missing student policy

Scope: This policy applies to students who reside in campus housing, including off-campus apartment units leased by the college for student residences.

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the college's response to reports of missing students, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

For purposes of this policy, a student will be considered missing, if a roommate, classmate, faculty member, family member or other campus person has not seen the person in a reasonable amount of time. A reasonable amount of time may vary with the time of day and information available regarding the missing person's daily schedule, habits, punctuality, and reliability. Individuals will be considered missing immediately, if their absence has occurred under circumstances that are suspicious or cause concerns for their safety. If the initial report that a person is missing is made to a department other than the Department of Campus Safety, the employee receiving the report will ensure that the Department of Campus Safety is contacted immediately.

Procedure: Procedures for designation of emergency contact information

a. Students age 18 and above and emancipated minors:
Students will be given the opportunity during each semester registration process to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by the college “in case of emergency”. In the event a student is reported missing college personnel will attempt to contact his/her emergency designee no more than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing and in accordance with the procedures set forth below. An emergency contact designee will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.

b. Students under the age of 18: In the event a student who is not emancipated is determined to be missing, pursuant to the procedures set forth below, the college is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian of such disappearance within 24 hours.

I. Official notification procedures for missing persons

a. Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must notify the Department of Campus Safety as soon as possible. Note: In order to avoid jurisdictional conflicts when a commuter student is believed to be missing, the reporting person should immediately notify local law enforcement authorities. The Department of Campus Safety will assist outside agencies with these investigations as requested.

b. The Department of Campus Safety will gather information about the residential student from the reporting person and from the student's acquaintances (description, clothes last worn, where student might be, who student might be with, vehicle description, information about the physical and mental well being of the student, an up-to-date photograph, class schedule, etc.). Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student.

c. If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the student within 4 hours of the report or it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g., witnessed abduction), the Department of Campus Safety will contact the New London Police Department to report the student as a missing person and the local law enforcement agency will take over the investigation.

d. No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the Vice-President for Student Development and Dean of Students or his designee will notify the emergency contact (*for students 18 and over) or the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) that the student is believed to be missing.

*Contact is contingent upon the correct emergency contact information being made available by the student.

II. Campus communications about missing students

In all cases of a missing student, where the student is declared missing by the Department of Campus Safety after an initial investigation, the law enforcement agency conducting the subsequent investigation will provide information to the media that is designed to obtain public assistance in the search for any missing student. The College Communication Office is available to provide consultation on communication with the investigating law enforcement agency. Any media requests to the college will be directed to the Communications Office. Prior to providing the Colby-Sawyer College community with any information about a missing student, the Communications Office shall consult with the Department of Campus Safety and with law enforcement authorities to ensure that communications do not hinder the investigation.