Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures

This policy is established by Roanoke College in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and applies to residential students at the college.  For the purposes of this policy a student may be considered to be a "missing person" if the person's absence from campus is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances could include, but not be limited to, a report or suspicion that the person may be a victim of foul play, has expressed suicidal thoughts, is drug dependent, is in a life threatening situation, has been with persons who may endanger the student's welfare, or is overdue to return to campus and is unheard from after giving a specific return time to friends or family. 

Designation of emergency contact information

a. Students age 18 and above and emancipated minors

Students will be given an opportunity during the annual registration process to designate an individual to be contacted by the college no more than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing. The designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.

b. Students under the age of 18

If a student under the age of 18 is determined to be missing, the college is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian no more than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing.

c. All residential students (both a and b above)

If a student is determined to be missing, the college will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency not later than 24 hours after the determination has been made.

Missing Student Procedure

a. Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must notify the Office of Campus Safety immediately.

b. The Office of Campus Safety will gather all essential information about the missing resident student from the reporting person, from the student's acquaintances and from college personnel and official college information sources. Such information will include a physical description, cellular phone number, clothes last worn, where the student might be, who the student might be with, vehicle description, information about the physical and emotional well being of the student, an up to date photograph, a class schedule, when last attended class, last use of Maroon card, etc.

c. Appropriate campus staff including the Area Coordinator on Duty and Residence Life and Housing Staff will be notified to aid in the search and location of the student. Contact with the student should be attempted using text messaging, cellular phone calls and e-mail.

d. If search efforts are unsuccessful in locating the student in a reasonable amount of time OR it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g. witnessed abduction), OR it has been determined that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, the Office of Campus Safety will contact the Salem Police Department (appropriate local law enforcement agency) to report the student as a missing person. The Salem Police Department will take charge of the investigation with assistance from college officials.

e. No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students will notify the emergency contact previously identified by the student (for students 18 and over) or the custodial parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) and advise that the student is believed to be missing.

Communications about missing students

a. In accordance with established college emergency guidelines procedures, the Director of Public Relations will be part of the college administrative response team and is the designated spokesperson to handle media inquiries concerning a missing student.

b. The local law enforcement agency in charge of the investigation and the city public information officer (PIO) will be consulted by the Director of Public Relations prior to any information release from the college so as not to jeopardize any investigation.

c Information provided to the media to elicit public assistance in the search for the missing person will be handled by the local law enforcement agency.