To: The St. Lawrence Community
From: William L. Fox, President
Date: June 26, 2014
Subject: Kenya Semester
With the highest resolve to ensure the safety of our students, we have made a difficult decision to suspend the Kenya Semester Program for the Fall 2014 semester. We reach this decision mindful of our abiding commitment to the people of Kenya and our many friends in East Africa, especially those who have recently helped us celebrate a milestone 40th anniversary of our international study program there. I deeply appreciate the extensive consultation with trustees, alumni, parents, members of the St. Lawrence staff and faculty, and also government officials here and abroad, all of whom helped us in our deliberations during the last several weeks.
With a recent, twice-updated U.S. State Department Travel Warning (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/kenya-travel-warning.html) and the subsequent decision by the United States Embassy in Nairobi to restrict activities of its staff and even to relocate some of them owing to enlarged security concerns, we are confident that our reasons for taking a break in Kenya make the most sense. Further, the School for International Training (SIT), in addition to several universities, also suspended its program in Kenya for Fall 2014, which affirms our own independent, hard decision.
It also became clear to us that even if we had decided to send students in August, many elements of the program would be so fundamentally altered that the educational integrity would be dramatically compromised and the student experience severely diminished.
We are communicating individually with the students who planned to study in Kenya this fall and we are coordinating this news with their academic advisors who will help develop an alternative plan for the semester, a plan that meets each student’s educational hopes and objectives.
Finally, over the next several months, we will assess all the possibilities of resuming our program in January 2015, making student safety our unequivocal first principle. I also wish to stress that our facilities and staff in Nairobi will be fully supported during this period of evaluation.