Missing student response policy
University community members are encouraged to report concerns of possible missing students to Campus Safety (253-535-7441). Other university departments or employees that receive such reports shall notify Campus Safety or the Office of Student Life (253-535-7200) immediately regarding such reports. Campus Safety works closely with the Office of Student Life to coordinate the university’s response to reported missing students. If the student lives on campus Residential Life staff will also be consulted.
A residential student is considered missing if they have not been seen or heard from within the last 24 hours. Campus Safety and/or the Office of Student Life will begin a search for the student utilizing campus resources upon receiving notice of a possible missing student. Local law enforcement and the student’s emergency contact person will be contacted within 24 hours after the student is determined missing.
Campus Safety and/or the Office of Student Life utilize several tactics in locating a missing student. Attempts at contacting the student, include, but are not limited to, contact via cell phone, email, social media and text message. The student’s LuteCard is checked for recent activity. For residential students contact is made with Residential Life to assist with locating the student and gathering additional information.
Students living in on-campus housing have the option of listing a confidential contact person to be notified in case the student is determined missing. This is completed by the student during the housing registration process. If a student wishes to make any changes to the emergency contact they can contact the Residential Life Office (253-535-7200). Only authorized campus administrators and law enforcement officials actively investigating a missing person have access to this contact information. The university must notify parents or guardians of missing students under the age of 18, unless that student is emancipated.
If all attempts of locating the student by university officials fail then the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department will be contacted to make a formal report to law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Department may be contacted prior to exhausting university efforts if the details of the incident warrant immediate law enforcement assistance.
Students who are participating in university activities that involve overnight accommodations will be treated as residential students. These activities may include, study away programs, athletic trips, or other academic or club programs. Missing student reports from these activities will be handled in the same manner as a residential student. In these situations Campus Safety and/or the Office of Student Life should be contacted immediately. The university staff/faculty member supervising the activity should contact local law enforcement upon confirmation of the missing student and then coordinate on-going next steps with Student Life.
Non-residential students who fail to show for classes will not be considered missing students by the university. In these situations the university may attempt to make contact with the student utilizing the different contacting strategies used for residential students to check on their status. If the university has information that the student’s prior behavior shows a risk to self or others the law enforcement agency where the student currently resides will be contacted to make a welfare check. When family or roommate(s) report to the university that a student is absent from their off campus residence the reporting person will be encouraged to contact local law enforcement directly for reporting. The university will provide assistance to law enforcement to help locate the student.