The Catholic University of America


Note: If this is a study abroad trip, the Center for Global Education should be consulted.

Those planning trips beyond 250 miles should also be aware that the university imposes limits on the manner of transportation. Please contact the Office of Risk Management (at 5046) for more information on this issue. Current practice is not to allow driving when the radius goes beyond 250 miles.

A. Waivers and Releases

1. General Considerations

Q. If the field trip is a mandatory component of the class must faculty obtain a waiver from students?

A. If the field trip is mandatory, then waivers and releases may not be effective. It would not truly be voluntary, and therefore likely not enforceable.

However, a waiver and release is effective for voluntary activities that students participate in while on a mandatory trip. For example, if a student is on a trip to New York City to perform in a required concert for music class, he or she may be asked to sign a release for anything that he or she does while not performing (i.e., sightseeing).

Q. If the field trip is optional must faculty obtain a waiver from students?

A. If the field trip is an optional component of the class, then waivers and releases will protect the university from liability.

Q. If a student is a minor, must faculty obtain a permission slip from the student's parent?

A. Yes, for minor students (typically those under the age of 18) permission slips from their parents or guardians are required.

Q. What must a waiver or release contain?

A. Waivers and releases should contain a description of the activity. For high risk and hazardous activities, a specialized release with a through description of the specific risks should be used.

Q. Where can I find an approved waiver/release?

A. Here is a general waiver and release. The waivers and release page also has releases tailored for specific activities. If you need assistance on choosing or customizing a waiver, please call the Office of General Counsel at 5142.

2. High Risk Trips

A release must be obtained for high risk activities, even if they are mandatory. A release will put students on notice of the risks and dangers that the activity will entail. Examples of high risk activities include:

  • Trip that involves certain sports or physical activity (e.g., kayaking, rock climbing, ski trips)
  • Trip to view tree canopy while on a platform suspended from a crane.

3. Low Risk Trips

Releases should be obtained unless the activity is a very low risk. An example of a low risk activity would be a walking tour of a small town.

links updated 6/10/08 rab