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Guidelines for Responding to a Student Death


									                            Guidelines for Responding to a Death of a Current Student
                                        Sudden Incapacitation of a Student

Unfortunately, from time to time, students become victims of an accident or illness.

The university has a responsibility to respond to these events in a coordinated, timely and caring fashion.
In order for that to occur in a consistent manner, clear procedures need to be developed to ensure that both
human and business needs are met.

Ultimately, one person needs to bear the responsibility of lead coordinator. Further, each department
usually involved when a student dies should have a recognized contact person who will work with the
lead coordinator when necessary. The lead coordinator will be the Executive Director of Student Affairs.

Depending on whether the student is full-time and is “active” on campus or a student that has little contact
with the larger university community (i.e. AQ student off-campus), the departments involved may be
fewer than listed.

The following procedures are primarily for a full-time student death occurring during the academic year.

Departments usually involved:
                 Department                                       Appendix               Contact
1. Office of the President                                                   Susan Robineau
                                                                             Christine Jenkins
2. Office of Vice President Academic and                                     Pierrette Toivanen
3. Office of Vice President Administration                                   Peggy Cook
   and Finance
4. Office of the Registrar                                    B              Jane Hughes
5. Student Affairs                                                           Al Carfagnini –Lead Contact
   Residence                                                  A              Shelley Rolland
   Counselling and Disabilities                               C              Dan Pletzer
   Athletics                                                                 Vito Castiglione
   Financial Aid                                                             Ken McLellan
   International Office                                                      Karen Strang
   Academic Services                                                         Matt Campbell
6. Library                                                                   Brian Nettlefold
7. Human Resources                                                           Jo-Ann Lathem
8. Finance                                                    D              Jamie Graham
9. NUSU                                                                      President of NUSU
10. Health Services                                                          Tracy Westerlund
11. Faculty of Arts & Science                                                Lynn Armitage
12. UTS                                                                      Bill Ross
13. Advancement/Public Relations                                             Lisa Drinkwalter
14. Security Services                                                        Rick Guy
15. Muskoka Campus                                                           Jan Lucy

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Duties of the lead coordinator would include:
   1. Keeping a list of each department contact person
   2. Keep himself/herself informed of the basic procedures and protocols to be followed in each
   3. Call a meeting at least once a year with the department contacts to review procedures and make
       necessary changes.

Upon confirmation of a death:
The lead coordinator will:
   1) Inform all department contact members via email
   2) Call a meeting of the appropriate department contacts within the university to deal with the death.
       Note: It may be appropriate that another of the department contacts be assigned the “lead”
       coordinator role depending on the situation (i.e. death in residence)
   3) Maintain notes, assign tasks, ensure all the steps are taken
   4) Notify President‟s office
   5) Ensure that appropriate message is sent from university to family
   6) Maintain file of final report
   7) Ensure that the information is updated in the Student Information System

The department coordinator will:
   1) Ensure that his/her department has up to date procedures in place (note: specific responsibilities
       of each department will be added as addenda when department coordinators are appointed and
   2) Ensure that the lead coordinator has up to date department procedures and knows who the
       department contact is
   3) Attend meetings called by the lead coordinator
   4) Ensure that his/her department always has a contact
   5) Immediately contact the lead coordinator when they have confirmation of a student death
   6) Report the completion of the specific department duties to the lead coordinator

Al Carfagnini
Revised August 29, 2006

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                                                                      Appendix A (Draft January 19, 2006)

                                           STUDENT DEATH IN RESIDENCE

Campus Security is not equipped to handle investigations involving a death and as such, will contact the
North Bay City Police who then handle the investigation. An area should be established as a meeting area
(for example a Residence Don‟s suite, meeting room), where investigators can privately interview
witnesses and take statements.

Immediate Action:

Next of kin
The North Bay City police will notify the family or next of kin of the apparent death as they are usually
better equipped to field the questions that the family or next of kin may have.

“Suspicious” Death
If the death is of a “suspicious nature (i.e., sudden or unexplained death of a young person), the Forensic
Identification Unit and Coroner will attend the scene and conduct their investigation. They will remove
the body and advise as to whether an autopsy will be taking place, seal off the area/room and take
possession of the room keys.

Accidental Death
In the case of an accidental death, parents may wish to speak with others present at the time of death.
Assist with making these contacts by assigning a staff member to coordinate interaction and to be present
to balance family needs and students‟ emotional needs.

Crowd Control
Make sure you have strong crowd control methods in place when the police/coroner are removing the
body as this can be an extremely upsetting sight for many residents. If the police wish to use the crime
scene yellow tape to seal the area, request that the locks be changed instead in consideration of others who
live in the area.


Inform senior administration – Director of Residence & Conference Services, Executive Director of
Student Affairs and Vice President, Finance and Administration.
Once the immediate situation has been dealt with, the Director of Residence & Conference Services and
Residence Manager should notify other Residence Managers and the appointed head coordinator as
outlined in the Guidelines for Student Death. A debriefing should be done with them followed by a
debriefing with the residence staff, notifying them of the death, and working with them, and the
appropriate members outlined in the Guidelines for Student Death, to plan the community response.

Depending on the type of traumatic situation, a method of conveying the information to residents and the
university community should be decided upon by the team.

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Hold a Meeting
Have the Director of Residence, Residence Manager and Residence Don meet with the roommates,
significant other, or close friends to explain that a death has occurred. Follow up with meetings with the
residence floor/house section community, residents‟ council and floor/house section representatives.

Decide on a communications method.
How you deliver this information will depend on a number of factors- the appointed member from the
communications team will have some suggestions on which methods would be most effective depending
on the situation.

Consider the needs of the roommates
If there are roommates involved, arrangements may have to be made for these persons to be assigned to
another suite/house for the remainder of the school term/year. The residence Manager can make the
arrangements for this and the residence staff member should be assigned to the roommates while the
immediate situation is occurring.

Arrange for counseling
The Director of Residence & Conference Services contacts the Executive Director of Student Affairs and
the Manager of Counselling and Disability Services to arrange for grief counselors to come into the
residences. They could attend floor meetings or section meetings of the areas directly affected. Assign
quiet areas if individuals need to talk privately or in small groups. Arrangements should also be made for
priority appointments at Student Counselling. The information needs to be communicated (floor
posters/house mailboxes) to the affected areas/individuals. Upon arrival, the grief counselors should be
briefed of the circumstances, floor/section meetings should be arranged, private areas should be set up and
offers of assistance by the Residence area should be extended.

Make resource information available to all residents, especially if it will assist the individuals in
understanding the trauma (e.g. suicide, death by illness, and how to deal with the grief and/or stress from
the trauma) and where to go if they need additional assistance. Helpful guidelines on funeral service
etiquette are also available on the Internet, including what to say/not to say.

Arrange for the Director of Residences to meet with family/next of kin
Within a few hours, the Director of Residences will follow up with the family or next of kin, offer
condolences, answer any additional questions, offer to accommodate them, make necessary off-campus
hotel arrangements, and set up a time to meet with them.

Arrange a memorial service
Discuss with the family the desire to conduct a memorial service for the residents and campus community
to remember the deceased student. Generally, the memorial service should not be more than two weeks
following the death. Ask if there are any particular religious observances; if not, offer a multi-faith

With the family‟s permission, make arrangements for interested students to attend the funeral (which may
include chartering a bus). Also, with the family‟s permission, make arrangements for close friends,
floor/section mates, residence staff and residents‟ council members to participate in planning the service,
the Residence overseeing the process. Advertise the memorial service in the residences and to the
university community (campus monitors, the website,) providing details of the date, time and place of the

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funeral. For the memorial service, prepare a guest book along with a program outline for distribution at
the service.

Purchase a journal
Have a journal available for close friends and floor/section mates to reflect their care and concern, and to
record their recollections and remembrances of the deceased resident. This can be completed in the days
following the death, and can be presented to family/guardians at the memorial service. Photographs or
other keepsake items can also be included.

Offer to pack up the belongings of the deceased resident (Role of Residence Manager)
Offer to pack up the belongings of the deceased resident for the family/guardians. Use cardboard boxes
that are easy to identify, label the boxes generically (e.g., clothes, books, personal effects). Find out when
the family wishes to pick them up. Remove them to a safe storage at a time when it is not visible to the
floor/section community. If applicable, the suite/housemates need to be advised, and may need to be
present if there is uncertainty as to whom certain items belong. Make arrangements to meet the family the
day they come to pick the belongings up and provide them with privacy.

Notify Residence Admissions and ensure a full refund of residence fees
Notify Residence Admissions that the room will remain vacant until further notice is provided.
Depending on when the death occurs within the school year, the room may remain vacant for the
remainder of the school year. The refund and a description of the balance should be sent and may include
a letter from the Director of Residence & Conference Services and/or the Registrar with condolences.
This will be determined by the team assigned to deal with the death.

Reinforce the safety of the surroundings
Depending on the circumstances of the traumatic event, some may feel the safety of the complex has been
compromised. A pro-active response towards personal/community safety will have to be organized in
order to rebuild trust and ease anxiety.

Provide ongoing support to the staff and response team
Follow up with the staff and response team. All active participants should have a chance to de-brief as
handling death is upsetting and stressful to all involved. Continue this effort at staff and team meetings.
Encouragement and support from senior management is appreciated at this difficult time.

Mark the anniversary of the death
Be prepared to mark the anniversary of this traumatic event, as it can be extremely helpful and comforting
to the survivors, and provides an added element of closure.

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                                                                                                  Appendix B

                                                   REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

Deceased Status

This status is to be changed by the Secretary to the Registrar after official notification of death (death
certificate, obituary).


    1.  Go to BIO mnemonic.
    2.  Enter the person‟s name or ID.
    3.  Enter the date of the person‟s death in “Deceased Date” field.
    4.  F10 to save. This automatically will change the “Status” field to Deceased and will change the
        Address to “Former”.
    5. Go to NAE, Former Name field and put (DECEASED) (in caps and brackets) after the former
        name so that it will appear when we run reports, etc. Note: and “=” will have to be entered at the
        beginning of the line for all caps to appear.
    6. Delete all e-mail accounts (Control-D).
    7. Go to XRGN to see if the student was registered in any classes. If they were, remove the student
        from the individual courses using the current date.
    8. If the student was registered in courses, notify the faculty member(s).
    9. Go to STAC and detail into the course the student was registered in. From the SACD screen,
        under the “Reason” field, change to “Deceased”.
    10. Send Jamie Graham and Al Carfagnini an e-mail with the student‟s name and id number and the
        student‟s date of death.

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                                         1. Go to BIO

                                                                  2. Enter person’s
                                                                  name, ID or other

                                                                                      3. Enter date of
                                                                                      person’s death
                                                                                      and F10 (save)

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                                                                                                    Appendix C

                                                 COUNSELLING SERVICES

General Guidelines and Procedures related to a Student Death

    1.        The Manager of Counselling and Disability Services will be the contact person who works
              with the lead co-ordinator involved in the death of a student.
    2.        In the event that the Manager is not immediately available, a designated contact person may be
              assigned by the Manager or the Executive Director of Student Affairs.
    3.        The Counselling Services contact person is responsible for assessing the counselling needs of
              all parties involved, and for recommending appropriate counselling support.
    4.        Counselling, Disability and Academic Skills Program (including Peer Tutoring) student
              records will be searched to determine if the deceased student has ever registered with any of
              these programs, and if so, a note will be inserted in their hard copy file and flagged
              electronically that the student is “DECEASED”. Any Counselling and Disability Services
              staff person who was assigned to work with the student will be notified by the contact person.
    5.        Counselling staff members will be alerted and briefed as soon as possible regarding the
              incident by the contact person.
    6.        Arrangements will be made for counselling staff to be immediately available in order to
              respond to the counselling needs of students arising from the incident. (i.e. appointment
              schedules will be cleared, scheduled absences from work may be modified, if necessary)
    7.        If the nature of the counselling support needed exceeds the capacity of the University‟s
              counselling services resources, the contact person will arrange for outside service providers for
              assistance. The university‟s EAP program may be contracted by Counselling services for this
    8.        All students (including roommates and residence dons, if applicable) will be advised that
              counsellors are available for individual or group crisis intervention and grief counselling
    9.        Counsellors may be requested to be available for any memorial functions arranged by the
    10.       Recognizing that the grieving process does not have any pre-determined timelines, counselling
              services will respond to all requests for counselling support related a student death as a priority
              request for services.
    11.       Counsellors may be requested to provide short-term assistance to individuals who are affected
              by the event but are not students (e.g. staff, next of kin) in order to help them find suitable
              supports as needed.

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                                                                                                  Appendix D

                                                      FINANCE OFFICE

Finance Office:

Guidelines in the event of Death or Incapacitation of a current student

The Director of Finance is the contact person for the Finance Office who works with the lead coordinator
involved with the death or incapacitation of a student.

In the event that the Director is not available, the Manager of Purchasing and Ancillary Services or
another person in the Finance Office may be designated as the Finance Office contact person.

Upon notification of the death or incapacitation of a current student the following steps will be taken by
the Finance Office Contact person:

    1.        Ensure all staff in the department is aware of the situation and how the University is

    2.        All applicable fees for the current semester/academic year that is in progress are to be
              reversed. These may include portions of tuition, incidental and residence fees. The reason
              code for the fee reversal should be „Death of a Student‟ or „Medical withdrawal‟ as
              appropriate. The fee reversal and the components for reimbursement are to be approved by the
              Director of Finance.

    3.        Prepare a Tuition and Education Deduction form (T2202a) for any prior year as applicable.

    4.        Prepare a T4A form for any scholarship income that may have been received by the student.

    5.        Coordinate the forwarding of refund, T2202a and T4A with other departments to the address
              specified by the family.

    6.        Print a copy of this appendix to serve as a checklist for the steps performed and by whom to be
              forwarded the Director of Finance then placed on the student‟s file.

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