Appendix B: Responding to a Graduate Student Death Procedure: BAS-0004

Effective Date: January 04, 2018

Last Revision Date: January 04, 2018


Responding to a Graduate Student Death

(Procedure BAS-0004 grad)

I. Procedure Description

The following administrative procedures guide the institutional response to the death of a graduate student (including graduate students who are also an academic appointee), with the goal of providing a caring and cohesive response for the family, friends, and the community. These procedures are intended to streamline the handling of required administrative actions while minimizing the burden on grieving parties; facilitate crisis support as needed, and assist the community in returning to normalcy.

II. Procedure Details

A. Coordination

If a death occurs on campus, the UC Police Department (UCPD) is in charge of the investigation and scene through the conclusion of the investigation. UCPD investigates the cause of death and confirms the identity of the individual through the coroner’s office. UCPD liaises with other law enforcement agencies and the coroner’s office, as appropriate, to arrange notification to the family of the deceased. No campus representative shall communicate with the bereaved parties of the deceased without confirmation from UCPD and/or other investigating law enforcement agency that the coroner or appropriate agency has made required notifications. If the cause of death may be due to a criminal act, all communication with bereaved parties shall take place only after consultation with UCPD.

In some cases, the family may be the first to notify the university a death has occurred. Under these circumstances, the procedures detailed in section II. C. Procedure for a Death Which Occurs Off Campus, shall serve as a guide.

B. Procedure for a Death Which Occurs On Campus or at a UCSC Owned or Leased Facility

  1. The first person to the scene is responsible for informing the UCPD. Dial 911 from any campus phone, cell phone, or Blue Light phone.
  2. A University Official should direct against anyone entering or leaving the area or touching the victim or any property until the UCPD arrive. If someone enters or leaves the scene before UCPD arrives, this must be reported to the UCPD upon their arrival.
  3. UCPD shall promptly notify the Associate Vice Chancellor, Risk and Safety Services (AVC RSS) that a death has occurred. As soon as practicable, the identity shall be provided to AVC RSS. In the absence of AVC RSS, UCPD shall notify the Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services (VC BAS). Details about the nature of the death will be shared based on the nature of the incident, investigation (if applicable) and will be managed within all federal, state and local policies as applicable to law enforcement.
  4. The AVC RSS will notify the VC BAS who will make notification to the Emergency Management Policy Group members.
  5. The AVC RSS will notify the Executive Director, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) who will, when appropriate, coordinate notifications to OSHA within the required window for reporting (8 hours).
  6. The AVC RSS will notify the Associate Vice Chancellor, Colleges, Housing and Education Services (AVC CHES) if the graduate student resided on campus.
  7. The AVC RSS will notify the Student Incident Coordinator, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Dean of Student’s office.
  8. The Student Incident Coordinator shall:
    a) review section III.B Communications, of the UC Santa Cruz policy on Responding to a Death;
    b) coordinate communication with UCPD or the investigating law enforcement agency - NO CONTACT IS TO BE ISSUED WITHOUT COORDINATION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT;
    c) gather profile information from Academic Information System (AIS) including address, program affiliation, and emergency contact information;
    d) contact the Director of Housing Services to coordinate matters of residential occupancy and inventory of personal belongings if the graduate student held residence on campus;
    e) verify that emergency contacts have been notified;
    f) act as the primary point of contact for the family of the deceased (see section II.D. Communication Plan (Public Communications);
    g) work with CAPS for crisis and grief support services to aid in the community’s return to normalcy;
    h) distribute the completed Death of a Graduate Student Incident Coordinator Worksheet (see Sub Appendix A) to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Registrar (see section II.E. Procedure for Registrar: Official Notice of Deceased Graduate Student Letter (Internal Communications);
    i) work with the Divisional Dean to provide a written community announcement to News and Media Relations (see section II.D. Communication Plan (Public Communications).

C. Procedures for a Death Which Occurs Off Campus (Not at an owned or leased University facility)

University officials receiving information about an off-campus death should notify the Student Incident Coordinator who will initiate the university’s response according to section II., B., 8. a-i, within this procedure.

D. Communication Plan (Public Communications)

The Student Incident Coordinator shall coordinate all communication with the family or emergency contact with UCPD and/or the investigating law enforcement agency. Once official notification to the family from the police or coroner’s office has been made, the Student Incident Coordinator shall be the point of contact for the family of the deceased and community members. The Student Incident Coordinator and the Divisional Dean, working with relevant offices or individuals (e.g., current instructors), shall draft and disseminate a community announcement targeting graduate student’s department and appropriate affiliations. To the extent possible, the dissemination of the community announcement should be timed in coordination with the Internal Communication from the Registrar. The Student Incident Coordinator shall forward the announcement to News and Media Relations for review and placement in the In Memoriam section of the campus news website.

E. Procedure for Registrar: Official Notice of Deceased Graduate Student Letter (Internal Communications)

  1. For currently enrolled graduate students, the Office of the Registrar provides the office Notice of Deceased Student Letter (see Sub Appendix B) to: 
    • Accounting/Payroll
    • Alumni Office
    • Chancellor’s Office
    • Information Technology Services
    • McHenry/Science Library Circulation Desks
    • News and Media Relations
    • Office of International Education
    • Student Business Services
    • Student Housing Services (if resided on campus)
    • Student Services unit managers
    • Transportation & Parking Services
    • UCPD
    • The following are copied on the notice:
      • All College Administrative Officer list (CAOs@ucsc.edu)
      • Chair, academic department 
      • Current Instructors
      • Council of Provosts list
      • Assistant Vice Provost of Global Engagement (if appropriate)
      • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
      • Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Service

         2. For alumni or graduate students no longer enrolled at UCSC, the Office of the Registrar provides the official Notice of a Deceased Student Letter to:

  • Alumni Office
  • Chancellor’s Office
  • News and Media Relations
  • Student Business Services
  • The following are copied on the notice:
    • Chair, academic department
    • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
    • Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

      3. Academic Records Disclosure Procedure:

The Office of the Registrar initiates procedures that close the graduate student’s academic records. As a matter of institutional policy, the following procedures are followed regarding the disclosure of a deceased individual’s graduate student record information to survivors or other third parties.
UC Santa Cruz follows FERPA guidelines for deceased students, and only directory information (as defined in the University of California, Policies Applying to Campus Activities, organizations and Students (PACAOS 130.121) may be released to third parties. Relevant offices will determine, what, if any, information should be released balancing privacy interests of the deceased's family and university values and obligations. Disclosure of non-directory information to survivors or other third parties require documents certifying a power of attorney or executor/executrix authorization. Either the parents or next of kin, with proper documentation, are considered the owner(s) of the graduate student record. (a) Unless authorized by the executor/executrix, parent, or next of kin the university does not permit release of the deceased student’s education record information. (b) The Registrar’s office adheres to the following system procedures:
Information in the graduate student’s record is updated, such as: deceased (DEC) indicators are added to flag the record and prevent additional billing, current addresses are changed to: c/o Office of the Registrar to prevent inadvertent or additional mailings, and enrollment and matriculation will be updated to reflect the reason for the closure of the academic record.

F. Student Presumed Deceased

In some circumstances, a student may be believed to be deceased, but no official confirmation has been made by a coroner. In these circumstances, Campus Counsel must advise on all actions, including communications, to determine the best course of action depending on the individual circumstances. The Registrar's office adheres to the following system procedures:
Information in the graduate student’s record is updated, such as: emergency hold (EME) indicators are added to flag the record and prevent additional billing, current addresses are changed to: c/o Office of the Registrar to prevent inadvertent or additional mailings. The Office of the Registrar will consult with the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Campus Counsel regarding the missing student’s withdrawal from the university and possible refunding of fees.

The official Notice of Student Withdrawal letter is sent to:
  • Accounting/Payroll
  • Alumni Office
  • Chancellor’s Office
  • Information Technology Services
  • McHenry/Science Library Circulation Desks
  • News and Media Relations
  • Office of International Education
  • Student Business Services
  • Student Housing Services (if resided on campus)
  • Student Services unit managers
  • Transportation & Parking Services
  • UCPD
  • The following are copied on the notice:
    • Chair, academic department
    • Current Instructors
    • Assistant Vice Provost of Global Engagement (if appropriate)
    • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
    • Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

III. Supporting Office and Actions

Campus Counsel: Advises the Student Incident Manager on legal issues and is available to the Administrative Leadership Team for specific questions.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): Responsible for coordinating follow-up meetings and individual and group support needed in the college community or off-campus households. Provides assistance to the family, friends, roommates, and staff. Serves as liaison to community team that handles night and weekend crisis support.
Emergency Management Policy Group: Sets policies in major emergency situations or other situations that have the possibility of affecting campus operations. Members of the group are the Chancellor, CP/EVC, VC BAS (chair), chief of police, Emergency Manager, Director of News and Media Relations, or their designates and other special advisors as needed.
Financial Aid and Scholarships Office: Cancels remaining financial aid loans/grants, notifies banks in the case of guaranteed loans, and works with the Student Business Service to close student accounts.
Information Technology Services (ITS): Suspends the student’s CruzID account, other authorized accounts, and removes student name from online directories.
Library Circulation Desk (McHenry and Science Libraries): Checks for outstanding books and sends information to the Student Incident Coordinator.
Payroll/Accounting Services: If the student was an employee, releases remaining payroll to the executor/executrix or next of kin.
News and Media Relations: Reviews campus community announcement, places an announcement in the In Memoriam section of the campus news site, and responds to inquiries including media relations and other organizations.
Office of International Education: Assists with notification to the family (language and cultural differences to consider) and to home university if exchange or visitor, works with the family if they are coming to the US from an international destination, works with the local embassy or consulate to make arrangements for repatriation of remains, reports the death to U.S. Department of State, provides support and coordinates counseling to the international community on campus with CAPS, and helps the family settle the affairs.
Registrar: Coordinates the release of information to other campus offices and the student's instructors by issuing the official Notice of Deceased Student Letter and initiates all adjustments to student fees, refunds, etc. The Office of the Registrar immediately becomes the new address for the student. This helps avoid needlessly burdening the family with stray university bills, routine administrative announcements, solicitations, etc.
Student Business Services: Holds student billing, reviews debts and coordinates the cancellation of debt/return of credits with appropriate departments (e.g. Financial Aid, Library, Housing, Health Services, etc.)
Student Health Services: Pulls medical records and archives them. Determines if the student was covered by the USHIP or GSHIP and also checks eligibility for an accidental death or repatriation benefit. Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS): Issues refund to the estate upon return of parking permit.
Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS): Issues refund to the estate upon return of parking permit.
University Official: The staff member with the most seniority at the immediate scene who will control the area until the UCPD arrive.
University Police Department: Conducts investigations and liaises with other law enforcement agencies and the coroner’s office.

IV. Getting Help

If you need help with ... Contact ...
…questions about this procedure the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, Lori Kletzer, lkletzer@ucsc.edu; (831) 459-5079; https://graddiv.ucsc.edu
…questions regarding media relations

the Director of News and Media Relations, Scott Hernandez-Jason, shj@ucsc.edu; (831) 459-4347; https://urelations.ucsc.edu

…questions regarding student academic records the Registrar, Tchad Sanger, registrar@ucsc.edu; (831) 459-4412; http://registrar.ucsc.edu
…crisis counseling and support services Counseling and Psychological Crisis Services, (831) 459-2628;
https://caps.ucsc.edu
…questions about academic-related issues and/or awarding of posthumous degrees or awards Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, Lori Kletzer,
lkletzer@ucsc.edu, (831) 459-5079, https://graddiv.ucsc.edu

V. Applicability and Authority

This policy applies to all graduate students of UC Santa Cruz.

This policy supersedes Responding To A Student Death, dated January 2005.

The campus Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies is the campus authority for the implementation of the Responding to a Graduate Student Death Procedures. These procedures were reviewed and approved by the Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor, Tromp on January 04, 2018. These procedures will be reviewed every five years.

VI. References

Related Forms

Sub Appendix A: Death of a Graduate Student Incident Coordinator Worksheet (PDF)

Sub Appendix B: Sample Notice of Deceased Student Letter (PDF)

Sub Appendix C: Sample In Memoriam (PDF)

Related Policies

BAS-004: Responding to Death Policy, dated January 04, 2018

Outdoor Commemorative Installations (tba)

U.S. Flag Code

Related Information

Memorial Endowments

Memorial Gifts

 


UC Santa Cruz Procedures

Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies

Lori Kletzer, lkletzer@ucsc.edu, (831) 459-5079