Due to "safety concerns" in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan, the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies, a Columbia University-administered program currently hosting three Brandeis undergraduate students in Japan, has suspended its spring program, according to a March 17 BrandeisNOW article.A representative of KCJS could not be reached for comment by press time.

In a March 14 e-mail to the Justice, Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid wrote that the three undergraduate students in Japan were not harmed in the earthquake and ensuing tsunami. In separate March 21 e-mail interviews with the Justice, Ben Swartz '12 and Shawn Richardson '12, two undergraduate students in Japan, wrote that the effects of the disasters were not evident in Kyoto.

"If you were standing in Kyoto now, the only evidence of the earthquake, attendant tsunami, or trouble at Fukushima Dai-ichi [power plant] would be the news reports and the people standing on street corners seeking donations," Richardson wrote in his e-mail.

Swartz wrote in his e-mail, "It is very weird because I know the reality of the situation, the teachers here know the reality of the situation, yet people back home still seem to be overreacting."

According to Van Der Meid in the BrandeisNOW article, Brandeis is assisting KCJS with arranging transportation for the students to get home, and they are expected to return to the United States within a week.

The BrandeisNOW article states that "program officials are also attempting to develop a plan for students to work remotely so they can finish their studies and not lose credit." In a March 21 e-mail to the Justice, Van Der Meid wrote that the Office of Study Abroad is working with other offices such as the Department of Community Living to assist students in returning to Brandeis and completing their KCJS coursework.

In his e-mail to the Justice, Swartz wrote, "Currently my program is trying to set up a system online to finish the classes. As of right now I am not sure how that will play out, but I am hopeful that I will receive all my credit."

Richardson also wrote, "The general idea, however, is that we will submit work via e-mail to our professors, especially final projects and the like, by a given deadline. Exact details are uncertain, since the announcement of this suspension came at the start of the weekend, and our professors haven't had a chance to communicate their intentions to us yet."

In a March 21 e-mail to the Justice, Van Der Meid wrote that while students have been approved for study abroad in Japan for the fall and spring of next year, it is too early to confirm whether their programs will run. "We are working with those approved for the fall to have back up plans in place," he wrote. Students from the International Business School can still choose to study abroad at Waseda University or Keio University in Japan, IBS Director of Marketing and Communications Matthew Parillo wrote in an e-mail to the Justice.

He also wrote that the IBS is in communication with its partner universities in Japan "to learn more about the situation on the ground to determine if any restrictions are needed on our part." No IBS students are currently studying abroad in Japan, according to the BrandeisNOW article. Of the three students who were planning to study abroad in Japan, one is still interested in going to Japan later on, Parillo wrote in his e-mail.