Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

First Advisor

Susan C. Bon


U.S. higher education institutions and international educators have sought to improve the level of engagement and participation in education abroad among undergraduate college students as well as to diversify the types of available experiences and the students that benefit from them. Yet, this programmatic investment in international education and study abroad has occurred without fully understanding the discrimination and litigation risks of such endeavors. This study examines the relevant federal statutes and their interpretation as defined by trial outcomes and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) opinions in an effort to inform the field of international education and its practitioners of their roles, responsibilities, and obligations. It also explores the extraterritorial extension of federal laws for discrimination occurring outside of the United States. Although the presumption against extraterritoriality emerged in many of the cases, it is not a blanket legal protection for institutions engaged in international education. Institutions can and should mitigate the legal vulnerability of their international education faculty and administrative staff through robust training and coordination with campus offices such as their general counsel and disability services.