Student Death Protocol & Procedure

  • Custodian of Policy: VP for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
    Relevant Minnesota State System Policy: Board Policy 5.12: Tuition and Fees Due Dates, Refunds, Withdrawals, and Waivers
    Effective Date: Current
    Last Review: Fall 2019
    Next Review: TBD

    Student Death Protocol & Procedure

    The procedures outlined here delineate the roles and responsibilities that should be assumed by individual administrators, staff, faculty, students and various campus departments following the death of a currently enrolled Minnesota State University Moorhead student.

    The Office of the President

    1. After official notification of a student’s death has been given to the family by local law enforcement, the Office of the President, in coordination with the Office of the Dean of Students, will contact the family of the deceased student to:
      • Offer condolences; and,
      • Identify the Dean of Students, or designee, as the campus contact to work with the family to coordinate all campus business (financial aid, housing, etc.).
       
    2. The Office of the President ensures that the Cabinet has been notified.
    3. The Office of the President ensures that the Chancellor has been notified.

    The Office of the Dean of Students

    (in conjunction with the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs)

    1. The Office of the Dean of Students office verifies the student death through the Office of Public Safety or appropriate law enforcement agency.
    2. The Office of the Dean of Students or designee verifies the enrollment and FERPA release status of the deceased student.
    3. The Dean of Students office confirms that the family of the deceased student has been notified by the appropriate law enforcement agency.
    4. Determine if the family has any immediate needs from the University (e.g. gathering items from the residence hall room, notifying other students, etc.).
    5. Gather information about funeral, visitation, and memorial arrangements.
    6. The Office of the Dean of Students or designee confirms the following individuals have been notified:
      • President
      • Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
      • President’s Cabinet
      • College Dean
      • Director of Housing & Residential Life
      • Director of Counseling Center
      • Director of Public Safety
       
    7. The Dean of Students or designee notifies the following individuals/offices:
      • Academic Advisor
      • Academic Support Center
      • Accessibility Resources
      • Athletics
      • Business Services
      • Counseling Services
      • Faculty
      • Global Education
      • Information Technology
      • Learning Communities
      • Library
      • Office of Diversity and Inclusion
      • Office of Scholarship & Financial Aid
      • Office of Student Activities
      • Office of Student Conduct & Resolution
      • Recreation & Wellness
      • Registrar’s Office
      • University Bookstore
      • Veterans Resource Center
       
    8. When appropriate, the CARE Team will assess if counseling or crisis intervention services are needed for students connected with the deceased.
    9. The Dean of Students or designee will serve as the campus contact to assist the deceased student’s family.
    10. The Dean of Students or designee may attend the funeral on behalf of the university, if approved by the family.
    11. The Dean of Students will review student records with the following:
      • Business Services to identify student financial account status and any potential refunds;
      • Library to identify books that were checked out by the student;
      • Bookstore to identify and return any textbooks for potential refunds;
      • Counseling Services to seal any counseling or health records.
       
    12. The Dean of Students may consider calling a CARE Team meeting to assess other students of concern who may have been impacted by the student death.
    13. The Dean of Students will coordinate potential postvention initiatives within 2-4 weeks after the student death. These initiatives may include working with students, faculty, and staff who were connected to the student and may be coordinated with the CARE Team.

    Public Safety

    1. The Director of Public Safety or designee will consider gathering the Emergency Management Team for the purposes of coordinating a response to the student death.
    2. The Director of Public Safety or designee will contact and notify the local law enforcement agency of the student’s death.
    3. The Director of Public Safety or designee will assume the role of liaison between the University and the local law enforcement agency.
    4. If necessary, the Director of Public Safety or designee will notify the President and the Dean of Students.
    5. The Director of Public Safety or designee will determine if an emergency notification and/or timely warning should be sent.
    6. The Director of Public Safety or designee will deactivate the deceased student’s identification card and key card access.
    7. The Director of Public Safety or designee will notify the Business Services to determine whether to remove any charges such as parking tickets, keys, etc.
    8. The Director of Public Safety or designee will suspend all notifications and outstanding tickets.

    Chief Marketing Officer

    1. The Chief Marketing Officer will coordinate and disseminate all campus wide communication of the student’s death.
    2. The Chief Marketing Officer will coordinate with the Dean of Students about campus notification regarding visitation, funeral arrangements, etc.
    3. If the student death is likely to generate media inquiries, the Chief Marketing Officer, in collaboration with the President or appropriate Vice President will designate an appropriate spokesperson(s) to serve as media contact(s).
    4. As necessary, the Chief Marketing Officer will brief and prepare the designated spokesperson.
    5. The Chief Marketing Officer will consult with the Dean of Students regarding the status of a FERPA release for the deceased student.

    The Registrar's Office

    1. The Registrar places a “deceased” indicator on the deceased student’s academic record.
    2. The Registrar initiates procedures that close the student’s academic records. As noted by AACRAO (American Associate of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Officers) and FERPA the privacy interests of the individual are no longer in effect with the student’s death. FERPA rights and the rights of privacy regarding the student’s academic record end at death. As a matter of institutional policy, the following are the procedures regulating under what conditions the student’s academic information should be disclosed to survivors or other third parties.
    3. Minnesota State University Moorhead continues to treat the academic records of the deceased student the same as a living student in that only directory information may be release to third parties. Minnesota State University Moorhead requires documents that certify power of attorney or executor/executrix authorization to allow disclosure of information (other than directory) to survivors or other third parties. Either the parents or next of kin, with proper documentation, are considered the owner of the student’s academic records.
    4. Unless authorized by the executor/executrix, parent, or next of kin the University does not permit release of the deceased student’s educational record information for a period of 10 years after death.
    5. Pertinent information on the student’s academic record is updated, such as: a deceased date and end date with admission status, advisor, major and minor. If student is currently enrolled, Registrar’s Office will drop and back date the current courses.
    6. The Registrar will coordinate with the Dean of Students to address any questions or concerns from the family regarding the deceased student’s records.

    The Office of Housing & Residential Life

    1. If a deceased person is discovered in residence hall, staff should call 911 to notify local law enforcement of the student’s death and immediately vacate the room and leave the site untouched.
    2. The Area Director will notify Public Safety, the Director and Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life of the student’s death.
    3. If necessary the Area Director will take appropriate measures to assist in ensuring that other residents, students, and passersby are not viewing the body or disturbing the site in any way.
    4. The Director of Housing and Residential Life will immediately notify the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students.
    5. The Director of Housing and Residential Life and Area Director should assist the local law enforcement agency if requested.
    6. The Area Director will complete and submit an incident report.
    7. The Director of Housing and Residential Life or designee will consult with the Dean of Students with regard to packing the deceased resident’s possessions at a time determined appropriate. Family members, and/or staff may pack the deceased resident’s possessions. If it is determine that or staff will pack the deceased student’s possessions, they must develop an itemized list of the student’s belongings. The Director of Housing and Residential Life or designee, will be responsible for arranging pick up or delivery of items with the student’s family.
    8. The Director of Housing and Residential Life will determine if room charges should be adjusted, and will work with Business Services to update the student’s account.
    9. The Director of Housing and Residential Life will notify Sodexo regarding student death to determine if the student had a meal plan and/or was a student employee. If the student had a meal plan, the Director of Housing and Residential Life will coordinate any billing adjustments or refunds, as appropriate.
    10. If the death involves an M State student living on the MSUM campus, the Director of Housing and Residential Life or designee will inform the M State Dean of Students. The M State Dean of Students will coordinate communication to M State students, faculty, and staff.

    The Office of Scholarship & Financial Aid

    1. The Director will coordinate the suspension of future disbursement of financial aid.
    2. The Director will coordinate the return of financial aid funds to their appropriate sources after the Business Services calculates the refund.
    3. The Director will coordinate the suspension of future financial aid communication and this includes current and future year.
    4. If necessary, end dates of the financial aid holds to the withdrawal date (date of death).
    5. If the student incurred student loan debt, the Director will work with the Dean of Students to pass along information regarding the loans and procedures to discharge the loan debt due to the death of the borrower.

    Business Services

    1. The Comptroller will be informed of the student’s death. The student’s account balance will be provided to the Dean of Students along with whether the student is in the student payroll system.
    2. The University President or designee, on a case-by-case basis, may waive tuition and fee charges for the term. Business Services will process the tuition and fee charges waiver, if approved.
    3. Once the Dean of Students has notified the Comptroller that all other department charges have been reviewed, Business Services will mail the final student account bill or refund to the student’s permanent address on file.

    International Student Services

    1. In coordination with the Dean of Students, the Director of International Student Services or designee will contact a representative at the appropriate embassy to notify next of kin of the student’s death.
    2. The Director of International Student Services or designee will assist family members throughout the repatriation process.

    Study Abroad Office

    1. Upon notification of the death of a student who was studying abroad, the Director of Study Abroad will contact the Dean of Students office.
    2. In coordination with the Dean of Students, the Director of Study Abroad or designee will contact a representative at the appropriate embassy to notify next of kin of the student’s death.
    3. The Director of Study Abroad or designee will assist family members throughout the repatriation process.

    Postvention Considerations

    1. The Director of Public Safety will assist the Dean of Students in calling a meeting of the Emergency Management Team for consideration of postvention activities.
    2. The Dean of Students may coordinate support services for students and employees who were connected to the deceased student in the weeks following the death.
        

    Board Policy 5.12: Tuition and Fees Due Dates, Refunds, Withdrawals, and Waivers

    State Board Policy grants the president or designee the ability to waive any amounts due:
    Part 6. Waivers
    The president or designee may waive amounts due to the college or university as authorized by the system procedure on waivers.