Missing Student Notification

Reporting

If a member of the University community (faculty, staff, student, parent, alumni) has reason to believe that a student is missing, that community member will refer the case immediately to the Mercer Police Department.  For Regional Academic Center students (Douglas County, Eastman, and Henry County) the community member may contact Mercer Police directly or the Center Coordinator who, in turn, must report the missing student to Mercer Police and the Regional Academic Center Director of Operations. 

Mercer Police will work collaboratively with others to contact and locate the student. All reasonable efforts will be made to locate the student and determine his or her state of health and well-being. The efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Phone call to student
  • Email to student through Mercer email account (or other known e-mail addresses)
  • Messages through social networking websites if possible
  • Contact with all professors to determine last day of attendance in each class
  • Contact with Housing staff (Resident Advisor or Residence Life Coordinator) and roommate(s) if student is residential (Housing and/or Mercer Police will be make a welfare entry into the student’s room)

If the student is located through these attempts, a determination will be made regarding his or her health and well-being. If necessary, a referral to the Counseling Center, Health Services and other appropriate offices may be made at that time. The Dean of Students Office or Mercer Police will also encourage the student to contact the community member who initiated the search or follow up with that person directly.

Policy

If the student is not located through the above measures and has been verified to be missing for more than 24 hours, then the following actions will be taken within the next 24 hours by Mercer Police (or the Director of Operations for RAC):

  1.  Notification will be made (where and when applicable and appropriate) to the appropriate Dean of Students for the particular college /campus in which the student is enrolled, the students’ academic advisor, the counseling staff, and health center staff.
  2.  The Police and/or Dean of Students will make contact with the student’s emergency contact and, for students under 18 years of age, a custodial parent or guardian if not emancipated. Students are asked to register and continually update emergency contact information on Bear Port. 

Students who reside in on-campus housing are also provided an opportunity to identify a confidential emergency contact individual during check-in. This person(s) will also be contacted within 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing unless the student is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, in which case a custodial parent or guardian will be notified as mandated by law.

Once notified, the parent/guardian/emergency contact person may need to work with Mercer Police to submit additional information with outside law enforcement agencies in order to expand the investigation.

updated: September 28, 2010