Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedure

Washington University is committed to ensuring the safety of the members of our University community. In keeping with that goal, and in accordance with the Higher Education Act of 2008, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(j), the University has established the Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedure.

Registration of confidential contact information

Students residing in on-campus housing have the option to register a confidential contact person who will be notified in accordance with this policy if the Washington University Police Department (“WUPD”), the Department of Protective Services at the School of Medicine (“Protective Services”), or local law enforcement determines that the student is missing.

For purposes of this policy, the term “on-campus housing” means property that is owned, maintained and/or operated by Washington University, the occupancy of which is governed by a contract with the Office of Residential Life or the Office of Greek Life. This term also includes the Olin Residence Hall at the School of Medicine (“WUSM”).

The confidential contact may be someone other than the emergency contact listed with the Office of Student Records or, at WUSM, the Office of the Registrar. The student may register more than one confidential contact. Only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers pursuing the missing person investigation will have access to this information. A student may register such confidential contact information at any time by completing a Confidential Contact Form with the Office of Residential Life or, at WUSM, with Olin Leasing Advisor.

Each student who files a Confidential Contact Form is solely responsible for the accuracy of the contact information and for updating information, as necessary. A student may update information by completing a new Confidential Contact Form with the appropriate office.

Missing student procedures

If a member of the University community suspects that a student may be missing, they should immediately notify the WUPD or Protective Services. In addition, missing person reports may be made to the following offices:

  • Dean of Students
  • Office of Student Involvement and Leadership
  • Office of Residential Life.

Official missing student reports made to any of the above-referenced offices must be referred immediately to the WUPD or Protective Services. Upon receipt of a report that a student is missing, the WUPD or Protective Services will gather information to complete a Missing Persons Report Form, including but not limited to: name, location, and contact information of the person who reported the student missing; name, vital information, and a detailed description of the student reported as missing; the circumstances in which the student was last seen or heard from; list of known associates, addresses and contact information; or name/addresses of persons present at the scene. Additional information that the WUPD or Protective Services will consider in determining whether a student is missing includes, but is not limited to, the following: a student is out of contact for 24 hours after reasonable efforts to reach that student by phone calls, emails, and/or in-person attempts to establish contact; circumstances indicate that an act of criminality is involved; circumstances indicate that physical safety is in danger; existence of a medical condition may threaten life or health; and/or existence of a physical or mental disability. If the WUPD or Protective Services determines that a student residing in on-campus housing has been missing for 24 hours, the WUPD or Protective Services will initiate the emergency contact procedures outlined herein.

Notification procedures

Whenever WUPD, Protective Services or local law enforcement determines that any student residing in on-campus housing has been missing for 24 hours, the University will notify the following persons within 24 hours of that determination: the confidential contact, if one has been specified by the student; the parents or guardians of any student who is under the age of 18 and not an emancipated minor; and, local law enforcement (unless local law enforcement made the determination).

Whenever WUPD or Protective Services determines that any student, whether residing on campus or not, has been missing for 24 hours, the University will notify local law enforcement. Nothing in these policies and procedures shall prevent WUPD or Protective Services from initiating these and other emergency notification procedures within 24 hours of any student’s disappearance if, in the judgment of the WUPD or Protective Services, the circumstances of the student’s disappearance warrant an earlier notification.