Guidelines for Responding to the Death of a Student

When a student dies, the campus response must be timely, appropriate, and sensitive to the dynamics of the particular incident. The guidelines below will assist the coordinating officials in their response to ensure necessary support and outreach is provided. 

Reporting a Death

Anyone who becomes aware of the death of a student  should contact the Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs ( as soon as possible. If the Vice Chancellor is not available at the time the call is received, the backup will be Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life (

In a campus emergency situation, call Campus Police at 9-911 (from campus phone) or 415-476-6911 (from mobile phone).

Coordination of Response

Upon receiving notification of a death, the Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs will notify the Dean (or designee) in the appropriate School or Graduate Division. Student Academic Affairs will provide centralized support and assistance to the Dean (or designee) in the overall coordination of the response.

A checklist of administrative functions is included on the next page to assist with the coordination of response.

Considerations for Notification of Family/Next of Kin Among Campus Departments

  • If the death is being investigated by the Coroner’s Office, the Campus Police will coordinate the notification of the next of kin and the release of any information relating to the case with that office.
  • For individuals under the immediate care of Student Health and Counseling Services, or the Medical Center, notification should be handled by the responsible administrator or clinician, according to department policy.
  • For those individuals on an international visa, notification should be handled according to the policies of the International Students and Scholars Office.
  • In all other cases, the Dean (or designee) of the appropriate School or Graduate Division, or the Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs will contact the spouse/partner, family, and/or next of kin.