rent cars under the name of Grand Valley State University, then your name. Do not purchase the insurance offered by the rental car company. In the event of loss or damage to a rental vehicle a deductible may be charged to the Department. The renting of vehicles is to be arranged by the faculty/staff person in charge of the activity, and not by the participating students.
Can we use personal vehicles?
The use of personal vehicles is strongly discouraged since the university is unable to reimburse for any accident related repairs. If personal vehicles are used, owners of the vehicles must have automobile liability insurance in an amount sufficient to cover any property damage or liability loss and be responsible for their own personal deductible.
Proof of insurance in the form of an Insurance Identification Card should be submitted to the faculty/staff person in charge of the field trip. Use of personal staff or faculty vehicles will make those employees primarily responsible if any accident should occur. The University endorses all applicable motor vehicle regulations related to driver responsibility including seat belt use.
Do drivers need to have additional training?
Faculty, staff and students driving 15 passenger vans must be participate in training provided by the University's Risk Management and/or Facilities Services Department. Contact Facilities Safety Department for further training information ((616) 331-3000). No additional training is necessary for use of personal or rental cars.
What plans should be made with other drivers prior to departure?
Determine the route, stops, timetables, and assign drivers. You will need a system for communicating and performing student counts. Make sure you have an adequate number of approved drivers for longer trips to allow sufficient rest for drivers. At least 2-4 people should be designated as drivers per vehicle, especially if the trip is of considerable distance and if using 15 passenger vans. This provides adequate drivers should a driver become ill, injured or tired.
What if we charter a bus or Plane:
If chartering a bus, the chartering company must carry insurance with liability limits of at least $5,000,000. The insurance requirement should be addressed with the chartering company at the time of initial contact. The University requires a Certificate of Insurance indicating the limits of liability available. The certificate holder is to be Grand Valley State University If limits are unsatisfactory, another chartering company will need to be used. Contact the Risk Management Office if you encounter difficulties in meeting this requirement.
If chartering a plane it is necessary to consult with risk management to ensure that appropriate limits are available from the charter company to protect the university as well as those on board.
Who is empowered to sign a contract, such as a charter agreement?
In the event it is necessary to sign a contract, contact the University Counsels Office.
Can I bring others not affiliated with Grand Valley on my trip?
Individuals not affiliated with GVSU may participate in an experiential learning activity only with written approval from the department. The non-affiliated individual will not be covered by the university's liability insurance.
Minors not affiliated with Grand Valley should not be a part of GVSU sanctioned experiential learning activities.