Missing student procedures

Olin takes student safety very seriously. To this end, the following policy and procedure have been established by Olin College and the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and applies to all students at the college.

For the purposes of this policy, a student may be considered to be a “missing person” if the student’s absence from campus is contrary to her or his usual pattern of behavior and Olin has reasonable belief that the unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances may include, but not be limited to, a report or suspicion that the student may be a victim of foul play; the student has expressed suicidal thoughts, may be drug dependent or in a life threatening situation; or if the student is overdue returning to campus and is not heard from after giving a specific return time to friends or family.

If a member of the Olin Community has reason to believe that a student is missing, whether or not the student resides on campus, that individual should contact Public Safety. Public Safety will collaborate with the Student Affairs team to make an effort to locate the student and determine her or his state of health and well-being. Public Safety will gather pertinent information about the student from the reporting person. Such information may include description, cellular phone number, clothes last worn, vehicle description, information about the physical and emotional well-being of the student, an up-to-date photograph, etc.

College officials will also endeavor to determine the student’s whereabouts through contact with friends, associates, and/or employers of the student, and determine whether the student has been attending classes, scheduled organizational or academic meetings, and work. If the student is living on campus, Public Safety and Student Affairs staff may make a welfare entry into the student’s room. If the student resides off-campus or studying abroad, Public Safety and Student Affairs staff will informally enlist the aid of police agencies that have jurisdiction.

If a residential student is reported missing and cannot be located, certain notices will be made as follows:

  • Parents/Guardians will be notified within 24 hours (after Public Safety receives the initial missing person report) to determine whether they know the whereabouts of the student.
  • Local law enforcement will be notified within 24 hours after Public Safety determines that the student is missing.
  • The student’s designated emergency contact (if any) will be notified once Public Safety or local law enforcement personnel make a determination that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours.

If the student is an off-campus resident, Public Safety will notify appropriate family members or associates within 24 hours of receiving the initial report. These individuals will then be encouraged to make an official missing-person report to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. Public Safety will cooperate, aid, and assist the primary investigative agency as appropriate.

After the student has been located, Public Safety will attempt to verify the student’s state of health and intention of returning to the campus. When and where appropriate, a referral may be made to the Counseling Center and/or the Student Health Center.

Upon notification from any entity that a student may be missing, Olin may use any of the following resources to assist in locating the student. These resources may be used in any order and combination.

  • Through Student Affairs, the R2s (Resident Resources) may be asked to assist in physically locating the student by keying into the student’s assigned room and talking with friends.
  • College officials may search on campus public locations to find the student (library, Dining Hall, etc.).
  • College officials may be issued an ID picture to assist in identifying the missing student.
  • Student Affairs may try to contact known friends, family, or faculty members for last sighting or additional contact information.
  • Olin staff or faculty may be contacted to seek information on last sighting or other contact information.
  • College officials may access card access logs to determine last use of the card and track the card for future uses.
  • College officials may access vehicle registration information for vehicle location and distribution to authorities.
  • Information Technology (IT) may be asked to access email logs for last login and use of Olin email system.
  • If there is any indication of foul play, college officials may contact the local police department for assistance.

Designation of emergency contact information

Students may designate an individual to be contacted by the college if the student is determined to be missing. The designation will remain in effect until changed or revoked by the student.

Communications about missing students

The local law enforcement agency in charge of the investigation and Public Safety will be consulted by Dean of Student Affairs prior to any information release from the college so as not to jeopardize any investigation.

  • Information provided to the media to elicit public assistance in the search for the missing person will be handled by the local law enforcement agency.