Missing Student Protocol

This policy and procedure describes the nature and extent of notifications that will be provided in the case of a residential student who is determined to be missing for a period of 24 hours or longer by the University Police Department (UPD). This policy and procedure is required pursuant to applicable provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act that has been codified at Title 20 U.S.C. § 1092j.

This policy and procedure applies only to confirmed Plymouth State University students who are lawfully occupying university provided housing. Such housing may be in a residence hall located on campus or in any other facility that is rented or leased by the university for the purpose of providing residential housing to its students.

What does Missing Mean?

A residential student will be considered to be missing if the following circumstances apply:

  1. S/he is overdue in reaching a predetermined destination by more than 24 hours past his/her expected arrival time.
  2. After checking his/her university residence, evidence supports the view s/he is not present there and preliminary efforts to contact the student fail.
  3. Additional factors may be used by university officials to determine a student is missing depending on circumstances.

Annual Notification

At the beginning of each academic semester students are notified electronically about a number of important policies and expectations, including the “Annual Security Report”, location of the on-line student rights and code of conduct, FERPA information, as well as the “Missing Student Protocol”. In addition, information about this policy is shared in individual residential areas. If a student is determined to be missing by University Police, contact will be made with appropriate individuals in the student maintained “myPlymouth” account, or other emergency contact information collected in the on campus residential areas. In addition, the notification will include advisement that any residential student who is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, that the university is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian, not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing.

Emergency Contacts

If the University Police Department makes a determination that a residential student who is the subject of a missing person report has been missing for more than 24 hours and has not returned to the campus, the university will initiate the emergency contact procedures.

Notification of University Police

The Department of Residential Life will inform the University Police Department immediately upon any report that a residential student is missing. All other members of the university community are also encouraged to contact the University Police Department if they receive a report of a missing student. UPD will then make the appropriate investigation, determine the student’s residence, and take appropriate follow-up action/reporting.

Actions of University Police

If a residential student is deemed to be missing for more than 24 hours by the University Police Department, that department shall –

  1. Notify the Vice President for Communications, Enrollment & Student Life that such student has been missing for more than 24 hours;
  2. Notify the student’s contact information as rapidly as possible under the circumstances; and
  3. If the residential student is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, immediately contact the custodial parent or legal guardian of such student, as well as other emergency contacts so designated by the student.

Referral to Outside Authorities

In addition to making the notifications listed above, the University Police Department may also contact such other law enforcement authorities as appropriate under the circumstances.

On Campus Investigations

The University Police Department will conduct investigations of missing residential students on campus and may use any lawful methods to do so.