This policy, with its accompanying procedures, establishes a framework for cooperation among members of the University community aimed at locating and assisting students who are reported missing. If a member of the university community has reason to believe that a student is missing, whether or not the student resides on campus, all possible efforts will be made to locate the student to determine his or her state of health and well-being through collaboration of the MUW Police Department, Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residence Life, and local law enforcement.
The term “missing student” is defined as any MUW student on-campus or off-campus who is reported missing from the University for more than 24 hours without any known reason. All reports of missing students shall be directed to the MUW PD at (662) 241-7777.
Whenever an MUW student is believed to be missing, the University will immediately initiate steps to locate the student or to determine why the student has not been seen. These efforts will include, but are not limited to:
- Attempt to contact the student via her/his telephone by using the number provided.
- If the student cannot be reached by telephone, the University will attempt to visit the on-campus room of the student in question to verify the student’s whereabouts and/or wellness, and, in some cases, deliver a message to contact a parent or family member who is searching for the student.
- If the student is not at the on-campus room, but the room is occupied, an attempt will be made to gain information on the student’s whereabouts and/or wellness from the occupants.
- If there is no response to a knock on the door of the residence hall room or there are occupants who do not know of the student’s whereabouts, a housing and residence life staff member will enter into the room in question, by key if necessary, to perform a health and safety inspection. The staff member will take note of the condition of the room and look for visible personal property (wallet, keys, cell phone, clothing, etc.) which might provide information as to whether the student has taken an extended trip or leave from the residence hall.
Students are under no obligation to notify the University of their plans to spend time away from the University; however, if circumstances indicate that an investigation is warranted, concerned parties should contact the MUW PD. Upon notification, the MUW PD will make inquiries within the University and beyond.
If the University determines that the circumstances of the missing student require a police investigation, the MUW PD will notify the local police and the sheriff’s department. If the police determine that the student should be classified as a missing person, they will initiate their own investigation. The University will support their investigation by providing appropriate technical support, including notices, photos, schedules and any other information relevant to the search for the missing student.
All students residing in on-campus student housing facilities have the option of identifying a contact person or persons on their housing application, whom the University will notify if the student is determined to be missing by the MUW PD or local police department. The contact information will be confidential, accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement and may not be disclosed except in a missing person investigation.
When a student is determined to have been missing for 24 hours without any known reason, the University will:
- Notify the contact person if the student has designated one, within 24 hours.
- Notify the student’s custodial parent or guardian and/or other designated contact person within 24 hours if the student is under 18 years of age and is not emancipated; and
- Inform the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area that the student is missing within 24 hours.