The Dean of Students Office

Emergencies and Crisis Response


Student Death Protocol

I. Responding to a Student Death

These guidelines are intended to assist UNCG faculty, staff, administrators and other employees with addressing student related crises. While some campus officials play more active roles in responding to student crises, it is important for all University faculty and staff to have a working knowledge of these guidelines. Although the University strives to respond in a consistent manner, the specific facts and circumstances of any crisis may lead the University to adjust the actions suggested in these guidelines.

In the event of a student’s death, the following procedures will be followed as general guidelines. Realizing that death can occur under a number of different circumstances (accident, intentional, natural causes, etc.), there is great need for flexibility and good judgment. Considering the very sensitive and unpredictable nature of a death, no procedure can describe in absolute detail all the steps that should be taken. Those responsible for implementation of these guidelines should be guided by the essential communication needs required in these situations, as well as empathy, sensitivity and support for the bereaved, common sense, and the need to preserve important evidence.

Out of respect for their families and those closest to students who have died, it is important to note that under State law, the university must rely on a medical examiner to determine an official cause of death. When a death occurs off campus the university may not be informed of the cause. From working with students’ families and others affected by a loss of life, we learn much that alerts us to areas of concern and greatly informs how we provide health and safety support, as well as grief support and resources, for our community.

A university staff or faculty member first informed of the death of a student should notify University Police. University Police will notify the Dean of Students or designee. The University’s response to the death of a student is led by UNCG Police working closely with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the following offices by email and/or phone, or otherwise to ensure that these offices have been notified of a student death.

II. Guidelines

A. Primary Notifications (as soon as possible)
B. The Dean of Students or designee via email (as needed/Day Two)
C. Secondary Notifications (Day One/Day Two)

III. University Response

  • UNCG and city police protocols are followed for investigation of death and processing of the scene.
  • University Communications contacts and/or responds to media initially and throughout the process, involving other University staff as needed.
  • An “information hub”/command location is established by UNCG Police and the Dean of Students or designee.
  • Dean of Students/designee or Division office contact goes to the site (if on campus or to the site off campus (if appropriate) to provide practical assistance and a symbolic presence.
  • The Dean of Students/designee or, when appropriate, Director of Housing & Residence Life calls selected residence hall and/or other student affairs staff (identified on a case-by-case basis) to site to respond to bystander questions, disseminate information, and identify community members in need of help to the degree possible.

Staff working the site should be aware that upset students and others might be found well away from the site. (If appropriate to the circumstances, bystanders should be reassured by staff that there is no danger to them or others.)

  • Director of the Counseling Center and counselor(s) may arrive on site to speak with any student(s) desiring their assistance. (Director of the Counseling Center determines which counselors come on campus). After-hours students, staff etc. can also access Protocol via 336.334.5874 to provide additional support and/or to reach a member of the Counseling Center staff.

Staff working the site should be aware that upset students and others might be found well away from the site. (If appropriate to the circumstances, bystanders should be reassured by staff that there is no danger to them or others.)

  • If the death is in a residence hall, then immediately following first response, determination of death, and assessment by police of existing security risk to others, residence life/student affairs staff knocks on doors of student rooms on the residence hall floor affected to let residents know there has been a death, that there is no security risk to residents (if true), and that police, emergency medical personnel, and staff will be in the hallway for a period of time. The purpose of notifying residents is to demystify the activity on the floor.
  • The student who died should not be identified by name until police positively establish identity. Coroner determines the cause of death. (This may take several days to confirm).
  • No one associated with the University should speculate on the cause of death until the Coroner makes an official determination of cause of death. (This may take several days to confirm). University should respond that we are awaiting the Coroner’s official determination of a cause of death.
  • The Dean of Students or designee contacts Parking Services, Jackson Library, and OARS regarding the return of books, canceling parking permit, return of university equipment to appropriate departments, etc. (i.e.: adaptive equipment, books, etc.)

IV. Deceased Student

When deceased student’s identity is established, UNCG Police or the community law enforcement agency will notify parents or next of kin. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee may initiate a reach out once the parents or next of kin have been notified. UNCG Police and the Dean of Students Office will respond to parent/family questions and needs throughout the process.

Dean of Students Office, Housing & Residence Life, Campus Activities and Programs, and Counseling Center should immediately attempt to identify closest student friends and begin interventions with them as quickly as possible (the individual and small group as needed).

When a student’s body is removed from the building, the least public, practical route is used. Residence life/student affairs staff is available along the route to answer bystander questions to the degree possible.

V. Parent/Family Point of Contact

Parents/family should have one main contact person with University Police and one main contact person in the Dean of Students Office. Important considerations in working with parent/family members:

  • requests for detailed information concerning the death.
  • desire to visit the campus or not.
  • desire for information about student academic status or circumstances in the period prior to the death.
  •  desire for privacy.
  • desire to include members of the University community in the wake/memorial/funeral/burial process.
  • practical concerns about student possessions, personal vehicle, keys, any refund.

VI. Student Death On Campus

  1. In the discretion of Director of Housing & Residence Life, roommates/suitemates of the deceased student may be moved to other on-campus housing on a temporary or permanent basis, if needed.
  2. When UNCG Police determine the room in which the death occurred has no further evidentiary value, it is secured, unless University Police or Risk Management state otherwise. NOTE: If the death occurred in the room or if there is evidence in the room that is related to the death, then NOTHING in the room should be changed or moved until University Police, Risk Management and/or family representatives have had a full opportunity to view and record the room and its contents.
  3. After UNCG Police and the Director of Housing & Residence Life give permission, family members may be escorted into the residence hall and room area by residence life staff, and by University Police, as appropriate. Director of Housing & Residence Life will coordinate with Director of the Counseling Center so that a member of the staff is readily available should the staff escort or family request their assistance.
  4. Subject to the requirements of paragraph 13 above, Housing and Residence Life arrange for room contents to be packed and moved as indicated by the family. The Dean of Students or designee will ask a family representative whether staff may use some discretion in packing or disposing of empty containers, trash, popular magazines, etc. rather than packing and shipping such disposable items.
  5. Family inquiries about a transcript, posthumous degree, or other academic closure should be referred to the Registrar with assistance through the Dean of Students Office.
  6. Family members’ inquiries about the liability of the University and/or payment of medical bills, funeral arrangements or etc., are referred to the Office of General Counsel.
  7. If the deceased is an international or INTERLINK/ESL student, the Dean of Students or designee shall contact the International Students Program Office as soon as possible to determine the appropriate method of family notification.

Student Death Off Campus

  1. Response to any student death occurring off campus will be handled initially by the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the death occurred, the medical examiner, and/or the hospital where the student was taken. It is the responsibility of one or more of these agencies to notify the next of kin.
  2. If a student death occurs in the City of Greensboro or Guildford County, UNCG Police may be notified by the corresponding law enforcement agency. In the event another campus official is informed of the student’s death, that official must contact UNCG Police or the Dean of Students Office as soon as possible to convey the information.
  3. If a student death occurs during University-sponsored travel in the United States, the University staff member accompanying the trip should immediately contact local emergency services and the local law enforcement agency. As soon as possible once the situation is secured, the University staff member must contact UNCG Police or the Dean of Students Office.

Student is Studying Abroad

  1. The program leader or representative of the host institution should contact local emergency services, local law enforcement, the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before contacting the International Programs Office (IPC).
  2. The Office of Education Abroad must notify UNCG Police and the Dean of Students or designee.
  3. The Office of Education Abroad should work to obtain official confirmation of student’s death from the U.S. Department of State.
  4. UNCG Police will assist IPC in obtaining official confirmation of a student death in the event that confirmation is not immediately forthcoming.
  5. It is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State to notify the student’s next of kin of the student’s death.
  6. IPC will work with the international insurance provider to begin the process of repatriation of the student’s remains.
  7. The Dean of Students or designee will coordinate with IPC to activate a postvention response as needed.
  8. The program leader or faculty director should follow the procedures outlined in this Protocol and any other applicable policies or procedures of IPC.

VII. Notification of Death to Campus 

The Chancellor or designee (usually the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) makes written notification of the death via campus email if appropriate. The Dean of Students will work with University Communications in preparing the text. The text includes, as deemed appropriate:

  • Student name, class level, major.
  • Date of death.
  • Location of death.
  • A statement that there is or is not a security risk to others.
  • Date, time and location of a discussion/grieving meeting (to be scheduled same day or evening when possible), to be facilitated by counseling and student affairs staff.
  • If a campus-wide announcement is not made, University Communications can facilitate the appropriate response.
  • Counseling Center contact information for those in need of immediate assistance and/or desire to speak to a counselor later.
  • If a residence hall is directly affected by the death, the Director of Counseling Center designee should coordinate with the Director of Housing & Residence Life or designee to facilitate a discussion/grieving session as soon as possible for interested residents. Residence Life staff are present to actively facilitate student ideas about expressing respect and sympathy. A UNCG Police officer may be present to provide factual information and a symbolic presence. If the student’s body has not been removed from the building at the time the discussion/grieving session begins, a residence life or Student Affairs staff member will wait for that to occur, then cue the discussion group facilitator that the area is clear.
  • Group intervention coordinated by the Director of the Counseling Center or designee is held with Student Affairs/residence hall staff and with other staff and faculty most heavily involved in day one response.
  • Dean of Students/ Director of the Counseling Center or designee speaks with the faculty of the student who died about having a presence in class, what can be said, handling the issue, etc.
  • Dean of Students or designee notifies Registrar of death so student records can be closed.
  • Dean of Students or designee will notify Student Health Service of death so they may close medical records as well as other appropriate administrative offices.
  • Dean of Students or designee notifies faculty for those students needing assistance with class absences.
  • Counseling Center staff meets with first responder(s) as needed.

VIII. Funeral Service/Memorial Service

  • Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs or designee sends a sympathy note to the family
  • Dean of Students Office will facilitate student attendance at the funeral if appropriate.
  • At least one member of the Student Affairs Division Office staff, Dean of Students Office staff and/or Housing and Residence Life staff attends the funeral, if feasible, to demonstrate university support to the family.

IX. On-campus Remembrance

Checklist for Vigils & Memorials

  1. The Dean of Students or designee will meet with Directors of Campus Activities and Programs, Housing and Residence Life, Chair of United Campus Ministries and Director of Counseling Center to determine whether Student Government Association, Residence Hall Association, fraternity/sorority (where appropriate) or a core group of students’ desires to hold an on-campus memorial service or other expressions of respect and sympathy.
  2. If it is determined that there is not a core group of students interested in planning a memorial service, then the Dean of Students contacts the student’s academic department to determine if they wish to do a remembrance within the department.
  3. The Dean of Students or designee will notify University Communications of the above plans as they are arranged.

X. Faculty Guidelines

Faculty members should expect to be approached by students affected by the death. These students may ask that they be allowed to miss class and/or postpone some of their academic responsibilities. That said, it is important to facilitate the grieving process as well as stabilize the environment by reducing the highly emotional tone of the campus, bringing it back to its more ordinary state.

  • Handle each request on a case-by-case basis.
  • Do not cancel class or assignments for everyone. It is important through our actions to convey a sense of normalcy.
  • iff a service is scheduled at the same time as a class, a faculty member’s attendance policies take precedence. Students can decide individually if they are willing to pay any attendance penalty that a faculty member has laid out in their syllabus and miss class to go to the service. Faculty members intending to go to the service should do whatever they ordinarily do when they cannot meet a class for personal reasons.
  • Along with other members of the campus community, faculty members can play an important role in helping students who are struggling with the loss of a friend or classmate. Suggestions for faculty to support students in crises following a death are as follows:
  • Consult with appropriate offices on campus, such as the Dean of Students Office and the Counseling Center.
  • Identify counseling resources for students who are struggling.
  • Identify tutoring services through the Learning Assistance Center.
  • Offer to meet with the student to provide extra assistance with assignments.
  • Extend an assignment deadline.
  • Provide make-up work or examinations.
  • Exclude one or more test grades from the final grade computation.
  • Compute the final grade or class standing without all work being completed.
  • Facilitate a leave of absence or academic withdrawal if that becomes necessary.
  • Faculty may talk about/recognize the loss in class. Before talking about the death, faculty should consult with the Dean of Students Office or the Counseling Center to make sure they use safe language.

Additional Support Resources

XI. Disclosure of Records/Release of Records

Many individuals and offices, including individual faculty members, Housing and Residence Life, the Registrar, Student Health Center, Counseling Center, and others may receive requests for information about a deceased student from third parties. All such requests for information should be referred to the Dean of Students Office. Such requests will be considered on an individual basis, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel as appropriate. Primary consideration will be given to requests that are supported in writing by the deceased’s immediate or surviving family.

XII. Roles and Responsibilities

The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs is responsible for administering these guidelines, and the Dean of Students or designee has primary notification and communication responsibility under these guidelines.

XIII. Follow-up Session

A follow-up session of key responders and counseling staff may occur approximately three weeks following the death. The Dean of Students or designee will coordinate this meeting.


Missing Student Notification Policy and Protocol


This Missing Student Notification Policy and Protocol is aimed at locating and assisting UNCG students who are determined to be missing. Most missing person reports often result from students changing their routines without informing roommates and/or friends of the change.

For purposes of this policy, a student will be considered missing, if a roommate, classmate, faculty member, staff member, friend, family member or other campus person has not seen or heard from the person in a reasonable amount of time. In general, a reasonable amount of time is 24 hours or more but may vary with the time of day and information available regarding the missing person’s daily schedule, habits, 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, such as if a student has expressed suicidal thoughts or may be in a life-threatening situation.

A UNCG student is “determined to be missing” when (1) an official missing person report is filed with the UNCG Police; and (2) the Police investigation concludes that the student has been absent from the University for a period of 24 hours or longer without any known reason.


All UNCG Students have the opportunity to identify an individual or individuals 3 (three maximum) to be contacted by UNCG Police no later than 24 hours after the time the student is determined to be missing. Students can identify their contacts online through UNCGenie as follows:

  1. Log in to UNCGenie;
  2. Select the “Enter Secure Area tab;
  3. Select the “Personal Information” tab;
  4. Click on “View Emergency Contacts” to confirm who you have listed;
  5. Click on “Update Emergency Contacts to edit contacts;
  6. Click on “New Contact” to add additional contacts
  7. Enter a new emergency contact information in the required fields. When finished, click Submit Changes

Initial Response

The first step in the process will be an informal staff investigation to seek information related to the circumstances around the missing person allegation and then inform the UNCG Police.  Typically, the initial response will be coordinated by staff in  Housing and Residence Life,  the Dean of Students office, and the UNCG Police. At the early stage in the investigation, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will be notified.

Staff should document the situation, creating a factual written report, while obtaining as many details as possible from the persons reporting the incident. While speaking with persons who reported the disappearance, staff should verify the accuracy of information previously provided. Once facts are documented in the written report and all other information available will be provided to the UNCG Police and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee. Understanding that in these types of incidents time is critical, the creation of a written report by Student Affairs staff should not deter them from verbally sharing important information with the UNCG Police. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee will be responsible for alerting the appropriate University officials of the missing student situation.

Campus Protocol

  • Any concerned person who is unable to determine a UNCG student’s whereabouts should gather as much information as possible about the missing student (i.e., last seen on campus, known friends on/off campus, etc.).
  • An official missing person report relating to the missing student should be provided/referred immediately to the UNCG Police at 336.334.5963 (non-emergency) or 336.334.4444 (emergency on campus).
  • The UNCG Police shall initiate an investigation to determine the validity of the missing person report. Efforts to locate the student will be coordinated through a collaboration of the UNCG Police, Housing and Residence Life, Dean of Students office, local authorities, and friends and family members of the missing student. When information is received by the University regarding a missing student, an investigation will be initiated. All investigative procedures will be governed by university policy and procedures and federal, state, and local laws.
  • The Dean of Students Office (336.334.5514) should be contacted by the Police and shall assist with the investigation (i.e., contact faculty to see if student is attending classes; consult with Housing and Residence Life, Counseling Center, Office of Accessibility Services and Resources, and Office of Campus Activities and Programs to see if student’s whereabouts is known).
  • Within 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing, the UNCG Police will notify local law enforcement agencies and contact the emergency contact person the student has identified (if any).
  • If UNCG Police are made aware that the student is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual,  they will also notify a custodial parent or guardian not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing.
  • UNCG Police may take any other lawful measures designed to locate a student determined to be missing, including notifying law enforcement in the student’s home jurisdiction and placing the student’s information in the National Crime Information Center System.
  • The Dean of Students Office will notify the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs of the determination that the student is missing.
  • The Dean of Students Office will take action deemed appropriate under the circumstances in the best interest of the missing student.
  • The Dean of Students office will serve as a liaison to the family. Through this role, the Dean of Students or designee will coordinate on-going communication with family and friends of the missing student and help to provide additional support services that may be needed. Also, the Dean of Students or designee will work with the UNCG Police and University Communications to coordinate messages to the campus community ensuring that pertinent details are accurately prepared, updated, and disseminated through official notices.
  • In the case of a Missing Student, multiple offices and academic units may be notified by the Dean of Students or designee. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee will ensure that pertinent details are appropriately relayed to staff and will make notifications to supervisors and the University administration in accordance with established policies and protocols as the investigation progresses. Notification of a Missing Student may include, but not be limited to the following:
    • Chancellor and Provost
    • Deans; Academic Colleges/School
    • University Registrar’s Office
    • Office of Student Financial Aid
    • Office of International Services
    • University Communications
    • General Counsel


The Dean of Students Office and UNCG Police Department will periodically review the policy.

Links to Related University Policies


Exceptions to this policy may be requested in writing, summarizing the nature and the reason for the exception. Such requests will be directed to the Dean of Student Office and to UNCG Police Department.


Questions regarding a missing student should be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office.

Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT)

The UNCG Behavioral Assessment Team provides coordinated assistance and support to students exhibiting concerning behaviors (also known as students of concern) through a centralized structure and method for outreach, referrals, and case management. The BAT Team uses discretion in communicating and collaborating with other University offices and/or community resources to collect available and pertinent information to assist in the identification of appropriate interventions and/or strategies, also known as care action plans, to address the concern(s) and ultimately support student academic and personal success and wellness. One or more individuals or departments represented on the BAT Team may implement these action plans.

For the purposes of the BAT Team, concerning behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Threatening words or actions Online posting in social media or journals that are threatening (if imminent, contact 336-334-4444)
  • Unexplained and extreme aggression toward others
  • Projects or papers that convey clear intentions to harm self or others
  • Observed self-injurious behavior, such as extreme thinness, burns or cuts
  • Suicidality, including threats, gestures, ideation and known attempts of suicide (if imminent, contact 336-334-4444)
  • Stalking (including Cyber Stalking)
  • Aggressive acts toward an identified group
  • Individuals with weapons or infatuation with fire, firearms, bombs, ammunition or weaponry
  • Paranoia or delusions by the individual that he/she is being targeted
  • Uncharacteristic poor academic performance
  • Substance abuse or being under the influence of illicit drugs
  • Depressed/Persistent Sadness/Unexplained Crying
  • Disturbed Eating Behaviors
  • Disturbing Written Material/Class Discussion
  • Excessive Anxiety/Extreme Mood Swings
  • Homicidal Ideation
  • Inappropriate Display of Anger/Negative Emotions
  • Missing Student [after multiple contacts] (if imminent, contact 336-334-4444)
  • Significant Change in Appearance/Behaviors

These behaviors may occur on- or off-campus. Students, faculty, staff, visitors, familiar and/or other community members, may identify and report concerns here.

Helpful Links

Emergency Contact Notification Protocol


The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of the members of our campus community.


The purpose of this policy describes circumstances under which the university may notify a designated emergency contact person with information about a student without the consent of the student. In general, the Dean of Students Office or designee will notify the designated emergency contact person when they have knowledge of circumstances adversely affecting a student.  The Dean of Students Office or designee, in consultation with appropriate staff, will notify the designated emergency contact person as soon as reasonably possible with information on what to do. The designated emergency contact person may be notified by the Dean of Students Office or designee:

  • In the event of hospitalization for life-threatening or other serious illness, including illnesses that would require multiple-day stays.
  • In connection with a serious injury or safety emergency when deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
  • When there is knowledge of a hospital visit for suspected alcohol poisoning.
  • When a student accepts responsibility or is found responsible, for a serious alcohol or drug violation where the sanction range is probation to expulsion. FERPA further authorizes- but do not require, the University to disclose disciplinary records to emergency contact, parents or guardians of students who are under the age of 21, regardless of dependency, when the records concern any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • When a student has been involved or has involved others in a potentially life-threatening situation and there is a reason to believe that notifying emergency contact person may reduce the imminent risk.

Student Health Services and Counseling Center staff are prohibited by law from sharing detailed information regarding complaints or diagnoses, and even attendance at the Student Health Services or Counseling Center, without express consent from the student.  However, staff will encourage students to discuss serious health and mental health issues with their emergency contact, or parents, or guardians.  The Counseling Center and Student Health Services staff are permitted to share confidential information in the case of imminent danger, to the extent that is necessary to protect the student or others threatened by the student.

Encouraging students to take responsibility for Notification of Emergency Contact

When making a notification under this policy, time and circumstances permitting, the Dean of Students Office or designee ordinarily will encourage the student to make the initial call to their emergency contact person. A notification may be withheld if the Dean of Students Office or designee determines in their professional judgment, the family or other circumstances make such notifications incompatible with the student’s best interests or is reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the student or another person.

In some situations, the student may be given 24 hours to make the initial contact with the emergency contact person prior to the university notifying the emergency contact person. Within the 24-hour time period that a student has to notify their emergency contact person, the student may submit documentation or a written statement indicating that there are special circumstances that make emergency contact (or parental) notification inappropriate. The Dean of Students Office or designee will consider the request and make a determination as to notification on a case-by-case basis.

The right of access to information in a student’s educational records is governed by a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). The right of access to other information, such as medical or counseling records, is governed by applicable state or federal law. As a general rule, students attending UNCG, regardless of age, have the right under FERPA to control disclosure of information from their educational records. There are various exceptions to this general rule. For example, educational records are subject to subpoena. FERPA also permits, but do not require, UNCG to make certain exceptions to this general rule and allows disclosure of certain directory information from a student’s educational records without obtaining the student’s prior consent.  A student may request the suppression of Student directory information by contacting the Registrar’s Office. A request to suppress information must be filed while the student is still enrolled at the university.

Additional Resources