Student Handbook

Policy - Student Death Protocol

Updated Fall 2020


The following procedure is to be utilized in the event of the death of a currently enrolled UW-Whitewater student. Anyone who becomes aware of the death of a student should contact the Dean of Students Office (Anderson Library 2130, 262- 472-1533) as soon as possible. In all student deaths, the Dean of Students Office will assume responsibility for the following tasks:

Immediate Steps

1. The death should be verified via county coroner, police agency, funeral home, newspaper obituary or family member.

2. The enrollment status of the deceased student will be verified and a check will be made to identify other students with the same or similar names. If students of the same name are enrolled, they will be contacted and informed of the death.

3. Dean of Students Office staff will gather as much data as possible regarding cause of death, time of death, memorial arrangements, student involvement on campus, etc.

4. If necessary, the Dean of Students will make notification of death as appropriate to family members and roommates. It is preferred that University Police notify families.

5. The Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and the Director of Marketing and Media Relations will be notified immediately of the student death and provided with as much information as is available. a. Chancellor Watson would also like to have the student’s home address/s so he can personally send a card to the family. Include the Chancellors Executive Assistant Rori Eilenfeldt in the e-mail.

6. The DOS Office will print student Data out of WINS (home address, emergency contact phone numbers, class listings, professor names, etc.) as this info will be overwritten when the registrar begins to process information.

7. As soon as possible, Dean of Students Office staff will send notification of the student death to the following:

  • Cashier’s Office
  • Help Desk
  • WSG President
  • First Year Experience
  • University Health & Counseling
  • Library
  • University Police
  • Appropriate Academic Dean
  • Visitor & Parking
  • Student Financial Services
  • Registrar
  • Financial Aid
  • Hawk Card Office
  • Room Reservations
  • University Housing
  • Textbook Rental
  • Admissions
  • Career & Leadership
  • Appropriate Dept. Chair
  • Alumni Center
  • Current Faculty
  • Current Campus Employer
  • Academic Advisor
  • Rock County
  • Bursar

8. The Registrar’s Office will change the deceased student’s mailing addresses to that of the Registrar’s Office. Mail will then be forwarded there and office staff can “catch” inappropriate or unnecessary mailings. The name of the deceased student will also be deleted from any newly-generated 3rd party mailing lists.

9. If the deceased student lived in university housing:

  1. All building residents will be notified by university housing staff
  2. The student’s roommate will be notified in person
  3. Information about memorial services will be made available at the hall front desk

10. A Dean of Students Office staff member will contact the family to

  1. Offer condolences
  2. Determine if the family has any immediate needs from the university (e.g. gathering items from residence hall room, notifying other students, etc.)
  3. Gather information about funeral, visitation, and memorial arrangements.
  4. Confirm a permanent address and phone number i. Send the permanent address and phone number to registrar so it can be updated in WINS.

11. University Marketing and Communications will broadcast e-mails to students and to faculty/staff with notification of the death and information about visitation and funeral arrangements. This announcement should go out within 48 hours, whether funeral arrangements are known or not. A sample notification announcement is as follows, and is written by a DOS staff member and submitted to UMC. When submitting to UMC, submit from the DOS email account, otherwise your personal name and email will be published with the announcement.

The University has been notified of the death of a student. John A. Doe, freshman, was killed Friday night in an automobile accident in Monroe County. Memorial services will be held on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 6:00 pm at the Johnson Home in Monroe, with visitation from 4:00 – 6:00 that day. The UW-Whitewater flag will fly at half staff on Thursday in John’s memory. Counseling services are available at University Health and Counseling Services located in the Ambrose Health Center building and appointments may be made by calling 472-1305.

12. A Dean of Students Office staff member will be designated as the campus contact to assist family members who may come to campus. Whenever possible, this should be the same staff member who initially contacted the family.

13. If appropriate, Dean of Students Office staff members will help to coordinate transportation for other students to funerals and memorial services.

14. First Year Experience will check to see if a student falls within the Under our Wing program and reach out to DOS for contact information for the family.

15. When appropriate, counseling or crisis intervention services may be offered to campus groups. The Counseling Center will coordinate these services with the appropriate identified units (student orgs, academic cohorts, student employment, athletics etc.)

16. Dean of Students Office staff will arrange for the UW-Whitewater (purple campus) flag to be flown at half-staff and for the campus photographer to take pictures of the flag. If the student attended the Rock County Campus then arrangements will need to made specifically for that campus. This is typically done on the day of the student’s funeral or services. Digital photos will be made available and sent to the student’s family. a. Campus police and or parking services will lower the campus flag once an announcement is sent out from UMC.

Long Term Contact/Action

1. A Dean of Students Office staff member will maintain contact with parents/family as appropriate. Again, this will be the staff member who has been working with the family since the death.

  1. Verify address that family would like all correspondence sent to in the future.
  2. Registrars will enter that address into WINS if possible.
  3. DOS will send the family a pamphlet from UMC regarding all of their legacy options (memory garden, tree planting etc.)

2. University housing staff will coordinate check-out and removal of belongings from the residence halls. A staff member will be present during this process and will return any university property for the family.

3. The Chancellor will make a condolence call to the student’s family within the first few weeks after the student’s death.

4. In collaboration with the appropriate college, the Registrar’s Office will review the academic records of the deceased student to determine what the appropriate degree awarded may be.

5. If no degree is awarded and the student has attended the university for at least one term, approximately one month after the death, a certificate of attendance at the university is created and presented to the family by the Dean of Students Office. The certificate is placed in a UWW diploma holder. The certificate is typically mailed along with the photos of the campus flag.

6. The awarding of posthumous degrees will be based on the posthumous degree policy.

7. Tuition and fees will be adjusted for the current semester, using the date of death as the action date, or effective date. Financial Aid would then review for aid adjustment. Once these two steps are completed, the Bursar would be notified by Financial Aid for review of other fee adjustments and approval of waivers. The goal is to eliminate any outstanding charges of tuition and fees for the current semester.

8. All University Housing fees will be adjusted for the current semester (or charges removed) regardless of the date of death.

9. All meal plan fees (except for Purple Points already used) will be adjusted for the current semester (or charges removed) regardless of the date of death.

10. An attempt will be made to identify and remove any other charges such as parking tickets. Bursar/Student Accounts will review the deceased students account for any fees remaining and will work with the department to get identified charges removed.

11. The UWW Cashier’s Office will cancel any direct deposit profiles of the student in TouchNet. Refund checks, if appropriate, will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for disposition.

12. All student deaths will result in an automatic review of the deceased student’s records at the University Health & Counseling Service.


Sample Text of the notification email to be sent to various offices

E-mail addresses will always need to be updated/verified prior to being sent out

Sent to:

To: Kiederlen, Matthew E <>; Tumbarello, Terry A <>; UW-W Cashier's Office <>; UW-W First Year Experience <>; UW-W Police Department <>; UW-W Student Accounts <>; UW-W HawkCard <>; UW-W Technology Support Center Helpdesk <>; Freiburger, Jim <>; UW-W Registrar <>; Briggs, Jackie <>; UW-W Alumni Relations <>; UW-W WSG President <>; UW-W Library Services <>; UW-W Financial Aid & Student Employment Office <>; UW-W Career & Leadership Development <>; UW-W University Bookstore <>; Collet-Klingenberg, Lana L <>; Vodra, Libby <>; Kam, Tanya <>; Cook, Vaneesa M <>; Rahr, Huckleberry <>; John, Beth A <>; Hornickel, Marie C <>; Hoesly, Alan R <>; Watson, Elizabeth <>; Bilgen, Jan <> Cc: UW-W Dean of Students <>; Bilodeau, Brent L <>; Wesley, Artanya M <>


RE: Student Death

John Doe

ID# 1234567

We have received word that John Doe was killed in a car accident on Monday morning in Janesville.

Please make sure that the appropriate matters concerning this student are attended to, per university protocol.