By Benjamin Engle
Like many other United States college students studying abroad in Egypt, Union student Mike Clarke ’11 will be evacuating from the troubled nation.
Clarke, who was studying Arabic while on a Union College Independent Study Abroad program during the winter term, has been in contact with Union College officials and is planning on flying out of the country today, Feb. 3.
On Saturday, the US Department of State issued a “travel warning” for American citizens going to or already in Egypt due to the political protesting which has, in some areas, escalated to violent protests. The protesting, which began on Jan. 25, has consisted of street demonstrations, riots, looting, and general civil disobedience. “U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so,” the travel warning stated.
Besides the civil unrest in the country, many college students are being forced to leave Egypt due to disruptions in communications, such as cell phone and Internet services.
Director of International Programs Lara Atkins has been monitoring the situation in Egypt since the protests began.
“As soon as the U.S. Department of State escalated the Travel Alert to Egypt to a Travel Warning, Mike’s ISA was effectively over,” Atkins stated. “Union College has a travel warning policy, as do many other colleges and universities that ends study abroad programs in countries when a travel warning is assigned.”
Union’s policy on travel restrictions for international programs states that the College does not send students to countries with travel warnings: “Union College does not operate or direct study abroad programs, including independent study abroad projects, for any student in a country for which a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or U.S. economic sanctions are in effect.”
The Concordiensis attempted to reach Clarke via email for comment but did not get a response, most likely due to reports of Internet outages in Egypt.