Missing Student Policy and Procedures
Authority: Student Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted October 2015; Revised June 2016; March 20, 2022
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) states the University must issue a policy statement, prescribe certain procedures to be followed, and issue guidance to the campus community with regard to reported and confirmed instances of missing resident students (students who live in on-campus housing facilities).
Title 37 of the Crime Control Act of 1990, the National Child Search Assistance Act, states each federal, state, and local law enforcement agency shall report each case of a missing child under the age of 18 to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) of the Department of Justice. Under provisions of this title, no law enforcement agency will maintain any policy that requires the observance of any waiting period before accepting a missing child or unidentified person complaint. University Police will report all instances of missing children under the age of 18, in compliance with Title 37.
University Police observe no waiting period before accepting all missing person reports that are brought to their attention involving students, staff, or visitors.
Procedure for Notification of Missing Persons
Persons who have reason to believe a resident student, University student under the age of 18, or a child participating in University-affiliated events has been missing should notify one or more of the following University employees or offices:
- University Police (any sworn officer, sergeant, lieutenant, deputy chief, or chief) at (337) 475-5711. University Police may notify the Office of Student Services upon notification; or
- Office of Student Services at (337) 475-5609. University Police will be informed if notification is made to the Office of Student Services or its staff.
University Police will open a missing persons investigation and notify appropriate agencies. University Police will accept a report of any student, staff, or visitor regardless of the individual’s age or resident status on campus.
Confidentiality of Resident Student Emergency Contact Information
University Police or representatives of the Office of Student Services will attempt to make contact with the person(s) identified by the student as the emergency contact to explain the situation. Emergency contact information for resident students, which is maintained by the Office of Student Services, shall be treated as confidential, accessible only to authorized University officials, and may not be disclosed outside the institution except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation. Resident students shall be advised that such emergency contact person or persons will be notified within 24 hours by the Office of Student Services of a determination by University Police that the resident student is missing.
Resident Students Under 18 Years of Age (Non-Emancipated)
If it is determined a resident student is missing and the student is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, University representatives will attempt to contact the custodial parent or legal guardian within 24 hours to explain the situation. Resident students under 18 years of age and not emancipated shall be advised, upon applying to reside in campus housing, McNeese must notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of determining the resident student is missing in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student.
Notification of Missing Resident Student to Local Law Enforcement
University Police will immediately notify local law enforcement upon receiving a report of a missing resident student or student under the age of 18 (as well as any report involving a student, staff, or visitor). The University will utilize the following general procedures if a resident or student under 18 years of age is determined to be missing.
Notification of Emergency Contact Person by the Office of Student Services
If it is determined a resident student (any age) is missing and the student has provided an emergency contact person, the Office of Student Services will notify the emergency contact person within 24 hours. The notification may be through in-person contact, electronic or telephonic (telephone call, voicemail, email, facsimile, or text message) communication, or through any other means appropriate to making timely notification. If a student registers multiple emergency contact persons and the first person reached indicates the student is not missing, the University will attempt to reach each additional contact person in turn, unless the student in question is contacted by McNeese or contacts McNeese via contact information available in the Banner student information system. McNeese officials will document each attempt made to reach emergency contact persons.
Notification of Custodial Parent/Guardian of Non-Emancipated Resident Students Under 18 Years of Age by Office of Student Services
If the resident student is under 18 years of age, is emancipated (legally independent of parents), and McNeese has determined the student is missing, the University will make immediate effort to notify both the custodial parent or guardian and the confidential contact person provided by the student.
University Police Response
University Police will immediately open an investigation whenever a resident or student under 18 years of age is reported missing. In the event a non-resident student, staff member, or visitor is reported missing to University Police, the police will facilitate filing a report to the agency of primary jurisdiction but will also provide liaison investigative services to that agency.
Any missing person report taken by University Police will immediately be entered into state and national law enforcement databases. Notification of local law enforcement will be facilitated through the Crime Analysis Unit of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, which will be a conduit to the State Police Fusion Center, upon determining a resident or underage student, staff, or visitor has been missing.
If a member of the University community believes a student who resides in on-campus housing or is under 18 years of age is missing, such information shall be immediately reported to University Police at (337) 475-5711. University Police will immediately create an incident report, initiate an investigation, and notify the Office of Student Services. Should the Office of Student Services receive a report of a missing resident student, they will immediately notify University Police.
Students Provide Emergency Contact Information
McNeese students may provide the University with general emergency contact information by updating information in the Banner student information system. In addition, resident students may inform the Office of Housing and Residence Life of an individual to be contacted by the University in the event the student is determined to be missing. The contact identification is held confidential by the Office of Student Services. If a student identifies such an individual, the Office of Student Services will notify that individual no later than 24 hours after the resident student is determined to be missing. A resident student who wishes to identify a confidential contact can do so by visiting the Office of Housing and Residence Life at 565 Beauregard Drive. Confidential contact information is accessible only by authorized University officials and may only be disclosed to law enforcement in the course of a missing person’s investigation.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.