University Policies

Missing Student Policy

Student Affairs
Office of the Vice President

The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the University’s response to reports of missing students, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Section 488). This policy applies to students who reside in University-operated residence halls.
For the purposes of this policy, a student may be considered to be “missing” if the person’s absence is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances include a reasonable/reliable report or suspicion that the missing student may be endangered. Examples include, but are not limited to, victim of foul play, expression of suicidal thoughts, alcohol or other drug abuse, a life-threatening situation, or recent contact with person(s) who may endanger the student’s welfare.

Procedures for Designation of Emergency Contact Information

Students age 18 and above and emancipated minors

Upon check in to the residence halls, residential students will be given the opportunity to designate an individual(s) to be contacted by the University no more than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing. A designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student. All emergency contact forms will be stored in the Office of Residence Life and Housing and updated annually. Resident students may opt out of completing the Emergency Contact Form.

Students under the age of 18

In the event a student who is not emancipated 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.

Official Notification Procedures for Missing Students

Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must notify the Worcester State University Police Department immediately.

The Worcester State University Police will gather all essential information about the student from the reporting party, student’s acquaintances, roommates, etc. to initiate an investigation. The University Police department will notify appropriate parties with status updates as the incident progresses.

No later than 24 hours after determining that a student is missing, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee, will notify the emergency contact (for students 18 or over/emancipated minors) or the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) that the student is believed to be missing.

For missing students who are 18 years of age or older, and did not designate an individual to be contacted, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee, will act in accordance with Family Education Rights and Privacy Act 1974 (FERPA).