Western Michigan University recognizes the importance of safety for our on‐campus living communities.
The purpose of this policy is to establish the process for responding to reports of missing students as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. This policy applies to WMU students who reside in on‐campus housing, including on‐campus apartments.
Emergency contact information designation
- Students age 18 and over or emancipated minors are given the opportunity when signing their residence hall contract or on-campus apartment lease to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by Western Michigan University 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.
- Students under the age of 18: In the event a student who is not emancipated is determined to be missing pursuant to the procedures set forth below, the University is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian no more than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing, in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student.
- Residence hall students are given the opportunity to provide their emergency contact persons and telephone numbers when completing their residence hall contract.
- Apartment residents are given the opportunity to provide their emergency contact persons and telephone numbers when completing their apartment lease.
- All contact information provided by students will be registered confidentially and this information will be accessible only to authorized campus officials. This information may not be disclosed, except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation or as otherwise required by law.
- The University encourages all students to provide personal emergency contact information.
Official notification procedures for missing persons
- Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be missing must notify the Department of Public Safety immediately by telephone (269) 387-5555 or in person by going to the Department of Public Safety Building. The Department of Public Safety will gather all essential information about the residential student from the reporting person and from the student's acquaintances (i.e. description, clothes last worn, where the student might be, who the student might be with, vehicle description, cell phone records, class schedule, information about the student's physical and mental well-being, up-to-date photograph, etc.).
- Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student.
- 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 Department of Public Safety will assume all facets of the investigation.
- No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the Vice President for Student Affairs 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. Contact is contingent upon the correct emergency contact information being made available by the student.
- Regardless of whether the student has identified a contact person, is above the age of 18, or is an emancipated minor, the Department of Public Safety will assume all facets of the investigation within 24 hours that the student is missing.