Reporting a Missing Student and Contact Procedures
The Higher Education Act of 2008 requires institutions that provide on-campus student housing to establish a missing student notification policy and procedures. Catawba College takes student safety very seriously. The following policy and procedures have been developed in order to assist in locating Catawba students living in college-owned, on-campus housing, who have been determined to be missing, based on the reports and circumstances known to the college at the time the report is made.
Missing person reports are usually the result of a parent, concerned family member, or friend not being able to reach a student. This is often due to a student changing his or her routine or behavior without infroming friends, family members, or roommates of the change. Anyone who believes a student to be missing for 24 hours should contact the Office of Public safety, Residence Life, or a Resident Assistant. Every report made to the College will be followed up with an immediate investigation to determine whether the student is missing. Students are under no obligation to notify the College of plans to spend time away from their residences.
At the beginning of each academic year, each student living in an on-campus student housing facility has the option to register through the Office of Student Affairs a confidential contact person to be notified in the case that a student is determined to be missing. The information that is obtained will only be provided to authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation. This emergency information will be kept on file in the Office of Student Affairs. The contact information will be updated each academic year. The student is responsible for ensuring that the contact information is up to date and accurate. Catawba College will notify local law enforcement for all students, even if they have not registered a contact person, if a student has been determined as missing.
If a student is determined to be missing and has designated a contact person, the contact person will be notified no later than 24 hours after the determination. If a missing student is under the age of 18, and not an emancipated individual, the college is required to notify the parent or guardian of the missing student no later than 24 hours after the determination is made that the student is missing. Public Safety will notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency when the student is determined to be missing. The Dean of Students and his/her designee will notify the appropriate emergency contact person listed for a missing student.
Procedures Catawba College will follow when a student who resides in an on-campus student housing facility is determined to be missing for 24 hours.
- The College official who receives a report that a student is missing, or has reason to believe that a student is missing, will report the information or evidence immediately to the Office of Public Safety. The Office of Public Safety will then notify the Dean of Students.
- Upon notification that a student may be missing, Catawba College may use any or all of the following resources to assist in locating the student:
- Contact the missing student via his/her cell phone, email, and any other social media, which may be used as a medium for communication (e.g. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.)
- Go to the room of the missing student to verify his or her whereabouts and/or wellness, and, in some cases, deliver a message to contact a parent or family member who is searching for them.
- Key into the room to perform a health and safety check. While in the room, the staff members will look for visible items (e.g. wallet, keys, phone, etc.) that may provide clues to the missing student's whereabouts.
- Talk to the student's Resident Advisor, roommate(s), and floor mates to see if they can confirm the missing student's whereabouts and/or confirm the date, time, and location the student was last seen.
- Check all possible locations mentioned by friends such as the library, residence hall lounges, other friends' rooms, etc.
- Check all college parking lots in an attempt to locate the student's vehicle, if applicable.
- If no information is gained by visiting the missing student's room, and speaking with the other occupants of the house, the Office of Student Affairs and/or Dining Services will be contacted to determine the last time the student used his/her Student ID card to access the cafeteria or fitness center.
- Information Technology Services may be contacted to ascertain the last log in or access of the PC network.
- If there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the student may be in danger or if foul play is suspected at anytime during this process, the Office of Public Safety will immediately contact the appropriate local law enforcement agencies. If it is necessary to contact local or state authorities, police procedure and protocol will be followed by the College.