ISEP’s Crisis Communications Plan summarizes the roles, responsibilities and protocols that will guide ISEP in promptly communicating with its main constituent groups, and the public, during an emergency or crisis.

Disasters, emergencies and crises disrupt ISEP member institution’s normal activities and may require activation of various specific emergency plans depending on the issue at hand. This Crisis Communications Plan summarizes ISEP’s ability to communicate vital information to members, students, parents and the public.

ISEP is to be as responsive as possible to news media in a manner that does not compromise our operational response or the privacy of our students.

The audiences for this plan include ISEP students, institutional members, staff, Board of Directors, alumni and the media. State, federal, consulate and embassy officials will be notified on a case-by-case basis.

ISEP’S Crisis Management Guiding Principles

  • ISEP is committed to addressing immediate action necessary to maintain security and health of program participants.
  • ISEP is committed to collaborating with home and host coordinators to help facilitate the exchange of information in a timely way and to support the efforts of coordinators on-site during emergency situations.
  • ISEP is committed to providing students and member universities resources for pre-departure and on-site tools to help decrease risks to the best of our ability.
  • ISEP is committed to communicating with our stakeholders proactively and honestly while respecting a student’s right to privacy.
  • ISEP is committed to transparency in our decision-making processes and policies.
  • ISEP is committed to remaining knowledgeable on best practices in the field of international education and aware of cultural differences regarding health and safety.

We realize that in a crisis, people will likely expect ISEP to have more information than we may actually have. That makes it imperative for us to speak with accuracy about what we know and not speculate about details we do not know. We will use multiple channels to reach as many people as possible with accurate and timely information. This is especially important during and in the first hours and days following a crisis.

Our goal is to be open, accountable and accessible to all audiences, while mindful of legal and privacy concerns.

Assessing the Severity of a Crisis or Emergency

ISEP defines an emergency as any situation that poses an immediate or potential risk to the safety, security or health of ISEP students. Emergency situations include but are not limited to:

  • Major accident, injury or illnesses
  • Any hospitalization
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorist events/campus shootings
  • Civil unrest
  • Victim of a violent crime or physical assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Arrest; detention; deportation
  • Disappearance or missing person
  • Death of a student
  • Epidemic
  • Theft/Robbery
  • Health Epidemic

A “perceived emergency” results from events that are not immediately threatening to the health or safety of program students or staff, but which may be viewed as such by family and friends at home, or by the media. In many instances, a perceived emergency must be treated as a real emergency.

In assessing a crisis or emergency, the severity and level of response needed may vary. To that end, we categorize crises based on the level of response expected to be reasonably necessary based on known facts.

Level 3 – incidents that have limited impact on ISEP and can be managed through routine protocols and procedures within a department (Program Officer and Regional Director)

Level 2 – incidents that have the potential to have broader impact or that require cooperation among units to effectively manage and resolve them and that require adaptation of routine procedures

Level 1 – incidents that present substantial risks to the ISEP participants or ISEP’s reputation

For ongoing crisis management:

Our goal is to get any crisis or emergency under control as quickly and safely as possible so ISEP’s member institutions and ISEP students can resume normal operations. The overall approach will be to pursue the applicable recovery plan developed by the ISEP Crisis Communications team, working with our member institutions, global emergency consultants and local government officials as much as reasonably practical and warranted based on the circumstances.

Crisis Communication Team

The following personnel serve as regular members of the ISEP Crisis Communication Team. Individuals listed also may serve dual roles as members of the Health and Safety Task Force charged with managing emergency activities affecting the ISEP membership and student body.

  • Nancy Campbell, Assistant Vice President of Program Operations and Health and Safety Task Force Chair
  • Mary Catherine Chase, Director, Communications and Strategic Partnerships
  • Will Pope, Program Manager, International Member Relations
  • Matt Merlene, Program Officer for U.K. and Australia

Depending on the nature and scope of the crisis or emergency, effective communication will depend on access to immediate and accurate logistical and other information about the crisis or emergency, and the support services available to students, members and staff.

To have this information readily available, the following positions may be asked to provide direct logistical support to the Crisis Communications Team:

  • John S. Lucas, Ph.D, President & CEO: In a time of a public crisis emergency, this person will take the lead in communicating key messages and answering questions. The President & CEO also may designate the Assistant Vice President of Program Operations or another senior administrator to serve as spokesperson. The spokesperson will be the public face of ISEP and will be responsible for communicating current and accurate information. The President & CEO, with the support of the Assistant Vice President of Program Operations and the Director of Communications and Marketing, will determine when news releases will be issued and news conferences scheduled.
  • Kristen Aguto, Vice President, International Member Relations and Program Operations: serves as the liaison with the ISEP Executive Team.