Missing Student Policy

Basic information

  • Owner(s):
  • Applies to:
    • Current Students
    • Parents
  • Approved by:
    • Campus Safety
  • Last updated: September 6, 2019

Students are encouraged to provide emergency information when beginning the school year through e-mail correspondence and through their student orientation. Students are given the opportunity to provide a confidential contact that the university can reach if the student is believed to be missing. The confidential contact information will be accessible only to the Campus Safety Director, Assistant Director, or Office Manager and will not be disclosed outside of a missing person investigation.

If a member of the Calvin Community has reason to believe that a student is missing, they are encouraged to call the Campus Safety Department at 616-526-6452. It does not matter whether or not the student resides on campus. All possible efforts are made to locate the student to determine his or her state of health and well-being through the collaboration of the Campus Safety Department and the Residence Life office. If the student is an on-campus resident the Campus Safety Department will secure authorization from a Residence Life dean to make a welfare entry into the student’s room. If it is an off-campus student resident, the Campus Safety Department will inform and enlist the aid of the director of Commuter Student Life in addition to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. The student may be placed on card watch to track whether or not they have entered a specific building area or their residence hall.

Concurrently, Campus Safety officers in collaboration with Residence Life will endeavor to determine the student’s location and well-being through contact with friends, associates, and/or employers of the student. We will also seek to determine whether the student has been attending classes, labs, scheduled organizational or academic meetings, or appearing at scheduled work shifts.

If the student is located, verification of the student’s state of health and intention of returning to campus is made. When and where appropriate, a referral will be made to the J. Broene Center for Counseling and Wellness, Residence Life and Health Services.

If the student has not been located, notification will be made to the student’s designated contact person within 24 hours of receiving the initial report by Campus Safety, or a dean of Residence Life to determine if they know of the location of the student. If the student is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, Calvin University is required by law to notify a custodial parent or guardian immediately. In addition to notifying a parent or guardian, confidential contacts will be notified if an alternate contact name was provided.

If the student is an off-campus resident, appropriate family members or associates are encouraged to make an official missing person report to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. Anyone who wishes to make an official missing person report on a student is requested to notify the Campus Safety Department immediately. Upon being made aware that a student is missing, the Campus Safety Department will notify the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction within 24 hours. The Campus Safety Department will cooperate, aid, and assist the primary investigative agency in all ways prescribed by law.

All pertinent law enforcement agencies will be notified and requested to render assistance through direct telephone contact or visit by an employee of the Campus Safety Department. Suzanne’s Law, requiring local police to notify the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) when someone between 18 and 21 is reported missing, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in the Spring of 2003 as part of the national “Amber Alert” Bill. The Crime Control Act of 1990, section 3701 (a) states: IN GENERAL- Each Federal, State, and local law enforcement agency shall report each case of a missing child under the age of 21 (reported to such agency) to the National Crime Information Center of the Department of Justice.

The federal law is named after Suzanne Lyall, a State University of New York at Albany student who has been missing since 1998. Previously, police were only required to report missing persons under the age of 18. This law is intended to encourage police to begin an investigation immediately when university-age people disappear, instead of waiting a day, which has been a common practice (The Calvin University Campus Safety Department has always initiated such investigations promptly). Upon closure of the missing person investigation, all parties previously contacted will be advised of the status of the case.


(616) 526-6451



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