Appendix D: Responding to a Staff Member Death Procedure: BAS-0004

Effective Date: January 04, 2018

Last Revision Date: January 04, 2018

Responding to a Staff Member Death

(Procedure BAS-0004 Staff)

I. Procedure Description

The following administrative procedure guide the institutional response to the death of a staff member 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.

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, Finance, Operations and Administration (VC FOA). 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 VC BAS (or designee) shall notify the employee’s home department/unit head who shall serve as Staff Incident Coordinator.
  7. The Staff Incident Coordinator shall:
(a) contact the Employee and Labor Relations Analyst, Staff Human Resources for guidance;
(b) review Section III.B Communications, of the UC Santa Cruz policy on Responding to a Death;
(c) coordinate communication with UCPD or the investigating law enforcement agency - NO CONTACT IS TO BE ISSUED WITHOUT COORDINATION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT;
(d) notify the Assistant Director Workman’s Compensation, Risk Services;
(e) verify that emergency contacts have been notified;
(f) act as the primary point of contact for the family of the deceased (i.e., personal belongings, flowers, monetary contribution, etc.) deceased (see section II.D. Communication Plan (Public Communications); (g) distribute the completed Death of a Staff Member Incident Coordinator Worksheet (see Sub Appendix A);
(h) draft internal and external announcements (see sections II.D. Communication Plan and II.E. Procedure for Official Notice Deceased Staff;
(i) follow the Supervisors Checklist for Off-Boarding Employees (shr-1965)

C. Procedure 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 VC BAS who will initiate the University’s response. (Return to section II.B. 6. – 7. within this procedure for a continuation of the process)                                                             

D. Communication Plan (Public Communications) 

The Staff 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 Staff Incident Coordinator shall be the point of contact for the family of the deceased and community members. The coordinator shall draft and disseminate a community announcement targeting the staff member’s department and colleagues. The 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 Staff Incident Coordinator: Official Notice Deceased Staff Letter (Internal Communications)

The Staff Incident Coordinator provides the official Notice of Deceased Staff Letter (see Sub Appendix B) to:

  • Alumni Office (if applicable)
  • Benefits Office
  • Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
  • Chancellor’s Office
  • Employee Housing Program (if applicable)
  • Information Technology Services, Accounts
  • Library Circulation Desk (McHenry and Science)
  • Risk Services
  • News and Media Relations
  • Payroll/Accounting Services
  • Staff Human Resources, Records Management
  • Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS)
  • UC Police Department

F. Records Disclosure

UC Santa Cruz follows the related laws for deceased affiliates. Relevant offices will determine, what, if any, information should be released balancing privacy interests of the deceased's family and university values and obligations.

III. Supporting Offices and Actions

Benefits Office: Notifies UC Office of the President’s Retirement Administrative Service Center (known as RASC) and provides executor/executrix with RASC contact information for the calculation and distribution of any survivor benefits can be initiated. The campus Benefits Office also submits life insurance claims on in cooperation with the member’s named beneficiaries.
Campus Counsel: Advises the campus on legal issues and is available to the Emergency Management Policy Group for specific questions.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Behavioral health benefits such as counseling, grief support, and other wellness programs.
Information Technology Services (ITS): Suspends the CruzID account and removes name from online directories.
Library Circulation Desk (McHenry and Science Libraries): Checks for outstanding books and sends information to the Staff Incident Coordinator.
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 from other organizations.
Payroll/Accounting Services: Releases remaining payroll to the executor/executrix or next of kin.
Privacy and Information Practices: Administers the campus's response to requests for public and subpoenaed University records.
Risk Management: Coordinates Worker’s Compensation claims.
Staff Human Resources: Coordinates with unit to facilitate the release of remaining payroll and provides organizational guidance.
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

Staff Compensation, Operations, CruzPay and Policy Manager, Shelby Young,; (831) 459-2223;

questions regarding media relations

the Director of News and Media Relations, Scott Hernandez-Jason,; 459-4347;

crisis counseling and support services

Employee Assistance Program (EAP), UC Access Code 11280, 1-888-440-8225

V. Applicability and Authority

These procedures apply to all staff members of UCSC. 

This policy supersedes the Policy and Procedure For Responding to a Staff or Faculty Death, dated May 1998.

The Vice Chancellor for BAS is the campus authority for the Responding to a Staff Death Procedure, with implementation authority delegated to the Associate Vice Chancellor Staff Human Resources, including granting exceptions.  These procedures were reviewed and approved by Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor, Tromp on January 04, 2018.  These procedures will be reviewed every five years.

V. References

Related Forms

Sub Appendix A: Death of a Staff Member Incident Coordinator Worksheet

Sub Appendix B: Sample Notice of Deceased Staff Member Letter

Sub Appendix C: Sample In Memoriam

Supervisor Checklist for Off-Boarding Employees

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


UCSC Procedure
Vice Chancellor ,Finance, Operations and Administration      Biju Kamaleswaran, 831-888-7703,