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VCU Restricts Travel, Citing Ebola Risk



Virginia Commonwealth University says it won't approve faculty or student requests to travel to three countries in West Africa that are grappling with ebola.

President Michael Rao shared the policy, which doesn't affect personal travel, in an email Friday. Across town, a spokesman for the University of Richmond says it hasn't enacted travel restrictions.

"It's an abundance of caution," VCU spokesman Mike Porter says. "I don't think we have students or staff looking to go to the affected areas."

U.S. government officials say the virus outbreak, which has killed around 5,000 in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, has created panic here far beyond its actual risk.

The ebola outbreak has affected VCU psychology professor Everett Worthington's $1 million forgiveness training program yet to be launched in Africa. He says he's submitted changes to his original plan, which called for South African scholars to visit Sierra Leone, among other countries. Instead, the program will focus on Ghana and Nigeria.

The changes came without input from government officials there, Worthington says.

"I'm not sure what the feelings are of the people on the ground in Ghana," he says, "but it seems like a reasonable assumption to solve the problem by avoiding it rather than delaying the grant."

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