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Missing Student Policy & Procedure


This policy is intended to establish formal notification procedures for students who reside in on-campus housing or affiliated properties and are reported as missing, as required by the Higher Education Act as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), effective October 1, 2010. (This policy is governed by UC Berkeley Residential & Student Service Programs.)

Missing Student

A student is considered missing when UCPD has determined the student to be missing. Concerns that may give rise to a missing student investigation may consist of but are not limited to:

a. Medical or health related problems;

b. The student has not regularly attended classes and has not been seen elsewhere;

c. A UC Berkeley official has made an inquiry of concern;

d. A parent, roommate, suitemate or apartment-mate of the student has reported such disappearance due to irregular contact with the student;

e. Residential staff believes that a student may be missing based upon absence from the residence or other information received by staff.

While an unexplainable absence of more than 24 hours gives rise to heightened concern, a student may be determined to be missing even if the student has been absent from the campus for a period of less than 24 hours.

Policy Regarding Contact Persons

Each student living in student housing has the option to identify an individual to be contacted by the university no later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing.

Only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers, acting in furtherance of a missing person investigation, may have access to missing student contact person information.

Students residing in on-campus housing or affiliated properties will be notified that their emergency contact information will also serve as their missing student contact information, unless the student directs otherwise. If a student does not wish to have their emergency contact serve as the student’s missing student contact, then the student must communicate in writing to Cal Housing ( their student identification number and the name, phone number, and email address of the student’s preferred missing student contact.

If a student is less than 18 years of age and not emancipated, his/her custodial parent or guardian will be called in addition to the emergency contact(s).

Actions to be Taken When A Student Is Or May Be Missing

If a student is suspected of being missing, then the reporting party will typically first notify Residential Education staff (i.e., Resident Assistant, Resident Director, and/or Assistant Resident Director).

Residential Education staff that receives a report that a student is or may be missing, or who suspects that a student is missing, will initiate the missing student notification protocol, which includes an attempt to gather information regarding the student’s current whereabouts. Residential Education staff will also immediately contact UCPD for consultation and to convey any report Residential Education staff has received that a student is missing.

If Residential Education staff cannot immediately locate the student suspected of being missing, then Residential Education staff will also report the suspicion that the student is missing to appropriate Residential & Student Service Programs administrators and to the key campus partners described in the RSSP Critical Communication Matrix.

UCPD will actively conduct an investigation to determine the status of any student reported to be missing or suspected of being missing. The investigation will be conducted pursuant to established police procedures. UCPD will provide relevant updates to RSSP staff and key campus partners.

If UCPD makes a determination that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then the University must notify the missing student contact of this determination. If such missing student is less than 18 years of age and not emancipated, then the parent(s)/guardian of the missing student must also be notified. The University may notify the missing student contact if the student has been determined by UCPD to be missing for a period of time less than 24 hours if circumstances warrant.

Follow up

When the student is found, RSSP staff will contact the student and inform him or her of support services available on campus. In certain situations, RSSP staff may consult with the Dean of Students office to determine if additional follow up is needed. This support should also be offered to any other students (e.g. roommates, friends) affected by the incident.

If the search for the missing student is deemed unsuccessful, the Director of Residential Programs, Director of Residential Education, Director of Facilities/Housing Services and/or Associate Vice Chancellor for RSSP, UCPD, and/or the Dean of Students will decide what further action(s) should be taken.


Last revised: November 2016