U.S. colleges offering a lesson in caution to spring-breakers

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A number of U.S. colleges and universities are warning students who are considering a trip to Mexico for spring break about an upsurge in drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

More than 100,000 college students make the annual spring-break pilgrimage to Mexican resort areas such as Cancun, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta seeking fun in the sun.

But a recent U.S. State Department alert urging Americans to avoid known areas of drug-related violence, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border, has colleges and universities across the country warning its students about the potential for trouble.

Published reports have named Penn State, Notre Dame, the University of Colorado and the University of Buffalo among the schools calling their students' attention to the travel alert, with many of the schools placing ads about the alert in their student newspapers.

The State Department stopped short of telling college students not to go to Mexico in its Feb. 20 alert but warned of the country's escalating drug-related violence and urged Americans to take common-sense precautions when traveling in the country.

Mexico's attorney general, Eduardo Medina Mora, told the Associated Press: "There is no major risk for students coming into Mexico in general terms. It is always important to advise the youngsters to behave."

STA Travel, which bills itself as the country's largest youth travel company, said it only sells popular beach resorts such as Acapulco, Cancun, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

"Many of the packages we offer include lodging on the beach and in very nice resorts that take the utmost pride in making sure customers are safe," STA Travel's Patrick Evans told the Associated Press.

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