Missing or Unresponsive student

Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a student is missing or is voluntarily non-communicative. We recognize that an increasing number of students may be difficult to reach due to many different circumstances, including the transition to online learning. Advocacy & Support staff members are respectful of student’s privacy and personal relationships when trying to determine whether the situation is concerning. 

We would like to provide guidance on initial steps to follow up with students that are not responding to University attempts at communication, attending online classes, and/or submitting course assignments. **We ask that, when possible, you complete the following steps prior to referring a missing/unresponsive student to the Behavioral Consultation Team (BCT)/OSA Care Program.**

Please have your communication to the student (via email or phone) include the following: 

Email Subject Line: "Response needed ASAP-- concerned about your safety"  

“[Student Name], since I have not heard from you for some time, I have become extremely concerned about your safety and well-being.  I need to hear back from you about whether or not you are safe by [state specific date and time-- generally 24 business hours from when you’re calling/emailing], or I will need to ask my colleagues in the Office for Student Affairs to contact you to confirm your safety."

**Important exception: if the student has already made statements reflecting risk of harm to self or others, or access to weapons, we ask you to just refer to the BCT right away without taking this initial step yourself.**

If your initial attempts to reach the missing/unresponsive student are unsuccessful, please submit a referral to the Behavioral Consultation Team/Care Program by clicking on this referral form.  As you complete our referral form, please include the following details:

  • The date/time of the last known affirmative contact with student (student communicated with someone, attended a class or submitted an assignment)
  • The dates/times of recent attempts to reach out to student
  • Any known risk factors of harm to self or others (statements about harm, previous active attempts of harm, access to weapons, etc.)

The Red Folder is also a resource on how to notice and respond to indicators of student distress

Campus personnel, including the University of Minnesota Police Department, may be involved in a situation when a student is reported to be missing if there is a reason to be concerned for the student’s wellbeing.  If a student lives in the residence halls, Housing staff members may be the first point of contact to request assistance. A police officer may also be sent to the student’s off campus residence to perform a welfare check in cases where immediate danger is suspected. 

If you are unable to reach a student and have reason to think that the student may be missing or experiencing physical/mental health distress, you may contact the following offices for assistance:

  • University of Minnesota Police Department Non-emergency: 612-624-3550

If you think the student is in immediate danger or need, call 911.