University General Records Management

Version 1 (Current Version)
All Versions:
  • Version 1
TitleUniversity General Records Management
CategoryGovernance and Administration
Sub-categoryGovernance - General

New regulation; approved by Chancellor's Executive Council on August 6, 2018


Director, Academic Library Services (252) 328-2267

Related Policies

Public Records Requests
Electronic Records and Document Imaging - Xtender
Data Governance Regulation
Litigation Hold Notices: Preservation of Potentially Relevant Evidence in Anticipation of Litigation
Information Security Regulation

Additional References

University General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for the Institutions of the University of North Carolina System
Xtender Electronic Records and Imaging Regulation and Procedures
Joyner Library – Records Management
ITCS Technology Requirements and Guidelines Website
ITCS Xtender Document Imaging Website
N.C. General Statutes Chapter 121 Archives and History Act
N.C. General Statutes Chapter 132 Public Records
NCDNCR Government Records Section of the State Archives
Guidelines for Managing Trustworthy Digital Public Records
Best Practices for Digital Permanence
Archival Process for Digital and Image Preservation: The Management and Preservation of Digital Media
Best Practices for Electronic Communications Usage in North Carolina: Guidelines for Implementing a Strategy for Text and Instant Messages
Best Practices for Electronic Communications Usage in North Carolina: Text and Instant Message
E-mail as a Public Record in North Carolina: A Policy for Its Retention and Disposition
Guidelines for E-mail as a Public Record in North Carolina: Tips and Tricks for Using Microsoft Exchange Software to Manage E-mail
Public Records Requiring Human Readable Preservation Duplicates45 CFR 164 Subpart E: Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (HIPAA)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA)

1. Purpose

1.1 The Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for the Institutions of the University of North Carolina System (the “Schedule”) is applicable to East Carolina University, as a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina and an agency of the State of North Carolina. The Schedule is issued by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (“NCDNCR”) and approved by the President of the University of North Carolina System (“UNC System”). NCDNCR fulfills its statutory mandate to administer records management services to public colleges and universities through the Government Records Section of the State Archives (“Government Records”). The Schedule is a tool for the staff and faculty of the institutions in the UNC System to use when managing the public records in their offices.

1.2 The purpose of this regulation is to ensure compliance of East Carolina University personnel with the Schedule, and applicable state and federal laws related to those records.

2. Definitions

2.1 Disposition: The transfer or destruction of records after they are no longer needed or required to be retained in the office.

2.2 Record/Public Record: All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business, unless an exception applies. Throughout the Schedule and this policy, “record” is sometimes used instead of “public record.”

2.3 The Records Management Office: ECU’s Records Management Office, part of Academic Library Services, oversees general records management and disposition at the University. It provides training and consultation on records issues and is the University’s contact point with Government Records.

2.4 University Archives: Office in Academic Library Services responsible for collecting, preserving and making available the permanent history of ECU. Certain records are transferred to University Archives per the Schedule’s instructions, either for automatic retention or for appraisal and a decision as to retention.

2.5 Retention: The act of maintaining records and ensuring that they are discoverable and accessible, usually for a specified period of time.

2.6 University Personnel: Includes all employees of the University whether permanent, temporary, full-time or part-time, faculty, staff, administrators, student employees and agents of the University (including volunteers, but not including independent contractors) to the extent they are acting within the scope of their agency authority.

2.7 Unscheduled Record: Any record not listed in the Schedule or in an approved amendment.

2.8 Transitory Records:Records that have little or no documentary or evidential value and that need not be set aside for future use.

3. Responsibilities

3.1 East Carolina University is committed to responsible records management to preserve the history of the University and to minimize the cost and inefficiency of storing records beyond their necessary lifespan. University Personnel have responsibilities for the records they create and receive. Unit heads are responsible for ensuring that the records in their areas are managed according to the Schedule.

3.2 The Schedule

3.2.1 The Schedule establishes the length of time records need to be retained, when they can be disposed of, and the types of records that must be transferred to the University Archives for permanent retention or for appraisal. Additional information specific to processes at ECU is available on the Joyner Library – Records Management website.

3.2.2 All University Personnel have a responsibility to periodically review the Schedule and to ensure that records retention and disposition are in compliance with the Schedule.

3.3 Unscheduled records (not listed in the Schedule), regardless of the format or medium, may not be destroyed unless specific approval from Government Records is obtained.

3.4 Transitory Records may be disposed of according to the guidance within the Schedule.However, when in doubt about whether a record is transitory or whether it has special significance or importance, retain the record in question and seek guidance from the Records Management Office.Examples of Transitory Records may include: routing slips and transmittal sheets, “while you were out” slips, memory aids, and other records requesting follow-up actions (including voicemails and calendar invites) if having minimal value after the material has been successfully transmitted or once the official action these records are supporting has been completed and documented.

3.5 Amendment Process

3.5.1 From time to time the Schedule may be changed or supplemented through a process specified by Government Records.

3.5.2 Requests by an ECU unit, department, or office for a change or addition to the Schedule must be sent to the Records Management Office.The Records Management Office will follow the process specified by Government Records for requesting changes or additions to the Schedule.

3.5.3 No change or addition to the Schedule is effective until a proposed amendment is prepared by Government Records and approved by the appropriate state and University officials.

3.6 Third Parties and Service Agreements

3.6.1 All University Personnel that engage with any third party or outside provider on behalf of the University, whether such engagement is memorialized in a formal contract or any other acknowledgement of agreement, for any University related business, are responsible for ensuring that those third parties are aware of their legal obligations for maintaining public records in accordance with the Schedule. In addition, any confidentiality requirements established for records apply to such third parties in the same manner they apply to the University.

3.6.2 Written agreements with third parties should address requirements for records retention and procedures for records export to be followed in the event a contractor ceases business operations or the University transfers the contract to another party.

4. Exceptions to the Schedule

4.1 As noted in the Schedule, any records that are subject to audit or official investigative proceedings, that relate to pending or probable litigation, or that are the subject of a litigation hold, must be retained until the conclusion of the audit, official proceedings, or litigation, and an official release has been communicated by either the Chief Internal Auditor or the appropriate Vice Chancellor and University Counsel, as applicable.

5. Electronic Records

5.1 The UNC System and NCDNCR concur that the long-term and/or permanent preservation of electronic records requires additional commitment and active management. University Personnel should review all policies, standards, and best practices published by NCDNCR regarding the creation and management of electronic records, which can be found in the additional references section within this Regulation, above.

5.2 Electronic records that are digitized images of print records that are themselves the record copy are accepted as a replacement for the print record only if the images are made in compliance with PRR REG08.05.09, Electronic Records and Document Imaging – Xtender and with the University’s Xtender Electronic Records and Imaging Regulation and Procedures. Consultation with Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS) is recommended for managing electronic records with retention periods longer than seven years.

5.3 Born-Digital Records

5.3.1 Born-digital records are records created in electronic format. They are one type of electronic record. In most cases, a born-digital record is the record copy.

5.3.2 Management of born-digital records begins at their creation. The creator is responsible for adding relevant metadata, saving the record in an appropriate format, and giving the record a descriptive file name. The creator or other University Personnel designated to maintain the record is responsible for ensuring that regular virus checks are executed and ensuring that the file formats are still readable on current technology.

5.4 If an electronic record is about to become obsolete, it is the responsibility of the manager to employ a preservation strategy to migrate or emulate the record. Unit heads are responsible for consulting with ITCS to ensure that records are appropriately protected and stored.

6. E-Mail

6.1 E-Mail, Text Message, and Instant Message Retention and Disposition. The owner of e-mail, text and instant messages is normally the originator when the owner is University Personnel; otherwise, the owner is the individual University employee to whom the message is addressed, once the message is received. The owner is responsible for preserving e-mails, texts, and instant messages, even in the absence of automatic repository or computer backup. The NCDNCR and ITCS provide guidance on the methods for managing, storing, preserving and destroying e-mails, text messages, and instant messages.

6.2 Non-University E-Mail and Text/Instant Message Accounts. University Personnel use of personal e-mail accounts, or any other email account that is not managed by ITCS as part of the University’s single central email system,to create or receive e-mail that relate to University business requires the e-mail owner to preserve, maintain and present, upon request for records, the e-mail records according to the Schedule.Similarly, use of a personal mobile device to create or receive text or instant messages, or the like, that relate to University business require the device owner to preserve, maintain and present, upon request for records, the text or instant message records according to the Schedule.Employees may not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such records when using personal devices, accounts or other electronic platforms for University business.

7. Training

7.1 Training on records responsibilities is mandatory for all University employees, including temporary and part-time employees, as part of orientation and should be completed within a reasonable time of hire. Unit heads and employees designated by them must complete additional records retention and management training, with periodic updates as determined by the University.