Missing Student Notification Policies and Procedures


The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UH Hilo) takes student safety seriously. The following policy and procedures have been established to assist in locating missing UH Hilo students who reside in on‐campus housing. The purpose of this policy and procedures is to promote the safety and welfare of UH Hilo students in accordance with the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.


Reporting a Missing Student

If an individual has reason to believe that a student who legally resides in on‐campus housing is missing, they should immediately notify Campus Security (808) 932‐7013, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (808) 932-7445, or the University Housing Office (808) 932-7403. This team will work together to share information under the leadership and coordination of the Director of Campus Security. For students who do not reside on‐campus and are reported missing, the University may provide reasonable response and assistance as resources and time allow.

Investigating a Report of a Missing Student

Upon receiving information that a student cannot be located and may be missing, the Director of Campus Security in collaboration with University Housing personnel and the Dean of Students will initiate an investigation. Before presuming that the student is missing, reasonable measures will be taken to determine whether or not anyone familiar with the student has seen or heard from him/her recently or is aware of where he/she may be. Investigating a missing student report includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Obtain information from the reporting individual about the student, such as a physical description, including clothes he/she may have been wearing when last seen; who he/she may be with or where he/she may be; his/her physical and mental well being; and the reasons he/she believes the student is missing.
  • Attempt to contact the student via his/her cell phone (if available) and/or email address.
  • Check the student’s room to see if he/she is present.
  • Contact University Housing Community Coordinators, roommates, friends, employers, and members of clubs and organizations the student may be affiliated with, if known, to obtain information about when and where the student was last seen and if the student’s absence is inconsistent with his/her established patterns of behavior. (University Housing)
  • Contact the student’s professors to ascertain the student’s recent attendance in class. (Dean of Students)
  • Obtain a photograph of the student, if available, from student ID card records and use this information (and/or the physical description) to conduct a search, with the possible assistance from University Housing personnel or others, of campus and buildings where the student has classes. The Campus Security Director may issue an ID card photograph to personnel involved to assist in the identification of the missing student. (Campus Security Director)
  • Contact the Parking Office to determine if the student has a vehicle registered on campus; if the student has a vehicle, Campus Security officers will attempt to locate the vehicle on campus. (Campus Security Office)
  • Check access card logs (e.g., through Dining Services, Student Life Center) to determine the last time the student’s UH Hilo ID card was used, access logs to UH email, as well as any surveillance video. (Campus Security Director)

Notifying Appropriate Persons of a Report of a Missing Student

If the student cannot be located after reasonable efforts, the following individuals will be notified no later than 24 hours after the student has been determined to be missing:

  • The Dean of Students will contact the Confidential Contact identified by the student (see below).
  • If the missing student is under the age of 18 and is not an emancipated individual, the Dean of Students will notify the student’s custodial parent or legal guardian.
  • The Director of Campus Security will notify the local law enforcement agency.
  • The Dean of Students will notify the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

This policy does not preclude the University from implementing the procedures described above in less than 24 hours if circumstances warrant a faster implementation.

Confidential Contact

Students residing in on‐campus housing have the option to confidentially identify an individual to be contacted by UH Hilo in the event he/she is determined to be missing for more than 24 hours. Students will be provided the option of designating a confidential contact at the time he/she checks in to a residence hall. Students will be informed at that time that:

  • if they identify such an individual, UH Hilo will notify that person no later than 24 hours after they have been determined to be missing
  • if they are under age 18 and are not an emancipated individual at the time they are determined to be missing, UH Hilo will notify the student’s custodial parent or legal guardian
  • even if they do not provide a contact person, the University will notify local law enforcement that they have been determined to be missing
  • the confidential contact information will be accessible only by authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation.

Student Notification of this Policy

In addition to informing resident students of this policy at the time they check in to a residence hall, the University will notify students of this policy and procedures through the following methods:

  • Posting it on the UH Hilo University Housing, Campus Security, and Student Rights and Responsibilities websites
  • Discussing it with resident students by University Housing personnel at the beginning of the academic year in residence hall meetings

External Communications

In cases of a missing student, local law enforcement agency may provide information to the media that is designed to obtain public assistance in the search for a missing student. In doing so, the local law enforcement agency will consult with UH Hilo University Relations. Any media requests to the University will be directed to the University Relations office.

August 13, 2010, updated February 18, 2015.