Missing Student Notification Policy
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires any institution participating in a Title IV federal student financial aid program that provides on-campus housing to establish a missing student notification policy and related procedures (20 USC 1092 (j) Section 488 of the Higher Education Act of 2008)
For purposes of this policy, a student may be considered to be a “missing person” if the person has been absent from the College for a period of 24 hours or longer without any known reason. Additionally, a student may be considered to be a “missing person” if the person’s absence is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and/or unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances could include, but not limited to a report or suspicion that the missing person may be the victim of foul play, has expressed suicidal thoughts, where there are concerns for drug and/or alcohol use, is in a life-threatening situation, or has been with persons who may endanger the student’s welfare.
All residential students will be given the opportunity to identify the name and contact number of the individual(s) who are a primary contact to be notified in the event that the resident is reported missing. In the event the student is under the age of 18 and is not emancipated, the College is required to have the primary emergency contact to be a custodial parent or guardian. Only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation may have access to this contact information.
If a member of the College community has reason to believe that a student is missing, Campus Safety should immediately be notified (616-632-2462). Campus Safety will collect and document the following information at the time of the report.
- The Name (including contact information) and relationship of the person making the report.
- The date, time and location that the missing student was last seen.
- The missing student's cell phone number (if known by the reporting party).
Upon receipt of a missing student report, the College may use any or all of the following resources to located the student, including but not limited to:
- Go to the student’s residence hall room.
- Talk to the student’s RA, roommate (if applicable), and floormates to see if anyone can confirm the missing student’s whereabouts and/or confirm the date, time, and location the student was last seen.
- Secure a current photo of the student through the student ID system and/or from friends.
- Call and text the student’s cell phone and any other phone numbers on record.
- Send the student an email.
- Check all possible on-campus locations mentioned by the reporting party and friends
including but not limited to:
- Campus employment locations
- Residence halls/lounges
- Common areas
- Dining spaces
- Fitness center
- Campus parking lots.
- Other locations on campus as noted in the report.
- Contact or call other on-campus friends, or contacts that are made known. This includes checking a student’s social networking site(s) such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
If all of the above attempts to locate or establish contact with the missing student are unsuccessful, the College will utilize the student’s emergency contacts and notify them no later than 24 hours after the student has been determined to be missing. The College will also file a missing person’s report with the Grand Rapids Police Department.
If the student is located and their status and well-being have been verified, the student will be instructed to contact the concerned party and designated emergency contact.
When the missing student is determined to be a commuter student, the reporting person shall be advised to notify local law enforcement authorities. The College will assist external authorities with the investigation as requested.