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Missing Student

Section Title:Administrative
Policy Number:634
Policy Name:Missing Student
Approval Authority:President’s Cabinet
Responsible Executive:Vice President with Oversight of Public Safety
Responsible Unit:Public Safety
Date Adopted:September 27, 2010
Date Revised:September 2013; January 2014; July 2024



Public Safety has the authority and responsibility to investigate reports of missing students. All reports of a missing student will be referred to the Department of Public Safety. In all cases, Public Safety procedures for locating the student will commence immediately.

Reason for Policy

To maintain compliance with the Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures 20 USC 1092 C; (Section 488 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008), to minimize delays and confusion during an initial investigation of a missing student, and to ensure that the resources of the campus, law enforcement, family and friends of the missing are effectively deployed.

To Whom Does The Policy Apply

All students and employees

Related Resources


Director of Public Safety

Procedure 634: Missing Student

Last Revised: July 2024

Procedural Overview

In all cases, procedures housed within the Department of Public Safety for locating a missing student will commence immediately. Due diligence will be performed to ensure the student has not been seen by others on campus or off campus.

Emergency contact information is requested of each student and will be maintained in the College’s student record system(s). The Department of Public Safety may contact confidential or emergency contacts that are already on record with the College as well as those identified by students, local authorities, legal guardians or domestic partners in the course of an investigation as necessary.

I. Report Intake

Reports of a missing student may be received by Public Safety, Residence Life, or other members of the campus. All such reports must be immediately referred to Public Safety, which will conduct an investigation in accordance with the policy and procedure.

A student is determined to be missing when the Department of Public Safety has verified that the reported information is credible and circumstances warrant declaring the student missing.

II. Contacts

Confidential Contact Person. Residential students in campus housing will be informed annually that each student has the option to register a confidential contact person who would be notified by the Department of Public Safety, no later than 24 hours from the date of the initial Missing Student report to the Department of Public Safety, if they are determined to be missing.

This confidential contact person will be notified of the Missing Student report and asked to confirm the student’s whereabouts. Only authorized College officials and law enforcement working on a missing person investigation will have access to the confidential contact information. The confidential contact person can be the same or different from the student’s emergency contact person.

Emergency Contact Person. All students, residential and non-residential, are required to register an emergency contact person. In cases of a health and safety emergency, the Department of Public Safety may find it beneficial to notify an emergency contact in order to facilitate a plan which will support and protect the student and/or the community. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, this type of disclosure is permitted without the student’s consent.

III. Notification

For all missing students, the Department of Public Safety will notify the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing and all gathered information will be shared with them, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing. Ramapo College of New Jersey will notify any missing student’s confidential Contact person(s), if provided, within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing.

In the event that the missing student is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, the Department of Public Safety will notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student.

The Public Safety Desk Officer notifies the Director of Public Safety of a reported missing person. If the missing person is a student and is reported missing during business hours, the Dean of Students will be notified and, during non-business hours, the On-Call Administrator (OCA) will be notified.