Checklist for Responding to a Student Death

August 2016 | 0 Comments  Average 5 out of 5

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About This Resource

In the unfortunate event of a student death, it is important for campus administrators to respond successfully to strike the right balance of empathy and professionalism. UE calls this balance the Cool Head, Warm Heart® approach. Using it, an institution can promote healing and trust by students, staff, and next of kin. However, failing to respond appropriately to a student’s death can lead to reputational damage, litigation, and campus division. 

Designed to provide campus administrators guidance on how to consistently react with compassion, this checklist offers strategies to:

  • Ensure relevant campus departments receive timely information about a student’s death
  • Make sure the deceased’s family is notified and treated with compassion through difficult times
  • Prepare or provide related helpful documents
  • Gather and communicate information about the deceased student
  • Support the campus community by seeking out those on campus who were close to the deceased, such as friends, teammates, siblings, or resident advisors
  • Planning for memorial services  

The unique circumstances of each death—whether self-inflicted, criminal, accident, or natural causes—may prompt differences in the institution’s response. Consult this checklist for help on responding appropriately every time.


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