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California State University, Fullerton

Academic Safetystudent bat photo

Along with providing for the academic development of students, faculty and staff are responsible for ensuring ensuring their own safety and a safe instructional environment for the student. Laboratories, field trips, internships, study abroad and other higher risk activities require a higher level of attention depending on the nature of the activity.

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Faculty responsibility for safety in the classroom

Faculty have specific responsibilities and liabilities in the instructional setting whenever activities involve more than an ordinary degree of risk. Faculty members are entitled to indemnification and legal defense for alleged acts or omissions occurring within the course of scope of their employment, unless such acts or omissions involve fraud, corruption, or actual malice. Following university safety rules, using safety equipment, and supervision students in the instructional setting will provide evidence of conduct that is within the course and scope of employment.

Faculty must always:

  • Inform students of all risks inherent in the class, lab or activity including dangerous substances, equipment or procedures.
  • Instruct students on how to properly and safely handle all such dangerous items or activities.
  • Exercise a degree of supervision over student activities appropriate with the possible degree of hazard involved.
  • Enforce all applicable safety regulations developed by the department or Risk Management/Environmental Health and Safety.
  • Inform students of campus emergency procedures specific to the classroom or laboratory. This includes response to emergency evacuation, fires, chemical spill, and earthquakes; location of the nearest emergency exits; reporting an emergency using the campus 911 emergency number; proper procedures in case of an injury.
  • Minimize the risks associated with field trips and other off campus activities by informing students of the risks inherent in the field activity, exercising a degree of supervision over the class activity appropriate with the degree of hazards involved, inform students of campus emergency procedures and explain their application in the field, ensure that no alcohol or controlled substances are transported in university vehicles, and notify University Police in the event of a serious injury, death, or extensive property damage.

Download the Faculty Responsibilities for Student Safety brochure.

Driving a vehicle on University business

Driving on university business includes vehicle travel to conferences, meeting, field trips, or any activity within the scope your work. It does not include driving from home to work and back.  To be eligible to drive, you must among other things:

  • Be a university faculty member, staff member, administrator, volunteer or student assistant 18 years of age or older
  • Possess a valid driver's license appropriate for the type of vehicle driven
  • Have a safe driving record as determined by University Police. You must file an "Authorization to Obtain Driving Records from the Department of Motor Vehicles" form (INF 254) with University Police to verify your driving record.
  • Complete a University sponsored Defensive Driver Training course once every four years

For more information, please go to Driving on University Business.

Foreign Travel Insurance

The Foreign Travel Liability Insurance Program is designed to provide financial protection for the University for claims arising from sponsored international travel. While this Program does not eliminate campus liability, it provides an alternative funding source for losses associated with general liability, automobile liability on an excess basis, and Workers' Compensation coverage.

This insurance also provides coverage for emergency medical expense (up to $25,000 in excess coverage with a $250 deductible); medical evacuation (up to $100,000 in excess coverage); accidental death and dismemberment (up to $100,000 in excess coverage); repatriation (up to $25,000 in excess coverage); and assistance services, which include the following:

  • Pre-departure information (for example, immunization, medical exams and treatments, visa requirements, weather and travel hazards)
  • Lost Baggage/Passport Assistance (provides telephone support by contacting the appropriate authorities involved and providing direction for replacement)
  • Insurance Coordination (completion of insurance and medical forms)
  • Evacuation and Repatriation (coordination of emergency medical evacuation, return of mortal remains)
  • Travel Medical Emergency Services (obtain local medical care, monitor quality and cost of hospital treatment, confirm travel medical expense insurance, guarantee payments to providers, and maintain contact between personal and local physicians)
  • Legal Assistance (arrange assistance for local attorneys, embassies, and consulates, maintain communication with family)
  • Emergency Cash (arrange for cash through banks, consulates and hotels)
  • Travel Agency (reservations and arrange for replacement of lost or stolen airline tickets)
  • Coverage includes Trip Interruption Insurance.

Coverage territory is anywhere in the world excluding the United States, its territories or possessions; Puerto Rico; the territorial waters of the United States, Puerto Rico; or those countries, jurisdictions and/or territories against which the government of the United States of America (including any department or subdivision thereof) administers and/or enforces economic and/or trade sanctions.

To avoid a surcharge, no more than five employees may travel together on the same boat, plane, bus or train. Insurance is not available for high risk activities such as but not limited to hang gliding, white water rafting, ski trips, scuba diving, sailing, rock climbing, sports camps, special needs programs, and rental of automobiles other than private passenger vehicles.

To obtain a quote for International Travel Liability Insurance, please use your portal login information to complete the Request for Foreign Travel Liability Insurance.

In most instances, your request will be completed within 10 working days. Once the insurance has been purchased, travelers will receive a 'Travel Assist' card from Risk Management that provides instructions on how to access the insurance benefits and includes necessary telephone numbers.

Off-campus assignments for students

Students are often given an assignment to visit locations or events such as schools, museums, plays, or conferences.  A faculty's responsibility is to ensure these locations are safe and to inform and discuss with students any known risks associated with the assignment. 


Taking a class on a field trip

A field trip is an off-campus group learning activity led by a faculty or staff member who travels with the group. Field trips do not include off-campus assignments such as internships or visits to a local museum where a student acts independently of a group assignment. Field trip participants are limited to University faculty, staff, volunteers and enrolled students. In extraordinary circumstances, a spouse, parent or child may participate in a field trip due to the length or purpose of the trip with the prior written approval of a Division Head or designee.


Faculty responsibilities are listed below, but you should also review the entire Academic Field Trip Guidelines.


  1. Forward to their department chair prior to the beginning of each semester a list of those courses or course sections that incorporate field trips as part of the curriculum.
  2. Make any field trip a component of the course requirements and include this activity in any course syllabus.
  3. Student Travel Accident Insurance, which can provide medical expense benefits to an injured student, is only available if the field trip is listed as a course requirement.
  4. Inform and discuss with students the known risks associated with the field trip.
  5. Instruct and discuss with students how to properly and safely handle situations reasonably likely to occur during the field trip.Inform and discuss with students campus emergency procedures and explain their application to the field activity.
  6. Inform and discuss with students their right to not participate in a field trip based on their perception of the risks involved,
  7. Begin and end all field trips on campus whenever possible to ensure a proper head count and submission of waiver forms.
  8. Exercise a degree of supervision over the activity appropriate for the degree of hazards involved.
  9. Maintain an accurate copy of the Academic Field Trip Participant List on the field trip and in the department office.
  10. Ensure that only those students who have signed an Academic Field Trip Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement participate in the field trip.
  11. Inform and discuss with students UPS 330.232 and any department policy related to student use of alcohol on field trips.
  12. Ensure that no alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are transported in a university or privately owned vehicle used on the field trip.
  13. Student use of alcohol on field trips is governed by UPS 330.232 and department policy.
  14. Call 911 immediately concerning any incident involving serious injury or death, multiple injuries, extensive property damage or whenever appropriate. Contact University Police ((657) 278-2515) as soon as possible.

 Download the Academic Field Trips Faculty & Staff Guidelines brochure.

Student refusal to participate in a course activity

Any student who at any time believes that the risks associated with a field trip or other activity, whether physical or psychological, are excessive may withdraw from participation at that time without penalty. Students who have withdrawn from an activity due to their perception of the risks involved must inquire of the instructor whether there are alternative means of fulfilling the requirements. If there are none, the student may petition for withdrawal from the course without penalty or appeal for an appropriate modification of the activity.

When do I need a Release of Liability?

A Release of Liability is needed for all activities, both mandatory and voluntary, that involve risks of injury or damage to property.  Field trips are special required activities because of the transportation and potential field site hazards and will require a liability release. 


Releases are not required to participate in or attend a class required assignment or activity such as a cultural performance or athletic event.  For example, when a faculty member requires a student to visit a museum or attend a performance as a class requirement but gives the student the freedom to decide what museum to visit/performance to attend and when.


For more information, review the section on Releases and Assumption of Risk.

Faculty responsibility for students injured in the classroom, laboratory, or on a field trip

Faculty must first ensure that injured students receive appropriate medical attention. If the injury is more than first aid, dial 911 from any campus phone or cell phone.  University Police will respond and determine if the student should seek medical attention from the Student Health Center or if Emergency Medical Services need to respond.  


If you're on a field trip, call 911 immediately. 


Once the student has student has received the proper care, complete a Student/Visitor Injury Report and send a copy to Environmental Health and Safety, T-1475 and Risk Management, CP70. 

Faculty responsibility when students participate in service based learning and internships

There are two documents that the university uses to manage risk in relation to credit- bearing off-campus experiences: the University-Community Learning Activity Agreement, and the Participation Consent Form . The University-Community Learning Activity Agreement is a contract, developed by Contracts and Procurement, that guides the relationship between the university and the off-campus entity hosting our students in a credit-bearing off-campus experience. For information, consult with the Center for Internships and Community Engagement or visit the CICE website.

Internships outside the United States will require a Release of Liability and International Travel Insurance.

Observance of Religious Holidays

California State University, Fullerton is a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, and we respect the religious holidays that members of our community celebrate throughout the year. While many of these holidays are not recognized as State holidays, members of our university community may want to observe their religious holidays.

I encourage the university community to consider the importance of observing religious holidays. The following guidelines should be used when considering requests for absence on recognized religious holiday(s) that are not designated State holidays:

  1. Faculty are asked to make appropriate accommodation for students' religious observance needs by providing an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement that is missed because of an absence due to a religious observance, provided the instructor has been notified.
  2. Faculty are asked to make appropriate arrangements with their department chairs or deans in advance, to have their classes covered when they will be absent to observe a religious holiday; and
  3. Staff and administrators are asked to notify their immediate supervisor, in advance, of their request to observe a religious holiday and to use either vacation or Compensatory Time Off (CTO), as appropriate.

As we begin a new academic year, I ask all University personnel to be sensitive to religious observance requests by students, faculty, and staff. Working together as a community with a respect for all cultures and religions, Cal State State Fullerton’s learning and working environment will continue to be diverse and inclusive.

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