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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dean issues travel warning

    With spring break a little more than a month away, many UA students are hurriedly planning week-long vacations to the Mecca of all spring break destinations: Rocky Point. But university officials say: not so fast.

    As violence rises within Mexico’s borders, Carol Thompson, UA assistant vice president and dean of students, wrote in a memo to the UA undergraduate and graduate student population on Feb. 10.: “”The University of Arizona Dean of Students Office strongly advises students to avoid travel to Mexico at this time and during Spring Break.””

    “”We’re not necessarily telling students not to go but we want to make sure they’re informed,”” said Jason Casares, assistant dean of students and campus safety coordinator.

    The purpose of the travel alert memo was to give students the opportunity to get all the information about the current political situation in Mexico, which would allow them to make the appropriate decision, he said.

    UA’s recommendation follows a travel alert issued by the U.S. Department of State April 14, 2008 and updated Oct. 14, 2008.

    “”Mexican drug cartels are engaged in an increasingly violent fight for control of narcotics trafficking routes along the U.S.-Mexico border,”” the U.S. travel alert reads. “”The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted.””

    In the report, the U.S. Department of State recommends U.S. citizens who choose to visit Mexico understand the risks and how to avoid dangerous situations while in that country.

    Encouraging students not to visit Mexico can be difficult, Casares said. With its low cost and short distance from Tucson, Rocky Point is an appealing destination for many UA students.

    “”We know, traditionally at least, that most of our students here at the UA go to somewhere in Mexico for spring break,”” Casares said. “”Basically most of the students can jump in a car and go across the border.””

    Undecided freshman Danny Marks said that Mexico’s close proximity to UA is definitely one of the reasons so many students choose to go. Marks, who said he has been to Mexico about 15 times, said he is still planning on going to Rocky Point for spring break.

    Nutrition freshman Michael Riley said Mexico’s appeal lies in the country’s mystique.

    “”Some people like the fact that it’s dangerous,”” Riley said. “”They don’t know what is going to happen and that makes it more interesting.””

    Both Marks and Riley offered similar advice for students traveling south for the spring: be smart.

    “”Mexico isn’t a problem unless you’re stupid and out of control,”” Marks said. “”Keep your composure and you’re good.””

    Casares suggests that students still interested in visiting Mexico stop by Campus Health and pick up a brochure on ways to be safe in that country.

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the Dean of Students Office and the University of Arizona Police Department will also be hosting a spring break safety event on March 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the UA Mall, he said.

    If anything, Casares said students should remain open to other possibilities come spring break, which takes place March 14 to 22.

    “”There are many other great spring break locations in the country,”” he said. “”You can go to Florida, Texas, there are places here in Arizona, other than going across the border to Rocky Point.””

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