Policy 3106
Lost and Found Property

Date of Current Revision: September 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of University Unions


This policy outlines the procedures for recording, storing and returning or disposing of items turned in to a Lost and Found Center at any of the following locations:

  • Bookstore
  • Carrier Library
  • Convocation Center
  • East Campus Dining Hall
  • Rose Library
  • Godwin Hall
  • Gibbons Hall
  • Harrison Hall
  • ISAT/CS Building
  • Madison Union / TDU
  • Memorial Hall
  • Moody Hall
  • Off Campus Life / Festival
  • Public Safety
  • Residence Life
  • Student Success Center
  • Surplus Property
  • University Recreation
  • Zane Showker Hall

Each of these areas has access to a central computer database for posting lost and found items.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Claiming Lost Items:
The process where owners of lost items identify a lost item as theirs and have it returned to them.

FASP – Fixed Assets and Surplus Property
This university office is responsible for managing the university's fixed assets which include land, buildings, improvements other than buildings, construction in progress, and equipment.

Lost & Found:
A campus-wide program to record, store, return and/or dispose of items that have been found on campus, utilizing a shared database for tracking and reporting.

Lost & Found Tag:
The front side contains information about the item, when it was found, and the lost and found ID number (from the database). The back side of the tag is used for claims (signature space provided).

Lost Item:
An item turned in to a university Lost & Found Center.


This policy applies to all JMU employees responsible for managing lost and found items.


Lost and Found Center staff members at all sites will accurately record the receipt of found items. Items will be stored in a secure location and retained for a period of at least 60 days.


6.1 Collection
The staff member collecting the lost items will complete a Lost & Found Tag. A Lost & Found Tag must be completed when any item is entered in the database. The item description, location found, date, receiver’s initials, and lost and found ID number must be recorded on this tag. The tag must then be attached to the item. If the item is a piece of jewelry or something small, a jewelry tag (provided by Fixed Assets & Surplus Property (FASP)) should be attached to the item and the lost and found ID # written on it. The staff member will check these items against “Lost Inquiries” and notify the owner when a match is made. All collections will be entered into the database and stored in a safe location.

Items of value (cash, credit/debit cards, checkbooks, checks, passports, wallets, valuable jewelry) can be held for three days by a Lost and Found Center to try to locate the owner to pick up the item. A Lost & Found Tag must be completed for these items and the information must be entered in the Lost and Found Database. The items and attached tags must then be placed in a security bag (provided by FASP) but the bag should not be sealed in case of inquiry. If the item of value is not claimed after three days, the bag must be sealed and then sent to Public Safety.

If a wallet is received at a Lost & Found Center, two employees must be present when it is opened and inventoried. If a fake ID is found in a wallet, it will be immediately sent to Public Safety. A Lost & Found Tag must be completed for wallets turned in and the information must be entered in the Lost & Found Database immediately. Wallets must be put in a security bag and kept in a secure location. After three days, they must be sent to Public Safety. No one other than the owner of the wallet is allowed to pick up the wallet.

Any illegal, unmarked, or mixed drugs found in items turned in to Lost & Found Centers must be immediately sent to Public Safety.

For any over-the-counter or prescription medicines not claimed within two weeks, Lost and Found Center staff members must follow these guidelines provided by the Health Center & FDA:

  1. Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
  2. Take the drugs out of the original container and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or cat litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through trash.
  3. Put this mixture in a disposable container with a lid or a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off. This will help protect the person’s identity.
  5. Place the sealed container with the mixture and the empty drug containers in the trash.
  6. If you have any questions regarding disposal, contact the University Health Center (540-568-2978).
  7. Note: Any insulin supplies must be sent to the Health Center for proper biohazard disposal.

For any keys not claimed within 60 days, Lost and Found Center staff members must follow these guidelines:

  1. JMU Residence Life keys (keys to dorms) – contact ORL Business Operations (540-568-7576 or busops@jmu.edu) to have the keys picked up.
  2. Other JMU office/building keys (stamped “State Property”) – send the keys to the FM Lockshop.
  3. Non-JMU keys (vehicle, house, etc.) – turn in to FASP after being held for minimum 60 day period. After 120 days, Lost and Found Centers or FASP will turn the keys in to the Lockshop for recycling.

Lost & Found Center Managers may attempt to find the owner of USB drives or similar devices by connecting them to a computer. Because anti-virus software detects only about 50% of viruses, the following procedures must be used when connecting the devices to university computers.

  • On Windows computers, hold down the Shift key while plugging the device in and continue to hold it down until Windows tells you the device is ready. This disables the autorun function.
  • If the USB device has a write protect switch, use it.
  • Do not log on in administrator mode.
  • Do not double-click on a file to open it. Instead, use the appropriate application and open the file through the menu.
  • There is a risk that sensitive data (bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc.) can be on a USB device. If you find JMU sensitive data on a USB device, contact 540-568-2364 or it-security@jmu.edu. If you find personal sensitive data on a USB device, send it immediately to Public Safety.
  • Note: After 120 days, USB drives become the property of the state and when FASP receives them, they are destroyed. People inquiring after this time period should be told they are no longer available.

All JMU access cards (JAC) will be sent to the Campus Card Center after the Lost & Found Center staff employees have attempted to contact the owner with no success.

All lost plastic ware, soiled clothing, undergarments and toiletry items will be disposed of immediately after being turned in to a Lost and Found Center; these items will not be entered in the database.

6.2 Inquiring
Inquiries can be made at any university Lost and Found Center through an online inquiry form or by contacting a Lost & Found site directly. Each Lost and Found Center will enter an Inquiry in the database that will be kept on file for a minimum of 90 days. Those seeking a lost item are encouraged to inquire at the Lost and Found Center closest to where the item was last seen.

6.3 Claiming Items
Persons claiming lost items must have photo identification, unless the item lost is a photo ID. The person claiming the lost item will sign for the item and provide identification. The item will then be updated as "claimed" in the database and purged after 30 days.

6.4 Fixed Assets and Surplus Property (FASP)
After the minimum 60-day retention period, Lost & Found sites can transfer the items to FASP. Lost & Found Centers with storage space which want to hold onto items for 120 days may do so. After 120 days all items must be sent to FASP.

When sending Lost & Found items to FASP, the items must be securely packaged or boxed and taped closed. An itemized listing (preferably from the Lost & Found database) must be taped to the package(s). If there is more than one package/box, number each box (e.g., Box 1 of 3). Contact FASP when Lost & Found packages are ready to be picked up (540-568-6931). Do not have the Moving Crew pick them up. Packages sent to FASP should NOT contain:

  • Wet or soiled clothing or undergarments
  • Toiletries, medicines or powders
  • Plastic ware or open blade knives
  • Glass (except eye glasses)
  • Other similar items that can be discarded. Lost and Found Center employees should call FASP if they are unsure about an item.


The University Unions department will coordinate the Lost and Found Centers, and this policy will be condensed and advertised in The Breeze once each semester.


Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment or expulsion from the university.




The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the senior vice president for student affairs and university planning.

Previous Version: April 2015
Approved by the President: April 2002

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