Missing Person Policy and Protocol

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315), HFS maintains a missing student policy for UW students living on-campus, which includes the option to register a confidential contact for investigation of a missing person, how to report a missing person, and notification protocol for persons determined to be missing.

Registering a Confidential Contact

It is HFS’ policy to provide students of any age the option to register a confidential contact to be notified within 24 hours if determined to be missing by HFS or a local law enforcement agency. Students can register a confidential contact through the Application and Assignment Home Page, as the first step in the housing application process. Changes can be made online as necessary at any time, and any student moving in to on-campus housing has the option to register a confidential contact. A confidential contact is separate from your emergency contact registered at HFS. The confidential contact is to be used for investigation of a missing person. Emergency contact information is used for situations deemed as emergencies such as medical emergencies, physical injury, and if the reported missing person is less than 18 years old and not legally emancipated.

A student’s confidential contact is user name- and password-protected in accordance with Higher Education Opportunity Act requirements. An Administrator for Residential Life is authorized to confirm any law enforcement agency request for confidential contact information and can access and release the information for investigation of a missing person report. HFS administrative staff have access to each student’s confidential contact.

By registering a confidential contact, a student is giving express permission to law enforcement to contact the identified person or persons for the purpose of a missing person investigation.

It is also HFS’ policy to notify parents or guardians within 24 hours if a student who is less than 18 years old who is not legally emancipated is missing. Parent or Guardian contact information must be provided through the Student Profile Page.

How to Report A Missing Person

If you believe a person is missing, you can report to any of the following law enforcement or campus security authorities on campus:

  • UW Police: Dial 911 on campus phones or 206-685-8973 via cellular telephone
  • UW Police TTY line for the hearing impaired: Dial 206-543-3323
  • Seattle Police Department: Dial 911 on any off-campus landline or cellular telephone

If you report a missing person to any UW official, he/she must make a report to the UW Police or local police authority immediately.

HFS Missing Person Protocol

When HFS receives a report of a student living in on-campus housing who is missing, HFS protocol includes the following, which must be performed within 24 hours of receiving the report:

  • HFS staff notifies UW Police immediately, regardless of whether the missing person has a registered confidential contact.
  • An HFS administrator accesses the missing student’s confidential contact and releases the information to UW Police or to the confirmed requesting law enforcement agency.
  • Either HFS or a law enforcement agency notifies the missing student’s confidential contact.
  • Either HFS or a law enforcement agency notifies the missing student’s emergency contact (typically parent(s) or guardian(s)) if he/she is less than 18 years old and not legally emancipated.

The UW Police Department will initiate a police investigation for a missing person and will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of all confirmed missing students as necessary. Additionally, if a student registers multiple confidential contacts and/or emergency contacts, HFS and/or UW Police will contact all registered persons even if one of the contacts states the student is not missing, unless the person reported missing contacts HFS or the law enforcement agency. UW Police will document all unsuccessful attempts at locating the missing person as part of their investigation.