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Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures

The term "missing student," for the purposes of this plan, shall refer to any Barnard College student, who resides in a facility owned or operated by Barnard College or Columbia University, who has not been seen by friends, or associates, for a reasonable length of time, whose whereabouts has been questioned and brought to the attention of a member of the Residence Life & Housing Staff, including resident assistants. The College will initiate the following procedure once advised that a student is missing, with no reasonable explanation for his/her absence. Ordinarily, the procedure will be initiated after at least a 24-hour period will have elapsed after a normal or scheduled event for which the student's presence has been expected. However, the College may waive the 24-hour period if circumstances warrant.

When registering online at the start of each semester, student will be asked to identify a Missing Person Contact person, whom the College shall notify if the student is determined missing. This contact information will be confidential and will be accessible only to authorized campus officials. In addition, the contact information shall not be disclosed, except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation.

In addition to the Designated Contact, parents of students who are under 18 years of age and not emancipated will also be contacted if such student is missing.

Procedure

  1. All reports of missing, or suspected missing residents students, are to be made to a member of the professional Residence Life & Housing staff (Director, Associate Directors, and Graduate Hall Directors).
  2. The Residence Life Staff member will immediately notify the Director of Public Safety, or his/her designee, of the report. Together, the representatives from Residential Life & Housing and Public Safety shall investigate by, among other things: (i) making inquiries of roommates/suitemates, residents living on the same floor and any other known associates of the suspected missing resident; (ii) accessing and reviewing the student's academic schedule and ascertaining whether the student is attending classes; and (iii) attempting to ascertain whether the student has used his/her meal card or other College services.
  3. If these efforts meet with negative results, the College will promptly (but no later than 24 hours after the initial report) contact the missing student's Designated Contact. In addition, if the missing student is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, the student's custodial parent or guardian shall also be contacted at this time. The Designated Contact and/or parent/guardian will be apprised of the situation and asked whether they have any knowledge of the missing student's whereabouts.
  4. If these efforts meet with negative results, the Director of Public Safety, or his/her designee, will promptly (but no later than 24 hours after the initial report) contact the New York City Police Department who will initiate an investigation and search based on their departmental policy and procedures. The New York City Police Department will be contacted regardless of whether the missing student has named a Designated Contact (The New York City Police Department has a standard operating procedure in place to respond to missing persons. The local precinct commanders have agreed, pursuant to the attached letters, that the New York City Police Department will address such a situation promptly and in accordance with the New York City Police Department guidelines).