Policy on Missing Persons

As required under federal law, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health immediately will refer to the Harvard University Police Department any missing persons report involving a student who lives in on-campus housing. If any member of the Harvard community has reason to believe that a student who resides in on-campus housing is missing, they should immediately notify HUPD at 617-495-1212. If HUPD determines that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then, within the 24 hours following this determination, the School or HUPD will: (1) notify an appropriate external law enforcement agency, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing; (2) contact anyone the student has identified as a missing person contact under the procedures described below; and (3) notify others at the University, as appropriate, about the student’s disappearance.

In addition to identifying a general emergency contact person, students residing in on-campus housing have the option to identify confidentially a separate person to be contacted by Harvard in the event that the student is determined to be missing for more than 24 hours. Students are not required to designate a separate individual for this purpose and if they choose not to do so then Harvard will assume that they have chosen to treat their general emergency contact as their missing person contact.

Students who wish to identify a confidential missing person contact should notify the registrar. A student’s confidential missing person contact information will be accessible only by authorized campus officials and by law enforcement in the course of an investigation, and may not be disclosed outside of a missing person investigation. In addition, if it has been determined that a student who is under 18 years of age and not emancipated has been missing for more than 24 hours, then the School or HUPD will contact that student’s custodial parent or guardian, in addition to contacting any other contact person designated by the student.

Students are reminded that they must provide the Registrar with emergency contact information and/or confidential missing person contact information if they have not already done so.