By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Students at Texas Tech University can no longer travel to Mexico for study abroad this year as a result of the growing violence spreading throughout the country. Tech administrators made the decision just weeks ago to cancel all programs going to Mexico immediately.
"We felt that we had reached a point where it was just not safe for our students to be there," said Sandy Crosier, Texas Tech's study abroad director.
Around 100 Tech students study abroad in Mexico each year. The three programs scheduled to go to Mexico this summer have been pulled, and one of those programs was canceled for the first time since 1943.
"Even though our students may not be targeted specifically, they could easily be caught up in a very bad situation," said Tibor Nagy, Texas Tech International Affairs Ambassador. "I never want us to be in a situation where we have to look a parent in the eye and say, yes, we knew there was a security concern and we still let your son or daughter go."
DPS reports 65 Americans were murdered in Mexico in 2010, along with several already this year. Since 2006, more than 30,000 Mexican citizens have been killed because of drug-related violence, but kidnappings, carjacking and sexual abuse are also on the rise.
And it's no longer just in border states; the violence is spreading to popular tourist sites like Cancun and Acapulco.
"We're in a situation now where, unfortunately, violence could occur in Mexico anywhere in just about any place," said Nagy.
Tech is also warning students to steer clear of Mexico during their spring break vacations.
"In a sense, it's more dangerous for a student to go on vacation there than it is for students to go on a study abroad program where there is a faculty member who has deep connections to the community," said Crosier. "If we're not letting study abroad programs go, I certainly wouldn't advise a student to go on vacation there."
Students who are from Mexico along with a few students on research projects are the only ones allowed to travel to Mexico through Texas Tech. Nagy and Crosier say that when the violence dies down, they'll start the study abroad program back up. Until then, they're not taking any chances with the surge of violence.
If you are planning on traveling to Mexico in the near future here are some helpful websites:
Register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate by (clicking here).
Check out the U.S. State Department updates on Mexico's security by (clicking here).
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