Protocol for the Death of a Student

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Policy Number: 5-4-7

Effective Date: December 15, 2016
Policy Applies To: Students
Responsible Office: Dean of Students
Approved By:


INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The death of a student denotes a loss for the University community as well as for the family and friends of the deceased. In the event of a student death, the University community must respond with concern, care, and respect for the student and his/her family and friends. This policy is intended to assist University personnel who are responsible for executing the tasks that are the result of such an unfortunate event. Further, this policy is designed to ease the administrative burden of University offices and address the needs of the student and his/her family in a timely manner.

POLICY

SCOPE
This policy sets forth procedural guidelines intended to assist designated officials responding to the death of a student. Those procedures will include communication and actions related to student records, accounts, personal property, academics, family member contacts, and related matters.

POLICY
The following procedure is to be utilized in the event of the death of a currently enrolled NJCU student. When any University office is informed of the death of a student, it shall immediately notify the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (H303 – 201-200-3507)/Office of the Dean of Students @ (GSUB 127 – 201-200-3525) as soon as possible.
All follow-up activities will be coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Office of the Dean of Students.

CONTENTS:
Section A. Definitions
Section B. Procedures
Section C. Related Activities/Commemoration
Section D. Resources

Section A. Definitions
Currently enrolled student – a student currently enrolled at NJCU during the spring or fall semester, summer session, or one who has completed the immediately preceding term and is eligible for re-enrollment. This also includes non-matriculated students.

Section B. Procedures
Please note: FERPA applies until the death is verified.
Depending upon the student death notification, this protocol will be implemented as appropriate. In the event of the death of a currently enrolled student, each of the indicated departments will be responsible for the following:

When the student's death is on campus:

1. The first responder will contact Public Safety immediately. Public Safety officers will respond and be in charge of the scene of the incident until all appropriate actions have been taken. A ranking University administrator should be available, as appropriate. Depending upon the circumstances and at the first opportunity, Public Safety officers will contact the Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance and the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

2. Again, depending upon the circumstances, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs will inform the President, the Provost, the Dean of Students, and/or other senior staff members as appropriate. Through the designated staff, the following will be notified:

  • a. Office of Marketing and Communications
  • b. Student's next of kin
  • c. As appropriate, members of the Student Assistance Team (SAT)

3. The Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, upon request for a copy of the death certificate (or a copy of the incident report), will notify each of the following department(s) of the death of the student and coordinate procedures for follow-up as appropriate:

  • a. Public Safety
    • i. If necessary, assist in verification of death by contacting one or more of the following: hospital, state/local police, and appropriate county office. December 15, 2016 Page 3 of 7
  • b. University Registrar (Official Records of the Deceased)
    • i. Change student record to reflect "Deceased" status in the official records.
    • ii. Delete the deceased student's address from the University mailing data base.
    • iii. If no academic credit is to be granted, for the term, cancel all tuition and fee assessments.
  • c. Financial Aid and Bursar (Indebtedness to the University)
    • i. Review any loans/scholarship programs and follow appropriate protocols.
    • ii. Advise family of any loan programs to which the deceased was indebted. When the loan is not forgiven, arrange for repayment.
    • iii. Amend the file and code the record as deceased.
    • iv. Notify State and Federal agencies of deceased status.
    • v. Provide personal counseling and advice; make referrals as appropriate.
  • d. Information Technology Services (deceased student's email account)
  • e. Office of the Dean of Students will notify the following departments:
    • i. Counseling Center (Support/Conduct grief counseling [group and individual])
    • i. Health and Wellness (Review of wellness records)
    • ii. Housing and Residence Life

4. If the deceased student was a resident student and as per notification from the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or the Dean of Students, the Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life will:

  • a. Restrict access to student's room and personal effects;
  • b. When approved and appropriate, coordinate access to the deceased student's room and property, making arrangements for the return of deceased student's property to his/her family; and
  • c. Work with deceased student's roommate(s) to insure his/her wellbeing during this crisis.
  • d. Compute outstanding rent until the date the room was vacated. Apply the security deposit first to offset any expenses and normal charges. The deceased student's estate shall be liable for all costs incurred until the room is vacated and Residence Life/Bursar's office will notify the estate of the continuing liability?

5. If the deceased student was a student-athlete, and as per notification from the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, the Director of Athletics will:

  • a. Restrict access to student's athletic property and personal effects
  • b. When approved and appropriate, coordinate access to the deceased student's athletic property and personal effects, making arrangements for the return of deceased student's property to his/her family;
  • c. Work with deceased student's teammate(s) to insure their wellbeing during this crisis.

6. If the deceased student was an international student and as per notification from the Provost or his/her designee, the Asst. Vice President for Global Initiatives will provide assistance with regard to consular outreach or family notification as appropriate.

  • a. Notify the family of the death of the student.
  • b. Contact the appropriate embassy involved (if necessary).
  • c. Where appropriate, arrange for a person who speaks the language of the deceased to be available to assist with communication.

7. If the deceased student was enrolled in any special programs and as per notification from specific Vice Presidents or designee(s), the directors of those programs should implement appropriate actions within their programs.

8. As per notification from the Provost or his/her designee, the following departments will complete tasks as indicated:

  • a. Guarini Library will:
    • i. Waive Library fines and
    • ii. With discretion, explore options for the retrieval of books still charged to the deceased.
  • b. University Advisement – closeout advising records
  • c. Faculty – Upon request, mail any assignments completed by the deceased student, e.g., papers, examinations, reports, to the family.

9. As appropriate, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or the Dean of Students will inform the Student Government Organization (SGO) and the Office of Campus Life, who will notify the student groups with which the deceased student was affiliated. These students will be given access to any support services and included in the planning and execution of any all-campus memorial or vigil.

10. The offices of the President, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and the Vice President for Advancement (Office of Marketing and Communications) will coordinate the following:

  • a. Prepare a statement for internal announcement to the University community, as well as the media;
  • b. The Office of Marketing and Communications will be responsible for collecting and disseminating information to the media. All requests for information should be directed to this office. It is important that the Public Safety and Student Affairs work closely with this office and the University Counsel to maintain the accuracy of the information disseminated.
  • c. Where a student death occurs on University premises or at events under University control, it is important that no person involved in the University response speculate as to the cause of death or make statements assigning responsibility for the cause of death to any individual or group. Requests for such information by the media or others should note that the University (and/or other agencies) will promptly conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the death.
  • d. Prepare and send a sympathy letter/card/flowers and follow-up instructions to the family with a copy to relevant departments/school/colleges; and
  • e. If appropriate and/or requested, coordinate with the family, donations and memorial gifts (ex: scholarship, tree, bench, etc.)*.

11. As appropriate or necessary, the University Counsel will:

  • a. Respond to contacts concerning legal questions by the family and other attorneys;
  • b. Review legal documents: and
  • c. Advise and respond to legal issues.

12. The Office of the Dean of Students, in consultation with other staff and students will assist with the coordination of a memorial service and/or vigil.

13. The Office of the Vice President for Advancement and the Office of Alumni Relations will:

  • a. Review the alumni information system to ascertain if the student has a record;
  • b. If a record exists, code the record as "deceased" with the appropriate date and remove the deceased's name from the mailing list; and
  • c. Review the alumni information system to ascertain if the deceased has an alumnus spouse. If so, amend the mailing list to include the surviving spouse only.

When student's death is off campus:
Response to any death occurring off campus will be handled initially by the local police agency and/or the hospital involved. It is the responsibility of these agencies to notify the next of kin.

If a death occurs during a field trip, the University staff member accompanying the trip should immediately contact local emergency services and the local law enforcement agency. Once the situation is secured, the following should be contacted:

  1. If it was an academic field trip, the Office of the Provost, the appropriate Academic Dean or Department Head
  2.  If it was a community service/athletic field trip, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, the Dean of Students, and/or the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs

At this point, Items 2 through 13 will be implemented as appropriate.

Section C. Related Activities/Commemoration:

  1. Long Term Contact/Action
  • a. The Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs/Office of the Dean of Students will maintain contact with parents/family as appropriate. Ideally, this should be the staff member who has been working with the family since the death.
  • b. Approximately one month after the death, the President or his/her designee sends a card or letter to the family along with a certificate of attendance at the University in lieu of a posthumous degree.
  • c. The University Registrar will review the academic records of the deceased student to determine if an Associate's/Bachelor's Degree has been earned. If so, she will notify the President?

Section D. Resources:

  1. The City University of New York:
    http://www2.cuny.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/page-assets/about/admini...
  2. Ramapo College
    http://www.ramapo.edu/policies/policy/memorial/

    *Recommendation as per Ramapo College's Memorial Policy

    In order to coordinate memorialization efforts that reflect the values of the College, be life-affirming and serve the mission, memorials will be limited to new tree plantings and/or monetary contributions for endowments or for student scholarships.

    Annually each spring, in recognition of those to be memorialized, the College will plant a memorial tree honoring those who have died during the previous calendar year. Under the direction of the Office of the President, a ceremony will be conducted at the planting site.

    No individual or group of individuals is permitted to place or erect any other form of memorial or structure in a college building or upon college grounds without the approval of the Board of Trustees.

    By January 10 of each year, the Office of Human Resources forwards the names and designated status of employees /retirees i.e. Student Affairs – students; Institutional Advancement – donors, Board of Governors; President's Office – Trustees who died during the previous calendar year to the President's Cabinet. The approved list is returned to the Office of Human Resources for record keeping purposes.

    The Department of Facilities Management shall procure a tree of a type and caliper selected by a qualified landscape architect or arborist and arrange for its planting in a designated campus setting in accordance with a landscaping plan approved by the Board of Trustees. The Department of Facilities Management shall also arrange for the fabrication and installation of a bronze (or bronze-type) plaque with the names of those being memorialized arranged by classification, i.e., board members, faculty, staff, students, friends/supporters.

    During the month of April a ceremony shall be conducted at the planting site, weather permitting (or indoors in the event of inclement weather). The Office of the President shall publicize the event and provide notices of the ceremony to family members of the deceased.

     3.   University of North Carolina at Charlotte
           http://legal.uncc.edu/policies/up-404

DATE TO INITIATE REVIEW AND UPDATE
As deemed necessary or appropriate by the Policy Coordinator but at a minimum, at least every 5 years from the effective date.