Policy on Communicating the Death of a Campus Community Member

Policy Statement

SUNY Oneonta wishes to notify the campus community of the deaths of campus community members. This procedure describes:

  • how to report such a death to the college;
  • how the college verifies such a report; and
  • how the college communicates the death of a campus community member.

Rationale

The death of any campus community member is a loss to the college. Communicating such losses acknowledges the deceased’s contributions and often is the first step in an institutional response to help those who are grieving. 

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to members of the college community.

Policy Elaboration

Reporting

Any person may report to the college the death of a campus community member by contacting the Office of the President. For the purposes of this procedure, the following are campus community members:

  • students enrolled at the college;
  • employees of the college and campus affiliates; and
  • former employees of the college and campus affiliates.

Verification

The Office of the President will attempt to verify the report of a death of a campus community member as soon as is practicable. For the purposes of this procedure, any of the following verify a reported death:

  • an obituary or death notice published by a media outlet or funeral home;
  • notification from a law enforcement agency;
  • report of funeral director or coroner; and
  • death certificate.

Report of a student’s death

The Office of the President will attempt to verify that the deceased was a student at the time of death. Pending such verification:

  • the president or president’s designee will offer condolences on the college’s behalf to the deceased’s immediate family/next of kin;
  • the president or president’s designee will attend the deceased’s public memorial, calling hours or funeral;
  • the Office of the President will notify the campus community of the death; and
  • the Office of Facilities, Planning and Safety will lower the college flag to half-staff for three working days.

Report of an employee’s death

The Office of the President will attempt to verify that the deceased was an employee at the time of death. Pending such verification:

  • the president or president’s designee will offer condolences on the college’s behalf to the deceased’s next of kin;
  • the president or president’s designee will attend the deceased’s public memorial, calling hours or funeral;
  • the Office of the President will notify the campus community of the death; and
  • the Office of Facilities, Planning and Safety will lower the college flag to half-staff for three working days.

Report of a former employee’s death

The Office of the President will attempt to verify that the deceased was a former employee at the time of death. Pending such verification and if 30 or fewer days have passed between the date of death and the report of the death to the college, then:

  • the Office of the President will notify employees of the college and campus affiliates of the death; and
  • the Office of Facilities, Planning and Safety will lower the college flag to half-staff for three working days.

This procedure is not concerned with divisional processes or legal obligations that the college may need to fulfill after a campus community member has died. Nor does this procedure attempt to anticipate additional communication that the circumstances of a campus community member’s death may prompt.

Definitions

“Employee” means a person employed by SUNY Oneonta or a campus affiliate.

“Former employee” means a person who had been employed by SUNY Oneonta or a campus affiliate but was not so employed at the time of death.

“Student” means a person with active status as a student in the college’s student information system.

Procedures

Contact the Office of the President to report the death of a campus community member. 

Forms

There is no form related to this policy.              

Related Documents/Policies

There are no documents/policies related to this policy.

Contacts

Questions related to the daily operational interpretation of this policy should be directed to:

chief communication and marketing officer
607-436-2748

Effective Dates

Approved by the president Jan. 11, 2019

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