The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the St. Gregory’s University response to reports of missing students, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
This policy applies to students who reside in on-campus housing facilities.
For purposes of this policy, a student will be considered missing after 24 hours of no contact, but a student may be considered to be a “missing person” if the person’s absence is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and unusual and/or unknown circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances could include, but not be limited to, a report or suspicion that the missing person may be the victim of foul play, has expressed suicidal thoughts, is drug dependent, is in a life-threatening situation, and has been with persons who may endanger the student's welfare or fails to appear where expected for an extended period of time.
Procedures for Designation of Emergency Contact Information
All students will be given the opportunity during each semester registration process to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by St. Gregory’s University no more than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing, in accordance with the procedures set forth below. The designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.
In the event a student under the age of 18 who is not emancipated is determined to be missing, pursuant to the procedures set forth below, the St. Gregory’s University is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian no more than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing, in accordance with the procedures set forth below.
Official Notification Procedure for Missing Persons
Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must notify the St. Gregory’s University Security Department at 405-878-5392.
Note: In order to avoid jurisdictional conflicts when an off-campus and/or commuter student is believed to be missing, the reporting person should immediately notify local law enforcement authorities and SGU Security. SGU Security will assist external authorities with these investigations as requested.
The St. Gregory’s University Security Department will gather all essential information about the residential student from the reporting person and from the student’s acquaintances (description, clothes last worn, where student might be, who student might be with, vehicle description, information about the physical and mental well-being of the student, an up-to-date photograph, class schedule, etc.). The Security Department (with appropriate assistance from local law enforcement personnel and others) will pursue leads deemed to be plausible and helpful. Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student.
If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the student, or it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g., witnessed abduction), SGU Security will contact the appropriate local law enforcement agency to report the student as a missing person, and the local law enforcement agency will take charge of the investigation.
No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the Dean of Students will notify the emergency contact (for students 18 and over) or the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) that the student is believed to be missing.
The University’s Office of Public Relations will be notified by the Dean of Students no later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing in order to respond to inquiries from media and others.
The Dean of Students will notify applicable University authorities no later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing.
Campus Communications about Missing Students
In cases involving missing persons, law enforcement personnel are best suited to provide information to the media that is designed to elicit public assistance in the search for a missing person. Therefore, all communications regarding missing students will be handled by outside law enforcement authorities, who may consult with the University’s Office of Public Relations. All inquiries to the University regarding missing students, or information provided to any individual at the University about a missing student, shall be referred to SGU Security, who shall refer such inquiries and information to law enforcement authorities and University officials.
Prior to providing the University community with any information about a missing student, the Office of Public Relations shall consult with the SGU Security and with local law enforcement authorities to ensure that communications do not hinder the investigation.