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Emergency Messages

Guidance on University Travel to Cuba


Travel to Cuba continues to become increasingly complicated and governed by the U. S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Due to OFAC restrictions, travel to Cuba is limited.  Only persons whose travel falls into certain categories may be authorized to spend money on travel to Cuba.  The Office of Export Controls Compliance has created Guidance on University-Authorized Travel to Cuba  to outline specific requirements.  At this time, credit-bearing travel remains permissible, but graduate students and employees should work with Northwestern's Office for Export Controls Compliance to determine whether or not their planned university-sponsored non-credit travel to Cuba can proceed. Undergraduates should contact OGSS in the very early stages of travel planning for non-credit travel.

Hong Kong Update


Hong Kong (HK) continues to experience a series of protests that began in June 2019 sparked by ongoing concerns over the extradition bill.  While the extradition bill was formally withdrawn this week, demonstrations have continued over other public demands.  Protests have been generally peaceful, though some have turned violent and disrupted transportation across Hong Kong. 

Universities continue to operate in this new normal. To help students adjust, some have arranged shuttles between campuses or airport pick-ups.  Others are offering real time online classes for students who have safety concerns.  Universities report that students are going about their daily work and studies continue as normal.  Generally, campus locations are not protest areas.

Protests have disrupted public transportation across Hong Kong, especially the HK MTR or Mass Transit Railway.  MTR stations may close, or if open, stop running earlier than expected.

 Travelers to HK should pay close attention to the U.S. Department of State HK Alerts and Messages for demonstration updates. Other recommendations include:

  1. Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings as a standard precaution
  2. Avoid wearing white or black t-shirts
  3. Closely monitor local news to stay abreast of planned protests
  4. Expect heightened security and traffic congestion during demonstrations and adhere to all directives issued by law enforcement personnel and the local authorities
  5. Assess transportation arrangements carefully; most demonstrations occur on the weekends and nighttime (return home) transportation options may be limited
  6. Register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP to receive notifications from the local US Embassy or Consulate
  7. For students, carry your university’s 24-hr campus emergency hotline; do not leave home without this number.  Hong Kong emergency services (ambulance, fire, police): 999 (when dialing locally)
  8. If crossing into Mainland China, avoid carrying (on person or devices) any materials that may be construed as supporting the demonstrations.

Northwestern students or employees planning university-related travel to Hong Kong are encouraged to contact the Office of Global Safety and Security for updated information and to discuss trip itineraries.


Protests in Hong Kong- Update


Social unrest in Hong Kong has continued. After a lull in action and more peaceful demonstrations in week eleven, violence returned.  Going forward, it is reasonable to expect weekend protests to continue and that there will be some level of violence. Clashes with police are instigated by a minority of hardcore protesters, usually after the peaceful demonstrations begin to disperse. Threats are still highly localized to the demonstration areas, and life is continuing as normal in many parts of the city. University officials are reporting that schools have begun on schedule and normal attendance policies are in place.  Upcoming anniversary dates include September 28 (5 year anniversary of start of Umbrella Movement) and October 1 (National Day-China).