I. Policy Statement
The Clery Act requires institutions that maintain on-campus housing facilities to establish a missing student notification policy and related procedures (20 USC 1092 (j) Section 488 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008).
When it is determined that a residential student is missing from the university, staff at University of Puget Sound, in collaboration with local law enforcement, will be guided by this Missing Student Notification Policy and related procedures.
This policy's reporting expectations and procedures apply to all University of Puget Sound students, faculty, and staff. Other expectations apply to Security Services, Residence Life employees, and related departments.
When used in this policy,
Missing: A university student who has not been seen or made any contact with any other individual, and the person’s absence is contrary to their usual pattern of behavior or unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. A university residential student is determined to be “missing” when a missing person report investigation concludes that the student has been absent from the university for a period of twenty-four hours or longer without any known reason. The Director of Security Services or designee in conjunction with Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will make the official determination of whether a student is deemed missing.
On-Campus Housing: the housing facilities (halls, apartments, and houses) located on the University of Puget Sound property that university students may live in.
University Student: includes all persons registered for a course or courses at the university, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies and/or taking classes in an auditing or non-matriculant capacity. A person pursuing studies at Puget Sound is considered a student until such time that all necessary coursework has been completed, final grades have been posted, and, for degree-seeking students, the degree has been conferred.
A. Option to Designate Confidential Contact Person(s)
Under federal law, the University of Puget Sound must allow resident students to confidentially provide the name and telephone number of the person(s) that the university can contact should they be deemed missing. Within University systems, ‘confidential contact’ is listed as ‘Emergency Contact’.
As part of its address verification process, the university asks all students to provide this confidential contact information when they register for classes. In addition, resident students are also notified of this opportunity by Residence Life at the beginning of each semester. Students can provide or change this information by logging into myPugetSound, visiting the “Personal Information” section, and adding or updating their “Emergency Contact/s.” The contact information provided in this section will be confidential and accessible only to authorized campus officials. It may not be disclosed except as authorized by law, including disclosure to law enforcement personnel in the furtherance of a missing person investigation. If a student under the age of 18 is determined to be missing, the university is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian no more than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing.
B. Reporting a Missing Student Who Resides On Campus
Any student, faculty, or staff member shall immediately notify Security Services at 253.879.3311 if they have reason to believe that a student who resides in on-campus housing has been missing for 24 hours or has been missing for less than 24 hours under concerning circumstances, including but not limited to the students medical condition, the location where the student was last seen, weather, the possibility that the student is a potential victim of foul play or reasons to believe the student may be a danger to themselves or others.
C. Reporting a Missing Student Who Resides Off Campus
Any student, faculty, or staff member concerned that a student who resides off campus may be missing is strongly encouraged to notify Security Services immediately.
D. How to Make a Report
To report a missing person to the University of Puget Sound, call Security Services at 253.879.3311. A person making a report should try to provide as much information as possible about the missing student, including (if known) name, age, address, date, time and location the missing person was last seen, medical condition, any physical or intellectual disabilities, any circumstances related to the person’s absence, and a physical description.
V. Departmental Responsibilities
A. Security Services
- Security Services is the department that is primarily responsible for the investigation and response coordination for missing University Students who live in on-campus housing.
- Security Services is also the university’s liaison to assist the primary law enforcement agency with jurisdiction for investigating missing students, regardless of whether the student lives on or off campus. As appropriate, Security Services will consult and seek assistance from other university departments for law enforcement agencies in a missing student case.
- The Director of Security Services and the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students will confer and determine if and when the CARE or TABIT team is notified of a missing student.
B. Residence Life Responsibilities
- If Residence Life is contacted concerning a resident student who is missing, Residence Life will gather preliminary information and notify Security Services.
- Residence Life will ensure that all Residence Life staff are trained on their obligation to notify Security Services of a missing student.
VI. Security Services Response and Investigation
When a missing student report is made to Security Services, Security Services will commence an investigation, including a reasonable search based on available information. At a minimum, a proper investigation will include gathering information from the person who made the report, attempting to contact the missing student via phone, text, and email, and for on-campus students, performing a health and welfare check in the student’s room.
Depending on the circumstances, a reasonable search may include (but is not limited to) review of dorm access and meal swipe history, security camera review, area search, and speaking with roommates or others. Security Services may engage other university offices, as appropriate, concerning this investigation.
If a student is officially deemed missing:
- the Director of Security Services will:
- Notify local police or other appropriate law enforcement. The Security Services Department will work closely with local law enforcement regarding any investigation.
- If the missing University Student is under the age of 18, Security Services will also contact the student’s custodial parent or legal guardian no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing.
- The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will:
- Notify the designated emergency contact(s) for the missing University Student. If an emergency contact confirms recent contact, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will advise them that the University Student should connect with someone within the Center for Student Support Team for support.
- Inform other College departments, such as the Registrar and Department Chair of the courses in which the student is enrolled, as needed; and
- Initiate whatever other action is deemed by the university to be appropriate and in the best interest of the missing student under the circumstances.
- Notify the Center for Student Support so they are prepared to provide assistance and resources to the student once they are located.
- If the student lives off-campus, the Director of Security Services and the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students will coordinate to notify the missing student’s confidential contacts within 24 hours. If there is no response, Security Services will contact the police based on the investigation and direct the reporting party to contact the police department where the person was last seen.
- Security Services, with the support of Residence Life, will secure any vehicles, computers, residence hall rooms, or other personal belongings of a missing resident student that are located on campus.
In the event that we need assistance in locating a residential student the Director of Security Services, a Senior Associate Dean of Students, and the Director of Residence Life will coordinate to notify the local police department and confidential contacts within 24 hours.
Police and confidential emergency contacts may be contacted sooner if there are concerning circumstances related to the University Student’s disappearance.
The Director of Security Services or their designee(s) will coordinate the communication of a missing student to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, who will then facilitate communications to the President's Cabinet.
Any internal or external communication by the university regarding the missing student will be coordinated by the Director of Security Services, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, the Vice President for University Relations, and the Tacoma Police Department's Communication Officer.
VIII. Effective Date
This policy is effective as of August 28, 2023.
IX. Related Statutes, Regulations, and Policies
- Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008
- Clery Act (full name)
- Residence Life Policies
- Address Verification Process
Policy Owner: Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Date Adopted: August 28, 2023