St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Missing Student Link☍

Create PDF: Missing Student

Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Department/Division: Division of Student Affairs

Effective Date: 08/01/2009

Last Updated: 11/22/2022

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Responsible University Officer: President

Policy Owner: Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs

Policy Contact: Office of the Division of Student Affairs


This policy and procedure are established to provide consistent operational protocol for the University’s response to reports of a missing student and to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.


A student may be considered to be a “missing student” if the person’s absence is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances could include a reasonable/reliable report or suspicion that the missing student may be endangered. Examples include, but are not limited to, possible victim of foul play, expression of suicidal thoughts, alcohol or other drug abuse, a life-threatening situation, or recent contact with persons who may endanger the student’s welfare.

Understanding that timing is critical in missing persons situations, anyone who has information or suspects that a student may be missing must notify the Public Safety Department as soon as possible.

The Department of Residential Life maintains emergency contact information that will be treated as confidential and accessible only to authorized campus officials. It may be disclosed to law enforcement personnel and others if a determination has been made that the health or safety of a student is at risk.


Designation of Emergency Contact Information

Residential Students will be given the opportunity upon check-in to a University owned or operated residence hall/apartment, to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by the University in the event of an emergency. The designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.

The University is required to notify the custodial parent or guardian if a student determined to be missing is under the age of 18 and not emancipated.

Notification will be made not more than 24 hours after a student is determined to be missing in accordance with this procedure and associated policy.

Official Notification

Any individual who has information that a student may be missing must notify the SCSU Public Safety Department (Public Safety) as soon as possible.

To avoid jurisdictional conflict, Public Safety will immediately notify local law enforcement authorities. If it is apparent immediately that the student may be endangered (i.e. witnessed abduction), a missing person report will be made and local law enforcement will take charge of the investigation. The Public Safety Department will assist external authorities with the investigation as requested.

In the event that local law enforcement does not immediately take charge of an investigation, Public Safety will work with campus offices, the reporting person(s), and student acquaintances to gather all essential information about the missing student including, but not limited to: physical description, clothes last worn, last known location/activities, who student was with, vehicle description, information about the student’s physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, a current photograph, and class schedule.

Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search process.

If this investigation process is unsuccessful in locating the student within 24 hours, Public Safety will re-contact local law enforcement to make a missing person report and local law enforcement will take charge of the investigation. The Public Safety Department will assist external authorities with the investigation as requested.

No later than 24 hours after determining a student is missing the Vice President for Student Life and Development, or designee, will notify the designated emergency contact(s) or the custodial parent/guardian.

For students who did not designate an emergency contact, notification will be made in accordance with FERPA and Minnesota Government Data Privacy guidelines.


Law enforcement personnel are trained to provide information in a manner designed to elicit public assistance. All communications regarding missing students will be made under the direction of law enforcement, who may consult with the University Communication Office. All inquiries or information received regarding a missing student should be directed to or referred to Public Safety, who will refer to law enforcement authorities.

Prior to publically releasing information about a missing student, the University Communication Office shall consult with Public Safety, law enforcement authorities and the Office of Student Life and Development to ensure communications comply with FERPA and Minnesota Government Data Privacy Guidelines and do not hinder the investigation.


kidnapped, disappearance, abducted, lost

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   Rodriguez, Katrina L.
   Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs
   Dobmeier, Melissa A.
   Office of the Division of Student Affairs

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