Missing Student Policy

Emory University’s Missing Student Policy, Policy 8.13, establishes procedures for the University’s response to a report of a missing student as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008.

Missing graphic


The HEOA of 2008 requires institutions of higher education to establish:

  • A missing student notification policy for students who reside in on-campus housing
  • A process for students to register a confidential contact for use under this policy
  • Procedures to implement this policy for students who reside in on-campus housing

Emory University applies this missing student notification process to all students. This policy applies to all students found to be missing or absent from the University for a period of 24 hours without any known reason or when the absence may be contrary to usual patterns of behavior. A student will be considered missing immediately, if his/her absence has occurred under circumstances that are suspicious or cause concerns for her/his safety. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to: reports or suspicions of foul play, suicidal thoughts, drug use, any life threatening situations, or where a student may be known to be with individual(s) who may endanger the welfare of the student.

Process Overview

If any member of the University community has reason to believe that a student may be missing, he or she should immediately notify the Emory Police Department at 404-727-6111 (Main Campus) or 770-784-8377 (Oxford Campus).

A campus officer is available to respond to a call 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

If the student in question resides off-campus, or resides on-campus but is reported missing from an off-campus location, the Emory Police Department will assist the reporting party in notifying the appropriate law enforcement agency with jurisdiction at the off-campus residence or last know location.

Official Notification Procedures for Missing Persons

  1. Any member of the university community who has information that a student may be a missing person must notify the Emory Police Department as soon as possible.
  2. If the initial report that a student is missing is made to a department other than the Emory Policy Department, the staff member or faculty receiving the report must ensure that the Emory Police Department is contacted immediately and that contact information for the original reporting party is shared with the Emory Police Department.
  3. The Emory Police Department, Campus Life, and other appropriate staff members will attempt to locate the student. If the student resides off-campus or was reported missing from an off-campus location, the University will cooperate with the appropriate local law enforcement agency in its effort locate the student. The Emory Police Department shall act as the primary investigating agency in a missing person case only when it has been determined that the missing person was last seen in EPD’s jurisdiction.
  4. Appropriate university staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student.
  5. If the student is not located within 24 hours of the report or it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g., witnessed abduction), the Emory Police Department shall notify the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area that the student is missing (unless it was the local law enforcement that determined the student to be missing). The notification will be made within 24 hours of the student being determined missing.
  6. When a student is determined to be a missing person, the Dean of Campus Life and/or his or her designee will notify the individual(s) the student designated to be contacted for missing persons purposes that the student has been determined missing.  If the student is under the age of 18 and not an emancipated minor, a custodial parent or guardian will be contacted in addition to the designated missing persons contact(s) if they are not the same person(s). The required notifications will be made within 24 hours of the student being determined missing.
    *Successful contact is contingent upon the correct contact information being made available by the student.
  7. Senior University Administration will be notified in accordance with this policy.

Campus Communications About Missing Students

In all cases of a missing student, where the student is declared missing by the Emory Police Department or by the appropriate local law enforcement agency after an initial investigation, the Emory University Office of  University Media Relations will provide information to the media that is designed to obtain public assistance in the search for any missing student. Any media requests to the college will be directed to the Office of University Media Relations. Prior to providing the Emory University community with any information about a missing student, the Office of University Media Relations shall consult with the Emory Police Department and with local law enforcement authorities to ensure that communications do not hinder the investigation.