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Field Trips & Waivers

UCD POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL Section 370-05, Student Off-Campus Events, Programs, and Travel http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/ppm/370/370-05.htm

The leader of the Field Trip or other off-campus activity is advised to provide signed waivers ( http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/pdf/tripwaiver.pdf ) to the department for retention for at least 3 years after the date of the return trip or completion of the program.

Having students sign a wavier is NOT mandatory, just nice to have. Though Campus indicates that waivers or releases of liability are instruments designed to protect the University and event leaders from legal liability and encourages us to use them. UC falls under some unwritten implied protection law that covers the University, event leaders and/or Head's of a department without signed waivers. So the bottom line is you can elect to use them for the added protection or not.

Campus indicates that waivers or releases of liability are instruments designed to protect the University and its Event Leaders and/or Head of a Unit or Department from legal liability for injuries that may occur to students or other individuals who participate in both voluntary and required activities on and off campus. The frequency of lawsuits has increased as our society has become more litigious, subjecting the University and its Event Leaders and/or Head of a Unit or Department to more liability exposure. Although some people hold the misconception that waivers are worthless, in fact, they are valid and reliable legal tools under California law.

Waivers may be used as protection from liability for accidents, activities carrying certain inherent risks, and even the negligence of University employees in certain circumstances. Waivers signed prior to participation are viewed by the law as contracts or agreements in which the participant agrees to excuse the University and its employees from fault or liability for personal injuries associated with the activity. If the participant agrees in advance that the University and its employees owe him/her no duty, recovery from negligence is barred. Indemnity and hold-harmless provisions shift the responsibility for legal expenses associated with claims to the participant. The law that applies to waivers is often used in conjunction with other legal principles. The University and its employees are sometimes protected by immunities such as immunity from suit for participation in hazardous recreational activity or an injury caused by a natural condition of unimproved property.

However, waivers do not apply to dangerous conditions of public property that cause injury. OP Risk Management, in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel, developed several new waivers to be used on the campuses. These instruments incorporate the legal principles of assumption of risk, waiver of claims, including the negligence of UC employees, and indemnity. The templates for these waivers have withstood legal scrutiny when challenged in court. In an effort to reduce the administrative burden to the campuses, time has been taken to make the waivers as easy to use as possible. Definition of an Event leader--dependent upon the event or program, may be a faculty member, a designated staff member, a principal investigator (PI), an undergraduate or graduate student who leads and coordinates a research expedition or other activity in furtherance of his or her academic studies or on behalf of the University. The event leader shall assume primary responsibility for the coordination of efforts in support of these policies and procedures.

Waivers are required for:

  1. Field trips that are scheduled, sponsored, and supervised by the University.
  2. Off-campus recreational activities or programs including, for example, Intercollegiate Athletics, Sports Clubs, Outdoor Adventures.
  3. International programs abroad, summer programs abroad, career internship programs.
  4. Research trips and expeditions taken by graduate students in furtherance of postgraduate studies with the usual and customary guidance of an academic advisor. The graduate student, as an event leader, may at times enlist the assistance of members of the public or other students.
  5. Research trips and expeditions led by UCD that may include employees, members of the public, visiting scholars, or students.

IV. GUIDELINES FOR EVENT PLANNING

A. The participant shall:

  1.  For an elective voluntary activity, agree in writing to the provisions contained in the appropriate Waiver and Release (available at http://rms.ucdavis.edu/waivers.htm) to participate in the activity. Exception: A waiver is not required for UC employees acting within the course and scope of employment.
  2. Exercise reasonable care for his or her personal safety during the event, program, and travel.
  3. Observe appropriate standards of conduct as otherwise provided by UCD or UC policy (see References, VII, below).

B. The event leader shall:

  1.  Exercise reasonable care in event planning and in leading the event.
  2. Review the Travel and Event Planning Guidelines for Event Leaders at http://rms.ucdavis.edu. These guidelines are discretionary and as such may contain items that are necessary or useful for some travel or event planning, but not others.
  3. Exercise reasonable care for personal safety during the event, program, and travel.
  4. Familiarize him or herself with this policy prior to departure.
  5. Observe appropriate standards of conduct as otherwise provided by UCD or UC policy.
  6. Provide signed waiver forms to the department for retention for at least 3 years after the date of the return trip or completion of the program. If minors are participants, a parent or guardian must sign the form, and the forms are maintained for 2 years beyond the minor's 18th birthday. The waivers may be stored electronically, without keeping the hard copy.