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Staff Policy D-505.11
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Operations

Missing Persons Policy for Residential Students

Northwestern Michigan College recognizes the importance of safety for our on-campus living community. The purpose of this policy is to establish the process for responding to reports of missing students, as required by the Higher Education Act of 2008.  This policy applies to NMC-enrolled students who reside in on-campus housing, including on-campus apartment units owned by the College. 

For purposes of this policy, a student will be considered missing if a roommate, class mate, faculty member, parent/guardian or other campus person has not seen or communicated with the person in a reasonable amount of time. A reasonable amount of time may vary with the time of day and information regarding the missing person's daily schedule, habits, punctuality and reliability. Circumstances can also include, but are not limited to, a report or suspicion that the missing person may be the victim of foul play, has expressed suicidal thoughts, is drug dependent, is in a life threatening situation, or has been with, or in the company of, persons who may endanger the student's welfare.

 

Emergency Contact Information Designation
  1. Students age 18 and over or emancipated minors are given the opportunity during each semester to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by the college no more than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing in accordance with procedures of this policy. A designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.
  2. If a student under the age of 18 who is not emancipated 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, in accordance with the procedures.
  3. Residence Hall students are given the opportunity to provide their emergency contact persons and telephone numbers through housing software.
  4. Apartment residents are given the opportunity to provide their emergency contacts and telephone numbers through the college's student information system or in person at Enrollment Services.

Official notification procedures for missing persons
  1. Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must immediately notify the Security Department either in person or by calling the NMC Security office.
  2. The Security Department will gather all essential information about the residential student from the reporting person and from the student's acquaintances (i.e. description, clothes they were wearing when they were last seen, about the student's physical and mental well-being, up-to-date photograph, etc.)
  3. Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student.
  4. If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the student, or it is immediately apparent that the student is a missing person (i.e. witnessed abduction), the Security Department will contact the appropriate city, county or state law enforcement agency to report the student as missing.  That agency will then take charge of the investigation.
  5. No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the Dean of Students or designee will notify the emergency contact for students 18 years of age and older, or the parent or guardian for students under the age of 18 who are not emancipated. Contact is contingent upon the correct emergency contact information being made available by the student.
  6. In order to avoid jurisdictional conflicts when a commuter student is believed to be missing, the reporting person should immediately notify local law enforcement authorities. Northwestern Michigan College's Security Department will assist outside agencies with these investigations as requested.

Communications about missing students
  1. In all cases of a missing student, the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation will provide information to the media. Law enforcement personnel are best suited to provide information to the media that is designed to elicit public assistance for a missing person. Northwestern Michigan College Public Relations Director is available to provide consultation on communication with the investigating law enforcement agencies. Any media requests should be directed to Public Relations Director.
  2. Prior to providing the Northwestern Michigan College community with any information about a missing student, the Public Relations Director shall consult with the Security Department and with law enforcement authorities to ensure that communications do not hinder the investigation.

The Vice President of Finance and Administration, in conjunction with appropriate faculty and staff, is responsible for the development and publication of any procedures or guidelines that may be necessary to administer this policy effectively.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Adopted October 16, 2009
Revised February 15, 2019

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