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Procedure Following a Student Death 4.2-3


Authorizing Body:
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs – PRVST & VPAA
Responsible Department:
Student Affairs
Applies To:
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Adopted Date:
Revised Date:
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When any University office, faculty or staff member is informed of the death of a student, they are to notify the Office of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs is responsible to be the primary contact with the student’s next of kin or their designated representative, to notify appropriate University offices and personnel, and to coordinate procedures and activities across the campus, including the following departments:

  • University Police - Verification of death
  • Parking Services - Citations against student
  • University Communications - Publication of death
  • President's Office - Flag at half-mast, flowers
  • Registrar's Office - Official records of deceased
  • Controller's Office and Scholarships & Financial Aid Office - Debts of deceased
  • Housing and Residential Life - Personal belongings, roommates
  • Student Life Center - Student organizations
  • Academic Department - Academic papers, records
  • Campus Mental Health and Wellness Center - Friends, mentors
  • Other departments as required (e.g., if student is an alumnus, notify the Office of Alumni Relations.) 

Special Attention

  • If at all possible, a member of the SVSU family should attend the funeral services.
  • A sympathy letter will be sent to the parents or guardian/husband/wife from the Office of Student Affairs.


In the event of the death of a student, each of the offices named below will be expected to carry out the following specific responsibilities:

  • University Police 
    If death cannot be verified by normal means of publication in the obituary section of a newspaper, the Chief of University Police will verify death by contacting one or more of the appropriate sources - hospital, state/local police, student's hometown newspaper or the proper county clerk's office. Verification should be reported to the Office of Student Affairs.

  • University Communications 
    Upon approval by the parents/guardians/husband/wife, the Media Relations Officer will notify the local news media and the Director of Alumni Relations (if applicable).

  • President's Office 
    Upon the President's recommendation, the flag will be flown at half-mast upon notification of the death through the day of the funeral or memorial service. The President's Office will handle the details of sending flowers or a memorial.

  • Registrar's Office, Controller's Office and Scholarships & Financial Aid Office 
    Upon confirmation of death, the Registrar will assume responsibility for recording "deceased" in the official records of the student, including the University's computer information system from which the Registrar will also delete the student's current and permanent mailing addresses. If the deceased was a new applicant, the Registrar will advise the Office of Admissions of the death. If the deceased was a student athlete, the Registrar will notify the Athletic Director (AD). The AD will notify the coach, who will inform the team members.

    We do not want the deceased's family to be indebted to the University. To this end, the Registrar will consult with the Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid and the Controller to determine the best alternative - (1) cancel the registration and waive the tuition of the deceased, or (2) withdraw the deceased from classes as of the date of death.

    Upon notification, the Controller's Office will withhold future activity with the account. If the death occurs at billing time or during the summer, special care must be taken not to send bills to the parents/guardians or to the student's home address. All charges will be computed (housing, lab fees, tuition, scholarships, loans, grants, student employment, etc.) and refunded to the extent any charges have not been expended. If a refund is due the student, the check will be sent to the Office of Student Affairs for forwarding. W-2 forms must be forwarded to the parents or guardians/husband/wife when they are available.

    The Controller will notify the Office of Student Affairs if the student was a student employee. If the student was a student employee, the Student Employment Coordinator will notify the employing department of the death.

    The Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid will advise the Office of Student Affairs of any loan programs to which the deceased was indebted so parents or guardians/husband/wife can be informed.

  • Housing 
    If the deceased was living in a University housing unit, the Director of Housing and Residential Life will notify the Residential Life staff member who will advise the student's apartment mates/roommates of the funeral arrangements and take an immediate written inventory of the deceased student's belongings. Special instructions must be given the apartment mates/roommates not to make judgments about disposing of anything belonging to the deceased. Parents/Guardians normally want everything that belonged to their child - letters, magazines, even things that might be construed to be embarrassing in nature.

    The Director of Residential Life will also make arrangements for the parents/guardians to pack and/or pick up the belongings when the time is right. Some parents/guardians wish to personally pack their child's belongings while others may wish to have the apartment mates/roommates do it. If the parents/guardians request SVSU or others to do the packing, a member of the University staff must be present (University Police or Residential Life staff member) and the inventory checked as packing proceeds. Boxes should be labeled.

  • Student Life Center 
    The Student Life Center will notify all campus clubs and organizations in which the deceased was a member. The Student Life Center should coordinate with these clubs and organizations to send out sympathy cards.

  • Academic Departments 
    The Office of Student Affairs will notify the deceased's Dean or department chairperson and request that the student's tests, assignments, lab reports or project reports be sent to the Office of Student Affairs. (Many times, the family likes to have these items.) Some instructors may also wish to send a sympathy card. Instructors should notify classmates and lab partners.

  • Campus Mental Health and Wellness Center 
    The Director will coordinate with the Director of Residential Life and any other applicable member of the Residential Life staff to contact roommates and friends of the death. All parties should offer grief counseling, explaining the grief process so that they are better able to handle unexpected feelings.

  • International Programs 
    If the deceased is an international student, the Office of Student Affairs will notify the Office of International and Advanced Programs. The office will work with the Office of the General Counsel to contact the embassy involved and notify the family. The Office will work to identify a third party who speaks the language of the deceased when the family is notified, in the case that the family does not speak English.

The Office of Student Affairs will advise the following Offices of the death and any special circumstances, such as funeral arrangements, gifts, etc.

Offices to Contact:
 - President
 - Provost
 - Executive Vice President for Administration & Business Affairs
 - Registrar
 - Controller
 - Campus Financial Services
 - Scholarships & Financial Aid
 - University Police & Parking Services
 - University Communications
 - Web Communications
 - Campus Mental Health and Wellness Center
 - Housing
 - Residential Life
 - Student Life
 - Dean of Students

Other Offices to Contact (Upon Applicability):
 - Information Technology
 - Alumni Relations
 - Foundation
 - Athletics
 - Campus Recreation
 - Military Student Affairs 
 - Multicultural Student Affairs

Dean of College of Student's Major:
 - College of Health & Human Services
 - College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences
 - College of Science, Engineering, & Technology
 - College of Business
 - College of Education