1.17 Missing Student

I. Purpose

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(j), this policy establishes procedure and protocol by which the Saint Louis University community will respond to a report of a missing Residential Student. All current Students, faculty, and staff ("University Community Members") share the responsibility of immediately reporting, in accordance with the below-described protocol, a belief that a Student is missing. This policy also establishes a framework for cooperation among University Community Members aimed at locating and assisting Residential Students who are reported missing.

II. Scope

This policy addresses missing Residential Students. However, all reports of missing Students may be directed to the Dean of Students Office or to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Parents and legal guardians may also report to the Dean of Students Office or DPS when they believe their Student may be missing.

III. Dissemination

All Residential Students will be informed of this policy and its procedures during mandatory floor meetings, or, for apartment style housing, mandatory building meetings.

IV. Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions pertain:

“Missing Person Contact” Consists of one or more persons designated by the Student as those to be notified in the event the Student is determined to be missing. This contact information is registered confidentially. It will be used only in the event the Student is determined to be missing, and will be accessed only by authorized University officials. It may not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel conducting a missing person investigation.

In contrast, a General Emergency Contact will be used for communications regarding any form of emergency situation.

Missing Person Contact information is therefore separate and distinct from General Emergency Contact information. So, each Student must make two discreet designations, even if specifying the same contact(s) for both.

"Determined Missing"- Among university community members, only DPS is authorized, upon investigation, to determine that a Student is missing.

"Residential Student"- A Residential Student is a Student who resides in on campus housing pursuant the terms of a housing contract and is currently enrolled at Saint Louis University.

"Student"- A Student is any individual who is currently enrolled at Saint Louis University.

"University Community Member"- University community members include current Students, faculty, and staff.

V. Designating Missing Person Contact(s)

All Students must provide Missing Person Contact information, as defined in Section IV, when completing the electronic Application for Student Housing.

The Residential Student is responsible for ensuring that the contact information is up-to-date and accurately maintained. To change this information, the Student will contact the Department of Housing and Residence Life (HRL) at (314) 977-2811 or reslife@slu.edu. HRL will assure the indicated updates are made.

VI. Reporting and Notification Procedures

Any university community member who receives a report that a Student may be missing, or has independent information that a Student may be missing, must immediately report the information or evidence to one of the following:

Dean of Students Office
Busch Student Center, Suite 356
20 North Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 977-9378

Department of Public Safety
Wool Center, Room 114
3545 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 977-3000

Information pertinent to include in the report of a missing Student would include:

  • Full name
  • Why it is believed the Student is missing
  • Last known location
  • Last activity on social media
  • Whether or not the Student is prescribed any life-saving medications they may not have access to
  • Whether the Student is believed to be a danger to themselves or others (and any appropriate information concerning this)

DPS can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (314) 977-3000, or in person at the Wool Center, 3545 Lindell, Room 129.

If the Dean of Students Office receives the report, that official will promptly notify DPS. If DPS receives the report, that department will promptly assure that the Dean of Students Office is aware.

DPS will begin an investigation of the report. If the Student thought to be missing is a Residential Student, DPS will conduct an investigation in concert with HRL.

If investigation fails to locate the Student, and the Student’s whereabouts has been unknown for 24-hours, DPS will declare the Student “Determined Missing.” Prior to reaching this 24-hour threshold, if it becomes evident to DPS that the Student is actually missing, DPS may make the declaration any time prior to the threshold.

Within a 24-hour period following this “Determined Missing” declaration, the University will complete the following notifications:

  1. Any Missing Person Contact(s) designated by the Student.
  2. The local law enforcement agency that has area jurisdiction, unless the missing person report originated with that agency.
  3. If the Student is under 18 years of age, and is not emancipated, the Student’s custodial parent or guardian.

The notification to the local law enforcement agency will be made by DPS. The Dean of Students Office will make the other notifications.

VII. Investigative Role of the Department of Housing and Residence Life

  1. A Department of Housing and Residence Life staff member ("Staff Member") will attempt to contact the Residential Student via their listed personal cell phone and University email account. If the Residential Student cannot be reached by telephone, two (2) university officials will visit the room of the Residential Student in question to verify their whereabouts and/or conduct a health and safety inspection.
  2. A member of the Housing Operations team will check card access records to see the last time and place they scanned their student ID.
  3. If the Residential Student is located, the Staff Members will ask the Residential Student to contact the parent, family member, or other individual who initiated the report.
  4. If the Residential Student is not in the room, but it is occupied, the Staff Members will attempt to gain information on the Residential Student's whereabouts and/or health and safety from questioning the occupants.
  5. If there is no response when the Staff Members knock on the door of the room, the Staff Members will enter into the room in question, by key if necessary, to perform a health and safety inspection. The Staff Members will take note of the condition of the room and look for visible personal property (e.g., wallet, keys, cell phone, clothing, etc.), which might provide clues as to whether the Residential Student has taken an extended trip or leave from the residence hall or apartment.
  6. If (3) or (4) occur, the Staff Members will attempt to gain information on the Student's whereabouts from roommates, other members of the residential community, or other friends. The Staff Members will also attempt to acquire additional phone numbers for the Student (if not already on file) and use them to initiate contact.
  7. At any step in the process, Staff Members will immediately report any suspicious findings to DPS.
  8. If all of these steps do not provide Staff Members with an opportunity to speak with the Residential Student or to learn their whereabouts, the Department of Housing and Residence Life will:
    1. contact DPS to investigate further and
    2. notify the Dean of Students Office.
  9. If these steps provide Staff Members with an opportunity to speak with the Residential Student, they will attempt to verify the Residential Student's state of health and intention of returning to campus. If needed, the Residential Student will be referred to the University Counseling Center.

VIII. References

  • Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(j)
  • Saint Louis University's Family Notification Policy, Section 2.11