Missing Students

Rollins College

Missing Residential Student Notification Policy


I. Purpose

To establish policy and procedures for the Rollins College community regarding the reporting, investigation and required emergency notification when a residential student is deemed to be missing.

II. Scope

While the scope of policy and procedures is directed primarily to residential students and the staff of the Division of Student Affairs and the staff of the Department of Campus Security, all members of the academic community, students, faculty, staff, and administrators, share the responsibility of reporting to designated college officials when they believe that a student is missing.

III. Definitions

A. Residential Student - For purposes of this policy, a student who resides in on-campus housing under a housing contract and is currently enrolled at the college.

B. Missing - For purposes of this policy, a residential student is presumed missing if he or she is overdue in reaching home or campus for more than 24 hours past their expected arrival and a check of their residence supports that determination. Â A residential student may be considered missing if he or she is overdue in reaching home, campus or another specific location past their expected arrival, additional factors lead college staff to believe he or she is missing, and a check of their residence supports that determination.

IV. Notification to Residential Students

A. Residential students are to be informed that they have the option to identify an individual to be contacted by the institution no later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing.

B. Residential students, who are under 18 years of age and not emancipated individuals, are to be informed that the college is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian no later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing.

C. Residential students are to be informed that the college will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing.

D. Residential students are to be informed that they have the option to confidentially identify an individual, and his or her telephone number(s), to be contacted by the institution no later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing. The Office of Residential Life will collect and maintain the confidential contact information. The student is responsible for ensuring that the contact information is up-to-date and accurate.

V. Procedures for Reporting and for Investigating Missing Students

A. Any college employee who receives a report that a student is missing, or has independent information that a student is missing, must immediately report the information or evidence to the dean of Students, the Office of  Residential  Life, or to Campus Security. If Campus Security is initially contacted, they will notify the Dean of Students and the Office of Residential Life, whose staff will determine whether the student is a residential student.

B. If the student is not a residential student, Campus Security will conduct a preliminary investigation in order to verify the situation and to determine the circumstances which exist relating to the reported missing student. If Campus Security determines that the student should be considered missing, it will contact the relevant outside law enforcement authority and provide the relevant information. All pertinent law enforcement agencies, including, if known, those operating in the student’s normal routes of travel or hometown, will be notified and requested to render assistance; all law enforcement agencies involved will receive routine investigation status reports during the course of the investigation. If Campus Security determines that student should be considered missing, the person making the initial report will be encouraged to make an official missing person report to local Law Enforcement. Campus Security shall follow its General Order governing investigating missing/endangered persons.

C. If the student is a residential student, the Residential Life Staff, with assistance from Campus Security, will conduct a preliminary investigation in order to verify the situation and to determine the circumstances which exist relating to the reported missing student.

1. A staff member will attempt to contact the missing student via his or her telephone.

2. If the missing student cannot be reached by telephone, two staff members (one [1] from Residential Life and one [1] from Campus Security) will visit the room of the student in question to verify their whereabouts and/or wellness, and, in some cases, deliver a message to contact a parent or family member who is searching for them.

3. If the missing student is not at the room, but it is occupied, the Residential Life staff will attempt to gain information on the student’s whereabouts and/or wellness from questioning the occupants.

4. If there is no response when the staff members knock on the door of the room or there are occupants who do not know of the missing student’s whereabouts, Residential Life and Campus Security staff 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 (wallet, keys, cell phone, clothing, etc.) which might provide clues as to whether the missing student has taken an extended trip or leave from the residence hall.

5. If the missing student is not found in the room, the Residential Life staff will attempt to gain information on the student’s whereabouts from roommates, other members of the residential community, or other friends. The Residential Life staff will also attempt to acquire additional phone numbers for the missing student (if not already on file) and use them to initiate contact.  Campus Security will obtain the missing student’s class schedule and go to the scheduled class to talk with Professors.

6. At any step in the process Residential Life staff members will immediately report any suspicious findings to Campus Security and Winter Park Police Department (WPPD).

7. If all of these steps do not provide Residential Life or Campus Security staff with an opportunity to speak with the missing resident or to learn his or her whereabouts, Winter Park Police Department (WPPD) will be contacted to investigate further.

8. If the missing student is determined to be under the age of eighteen, Residential Life staff will notify the Dean of Students so that contact will be made with the student’s parents within 24 hours. If the missing student is determined to be over the age of eighteen, Residential Life staff will notify the Dean of Students so that contact will be made with the student’s confidential contact within 24 hours.

9. If these steps provide Residential Life, Campus Security, or the Dean of Students staff with an opportunity to speak with the missing student, verification of the student’s state of health and intention of returning to campus will be made. If needed, a referral will be made to the Counseling and Psychological Services office. The Division of Student Affairs shall contact Campus Security and WPPD to document that a missing student investigation was begun and apprise them of the student’s state of health and well-being.

10. If no contact can be made then the staff of the college will move forward with filing a missing person’s report.