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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:
Print Policy


When any University office is informed of the death of a student, they are to notify the Office of Student Affairs who will coordinate procedures to be taken and contact 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
  • Residential Life - Personal belongings, roommates
  • Student Life Center - Student organizations
  • Academic Department - Academic papers, records
  • Student Counseling 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 from the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Care must be taken when checking sensitive information in cases of divorced or deceased parents.

In the event of the death of a student, each of the above named offices 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.

  • Parking Services 
    Once verification of a student's death is made, Parking Services shall void any and all parking and moving citations against said student, including those which may be held at the 70th District Court.

  • University Communications 
    The Media Relations Officer will notify the local news media, the Director of Alumni Relations and the editor of The Valley Vanguard. Student publications will announce the death in their next editions.

  • President's Office 
    With the President's permission, 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. He 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 or to the student's home address. All charges will be computed (housing, lab fees, tuition, scholarships, loans, grants, student employment, etc.). Housing deposits or any other monies received from the deceased must be refunded in full. 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/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/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. The inventory is especially necessary for computers, telephones, televisions, video cassette recorders, ski equipment or other valuables. Special instructions must be given the apartment mates/roommates not to make judgments about disposing of anything belonging to the deceased. Parents 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 to pack and/or pick up the belongings when the time is right. Some parents wish to personally pack their child's belongings while others may wish to have the apartment mates/roommates do it. If the parents 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.

    The Director of Residential Life will assume responsibility for returning SVSU library books to the Library, the cancellation of fines for overdue books, and the return of textbooks to the Bookstore for a refund. She/He will also provide names and addresses of roommates and friends so the family can correspond with them.

  • Student Life Center 
    The Student Life Center will notify all campus clubs and organizations in which the deceased was a member. Sympathy cards should be sent.

  • 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.

  • Student Counseling Center 
    The Director will contact roommates and friends to offer grief counseling, explaining the grief process so that they are better able to handle unexpected feelings. If the deceased had a mentor, the Director will also notify that person.

  • International Programs 
    If the deceased is an international student, the Office of Student Affairs will notify the Office of International Programs. This office will contact the embassy involved and notify the family. Another student who speaks the language of the deceased must be present when the family is notified in case they do not speak English.