Missing Person Protocol


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Missing Person Protocol



The University believes that the personal and physical safety of the University community is a shared responsibility. In accordance with federal, state, and local law, the following protocol has been established to outline the University response procedures in the event University officials receive a report that a person residing in on-campus housing is missing.

Scope of Applicability

Who and or what the Procedure applies to: Lists groups who must know and adhere to the Procedure.


Protocol Notification

The Missing Person Protocol will be:

  • Written as a tenet of the Department of Housing and Residential Education leasing/housing contract.
  • Included in PDF format and as a direct link from the Department of Housing and Residential Education, Office of the Dean of Students, and Public Safety home pages.
  • Policy shared with students through a Departmental e-mail at the start of each academic year.

All residential students will be:

  • Afforded the option to register confidential contact information. A resident must contact the Department of Housing and Residential Education main office at 962-5401 to exercise this option.
  • Advised that such confidential contact information will be accessible only to authorized campus personnel and will not be disclosed to outside individuals or entities except for disclosure to outside law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation.
  • Advised that if they are a residential student under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, the University will notify the custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing, in addition to notifying the student's registered confidential contact, if different.
  • Informed to contact the following individuals and/or campus departments to report that a student has been missing for 24 hours:
    • Resident Advisor – Department of Housing and Residential Education
    • Community Director – Department of Housing and Residential Education
    • Department of Public Safety
    • Office of the Dean of Students
  • Alerted that the report of a missing person will be referred immediately to Public Safety. All other applicable University offices, including but not limited to the Office of the Dean of Students, Housing and Residential Education, and Counseling and Wellness Services, will be notified within less than 24 hours and as applicable when a student is reported missing.
  • Notified that once the University, through appropriate investigative protocols listed below, determines that a student is missing, the University's designee will, within 24 hours, contact the individual identified by the student, the custodial parent or legal
    guardian if the student is under 18 and not emancipated, and/or local law enforcement, as well as other appropriate community agencies when applicable.

Protocol Procedures

Upon notification from any entity that a student may be missing, even if before the 24 hour notification timeframe, the University may use any of the following resources to assist in locating the student. These resources will be used in any order and in any combination as deemed appropriate by University officials:

  • Initiate a "wellness" check on a student. In accordance with approved guidelines, the appropriate staff will be dispatched to the residential room to establish contact with the individual or verify that the individual is not currently available in their assigned space.
  • Reach out to known friends, other students living in the same location, and family
    members in an effort to glean additional information on the student's potential location and other applicable information.
  • Assign a liaison to ensure that family members are provided with information and support.
  • Access class information and contact academic departments and faculty members to ascertain information on last physical sighting of the student as well as any other relevant information.
  • Search on-campus public locations, including but not limited to dining facilities, libraries, recreation areas, etc.
  • Access the residence hall/apartment electronic key database to determine time and use of most recent entry points of the student using their key fob.
  • Department of Public Safety will follow General Order 4-6R1 which outlines the investigative protocol procedures they would follow in a case of a missing person.
  • The University may request the following technology-based information:
    • access email logs to verify last log in and use of University email system
    • ensure that use of student accounts/passwords is monitored
    • obtain and examine Internet service provider and e-mail records
    • monitor instant messaging and chat room activity
  • If there is any indication of criminal activity, the University will involve the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
  • In conjunction with the University's Executive Committee, prepare, update, and disseminate informational bulletins to outside agencies, the University community, and the public, if necessary and appropriate.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

  • External driver for the Policy (e.g., University, Federal, GA, accreditation, regulation) with link to regulation if available)

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

  • UNC Police General Order 4-6R1

Contact Information

Primary Contact

Carolina Housing
Student and Academic Services Bldg North (SASB)
Camus Box #5500
450 Ridge Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-5000
Telephone: 919-962-5401
Email: housing@unc.edu

Other Contacts

UNC Police
Public Safety Building
285 Manning Drive
Campus Box #1600
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1600
Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Telephone: 919-962-8100 (for emergency, dial 911)

100% helpful - 1 review


Article ID: 132460
Thu 4/8/21 9:31 PM
Mon 11/29/21 8:42 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
02/07/2017 11:00 PM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Success and Administration
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
02/07/2017 11:00 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
02/07/2017 11:00 PM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
02/07/2020 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
02/07/2017 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs