Missing Residential Student Policy

Trinity issues this Policy Statement on Missing Residential Students in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

Trinity has special concern for the welfare, safety and security of all students who live in residence on Trinity’s campus.  While respecting each student’s right to privacy, Trinity also has a legal duty to know if a student might be in danger.   Accordingly, in keeping with the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Trinity must take action if a student is missing for 24 hours or more.

To avoid being reported as a missing person, a resident student should always let at least one other person in the residence hall know her whereabouts.   This other person may be a roommate or friend in the residence, the residence coordinator or director.  Trinity does not require formal sign-out procedures when students leave campus, but Trinity does ask that resident students leave accurate and clear contact information when leaving the residence hall for an extended period of time (24 hours or more).

A resident student is “missing” if she has not been seen on campus for 24 hours, has not been in touch with family or friends, has not been to class for two successive days, or has not responded to efforts to contact her.  A missing student report may come from a roommate, friend, a faculty member, staff member, or family member, or other person who has been trying to contact the student.

Because many people may be trying to contact a student, and a report from even one person may be enough to trigger a missing student report, students must take the responsibility to inform friends of their whereabouts, and to answer cell phone calls or messages or email.

Following are the procedures for investigating and reporting missing students:

1.  A person who believes a resident student is missing should contact the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) or her designee.   The VPSA will immediately investigate the circumstances and will also involve the residence life staff.  If the student is not missing, the VPSA will ask the student to contact the concerned party immediately and in her presence to be sure that the contact is made, or the VPSA will ask the student’s permission to assure the concerned party that the student is safe.  Under no circumstances will a student’s private contact information be released without her permission, and no person may come to campus to visit with a student without the student’s permission.

2.  Upon receiving a report of a missing student, the VPSA will also contact the Director of Public Safety and they will further confer on the appropriate course of action in the investigation, including interviewing students and following-up on possible locations of the missing students.  They may take reasonable actions to locate the student including interviewing friends and roommates, calling family members, and pursing other lines of inquiry to determine the student’s location.

3.  If, after a reasonable effort, and not exceeding 24 hours, the missing student cannot be located and is unresponsive to phone calls or messages, Trinity will notify the Metropolitan Police Department that the student is missing.

4.  If the student is less than 18 years of age, Trinity must also notify the student’s parents or guardian.

5.  Students who are 18 years of age or older may register the name of a confidential contact person whom Trinity may call if the student is missing.   The VPSA will register the contact names and that list will be maintained confidentially, accessible only to campus personnel or law enforcement officials who may need the information.

6.  If the student (18 years of age or older) has not provided a confidential contact name, then Trinity will call the person indicated in the student records as the parent or point of emergency contact for the student.

7.  Students reported as missing within the scope of this policy have no recourse against Trinity should they subsequently claim a privacy violation resulting from the investigation into their whereabouts.  Students can easily avoid any breach of privacy by letting hallmates, friends and family know where they are, and by returning calls and messages left on cell phones and email.