The purpose of the NDS Missing Student Policy is to comply with the Higher Education Act Reauthorization with Higher Education Opportunity Act – 2008 Section 485(j). This act requires all institutions of Higher Education that participate in any Title IV program and provide on–campus housing to establish both a Missing Student Notification Policy and an Official Notification procedure for handling missing persons. The NDS policy and procedure applies to missing student reports of seminarians who reside on campus and students who are enrolled but are not residents. As NDS only offers programs to post-baccalaureate and graduate students, all enrolled students will be over 18 years of age.
NDS Missing Student Policy
For purposes of this policy, a seminarian or student will be considered missing, if a classmate, faculty member, or other campus person has not seen the student in a reasonable amount of time. A reasonable amount of time may vary with the time of day and information available regarding the missing person’s daily schedule, habits, punctuality, and reliability. Individuals will also be considered missing immediately, if their absence has occurred under circumstances that are suspicious or cause concerns for their safety.
Upon enrollment at NDS each student (resident or non-resident) will have the option to identify an individual to be contacted by the Seminary in the event that the student is determined missing. The Rector/President’s Administrative Assistant will maintain a confidential record of the students’ submission of contact information. This information will be accessible only to authorized campus officials and will not be used or disclosed except in the furtherance of a missing person investigation.
NDS Official Notification Procedure
If a member of the Seminary Community has reason to believe that a student is missing, they should immediately notify the Rector/President, the Vice Rector, or the Director of Facilities whether or not the student resides on campus. All possible efforts will be made to locate the student to determine his or her state of health and well-being through the collaboration of the offices of the Rector/President, Vice Rector and Director of Facilities. If none of the listed parties is available to receive the missing student report, the report must be given to the local law enforcement agency.
If located, verification of the student’s state of health and intention of returning to the campus will try to be determined. When and where appropriate, a referral will be made to the proper mental and/or physical health authorities.
If not located, no later than 24 hours after the seminarian is determined missing, the Vice Rector will notify the person identified as the student’s contact person, the seminarian’s Vocation Director, and local law enforcement. In the event the student does not reside at the Seminary, the contact person and/or family of the student will be encouraged to notify the appropriate local police authorities.
The Seminary will initiate an investigation when notified that a student who resides at the seminary is missing, with no reasonable explanation for his absence. The investigation will include gathering of all information including: discussions with friends, mentors, advisors, and if possible, contacting them by phone or text.