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C22.0 Records Management Policy

1. Introduction

This Policy seeks to ensure that RIT Records, especially those that are required for compliance with the law, are retained for a sufficient period of time. In addition, this Policy seeks to ensure that RIT Records which document the history of RIT are preserved.

This Policy should be read together with the other policies of RIT. RIT’s policies are available online at www.rit.edu/policies. The electronic version of this Policy will, from time to time, contain “Frequently Asked Questions” which interpret and detail the applicability of the Policy to various practical situations.

2. Effective Date

This Policy will be effective on May 13, 2009 (“Effective Date”). It will apply to all divisions, departments and academic units of RIT.

3. Defintions

Terms not otherwise defined herein have the meanings listed below.

  1. Active Record means a record with current administrative use for the division, department, or academic unit that created it. Records remain active for varying numbers of years, depending on the purpose for which they were created.

  2. Archival Record means a record that is inactive, not required to be retained in the office in which it originated or was received, and has permanent or historic value. Archival records are retained and preserved indefinitely in the University archives.

  3. Hold Notice means a communication issued by the Office of Legal Affairs as a result of a current or anticipated government regulation, investigation, litigation or other matter that warrants the suspension of this Policy. 

  4. Record means any document, communication, or similar item generated or received by RIT, by RIT personnel, or on RIT's behalf.

  5. Official Repository means the division, department, or academic unit designated as having responsibility for retention, timely destruction of particular types of official University records, or forwarding to RIT Archives. Such responsibility is assigned to the division, department, or academic unit’s vice president, director, dean, or designee.

  6. RIT Archives means a department of the RIT Wallace Library that promotes knowledge and understanding of the University’s origin, aims, programs, and goals; and facilitates effective record management.

  7. RIT Record means the original or copy of any record, which is either an Active Record, Archival Record, or which must be held for official business or regulatory purposes in accordance with the university's Records Retention Schedule in Section VI of this Policy. Official repositories for these records are contained in this Policy (see below for the Schedule for a listing of Official Repositories). RIT Records do not include records that are not created in the official course of business, serve no legitimate or necessary business purpose, or are created for personal purposes only.

  8. Personnel means all RIT staff and faculty, full-time and part-time, including student employees acting within their scope of employment, non-employee consultants, visitors, adjuncts and others using university resources.

  9. Scope of Employment means all activities related to: (i) the field or discipline of the faculty member’s appointment, including the general obligation of a faculty member to teach, to do creative work, and to conduct research; and (ii) to the employment responsibilities of non-faculty personnel for which such personnel receive compensation from RIT, where compensation is any consideration, monetary or otherwise, including the ability to use RIT resources.

  10. Confidential Record means a record that contains personal information protected from disclosure by law or RIT policy, including but not limited to, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), the Gramm Leach Bliley Act, the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the New York State Disposal of Records Act, the New York State Information Security Breach and Notification Act and the RIT Privacy Policy.

  11. Electronic Record means a record maintained on a RIT network, email server, back-up tape, CD-ROM, hard drive, or data storage location.

  12. Student Employee means students, who are also RIT employees, acting within the scope of employment.

  13. General Correspondence means emails, letters, or notes received in the course of business that is directly related to the mission of a particular department, division, or academic units. Indirect or conversational emails, letters, or notes received on a daily basis and not connected to the mission of a particular department, division, or academic units should not be considered general correspondence.

4. General Provisions

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this Policy is to require consistent treatment of Records. Maintenance, retention, and disposal procedures for Records must be followed systematically by Personnel in designated Official Repositories. This Policy is intended to ensure that RIT meets legal standards, preserves RIT’s history, and destroys outdated and useless records.

  2. Scope
    All personnel shall comply with this Policy, as amended from time to time. This Policy is considered part of the conditions of employment for RIT personnel and shall be included in the university's Governance Policy Library.

  3. Management of University Records

    Divisions, departments, or academic units that are Official Repositories for RIT Records are responsible for establishing appropriate records retention management practices. These records retention management practices are intended to establish a procedure by which RIT Records are identified for archival, retention, or disposal. Each division, department, or academic unit’s vice president, director, dean, or designee must:

    1. Implement the division, department, or academic unit’s record management practices;

    2. Identify a records custodian for the division, department, or academic unit with responsibility to ensure that these record management practices are consistent with this Policy;

    3. Educate staff within the division, department, or academic unit in understanding the record management practices;

    4. Preserve inactive records of historic value and transfer those records to the RIT Archives;

    5. Ensure that access to confidential files is restricted; and

    6. Destroy inactive records that have no archival value upon passage of the applicable retention period identified in this Policy, or in a division, department, or academic unit’s records management policy approved by the Office of Legal Affairs (see attached Schedule for recommended and required retention periods)

    Questions relating to these responsibilities should be directed to the General Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, who will work closely with the RIT Archivist, divisions, departments, or academic units to ensure understanding of this Policy, implementation of these responsibilities, and establishment of records retention management practices as set forth in Section V.

  4. Suspension of Policy / Legal Holds.  This Policy may be suspended for any Record due to a requirement by a consent order, private or governmental contract, pending or anticipated litigation, investigation, or audit requirement.  Such suspension supersedes the requirements listed in this Policy or any division, department, or academic unit’s records management policy and shall be made by the Office of Legal Affairs, which has the authority to suspend and revise any retention schedule, including the schedule attached to this Policy.  The Office of Legal Affairs will implement such a suspension by sending out a Hold Notice for relevant records to affected divisions, departments, or academic units as well as to the Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Services (ITS) department. This Hold Notice shall be in effect until rescinded by the Office of Legal Affairs and shall control the preservation, retention and disposal of specifically listed records.

5. Implementing Record Management Practices

  1. Retaining of Records. Section IV sets forth the recommended and required period of time for Records that should be retained.  In establishing appropriate record management practices, each division, department, or academic unit's vice president, director, dean or designee will be responsible for setting up a process for the identification of RIT Records created, received by and delivered from their Office Repository. In addition, in connection with setting up record management procedures, the following should be considered and incorporated:

    1. Archival  Records. Generally, Records which document the history of administration, academic programs, and the social and cultural life of RIT should be preserved. These records include, but are not limited to, correspondence, meeting minutes, administrative and annual reports, as well as publications, newsletters, posters, booklets, books, magazines, catalogs, special bulletins, university directories and faculty/staff rosters. To decide if the RIT records are of historic value, consult the RIT Archivist, who has the authority to designate which records are Archival Records. In cases where specific RIT records are to be sent to the RIT Archivist, the Official Repository shall hold the RIT records for as long as the Official Repository has a legitimate business use for the RIT record. It shall be the responsibility of the Official Repository to deliver the RIT records to the RIT Archivist in accordance with his/her instructions. No Official Repository shall dispose of records not specifically mentioned in this Policy without consulting the RIT Archivist.

    2. Electronic Records. The retention and preservation of electronic records shall be in accordance with this Policy. If an electronic record falls within one of the retention schedule's categories of records, then the record must be treated the same way as a similar hard copy record.

    3. Email. In considering the nature of email for retention purposes, an email and its attachments should be considered as a whole. If one retention period applies to an email and a different retention period applies to the email attachment(s), the entire email with attachment(s) should be retained for the longer of the two retention periods. If a person is merely copied on an email (either listed as a "cc" or "bcc"), he/she should treat the document as a duplicate in accordance with sub section 5 below, i.e., it may be deleted unless this Policy, or a division, department, or academic unit’s record management policy requires keeping it. Personnel may create individual folders and files within his/her email archives for retention of RIT records in accordance with this Policy.

    4. Disaster Recovery.  Electronic records maintained by the Information Technology Services (ITS) for disaster recovery and backup purposes only shall be retained and preserved by ITS in accordance with a uniform rotation schedule. This uniform rotation schedule shall require that no ITS backup of electronic records shall be maintained for longer than thirty (30) days. No other division, department or academic unit shall maintain electronic records for disaster recovery or backup purposes without the specific written approval of the Office of Legal Affairs and without adherence to the ITS uniform rotation schedule. Suspension of the uniform rotation schedule shall be accomplished only with the written approval of the Office of Legal Affairs.

    5. Duplicates.  Generally, only one copy of each record shall be retained. A duplicate is an exact replica of the original and shall be destroyed as soon as it does not serve a legitimate business purpose and as long as is not subject to a Hold Notice indicating otherwise.  Prior drafts, revisions, or original documents that have additional hand written notes are not considered duplicates of the original and shall be subject to the same requirements as an original record.

  2. Destruction of Records. Records that are neither Active Records, Archival Records, RIT Records, nor the subject of a Hold Notice should not be maintained.  In addition, when the required retention period for RIT Records has passed, a determination of whether to preserve the record as an Archival Record or to dispose of the record must be made.  The division, department, or academic unit’s vice president, director, dean, or designee should make this determination, in consultation with the RIT Archivist, and facilitate the disposal of the RIT records in one of the following ways:

    1. Recycling non-confidential paper records;

    2. Shredding or otherwise making unreadable confidential records in accordance with applicable state and federal law; or

    3. Erasing or destroying electronic records in accordance with applicable state and federal law.

      The records destruction process shall be documented using a form developed in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs or its designee. The division, department, or academic unit’s vice president, director, dean, or designee shall certify annually in writing to the Office of Legal Affairs that compliance with this policy has been achieved for the prior academic year.

  3. Using the Retention Management Schedule. Records are listed in the Retention Management Schedule by their recommended or required retention period, as well as their historical/archival value. The list of records identified in the Retention Management Schedule is not intended to be exhaustive.  Divisions, departments, or academic units may establish their own records management policy, with the approval of the Office of Legal Affairs, to determine the retention period for the Records created and/or kept in their respective areas.

    1. If two or more categories with different retention periods are applicable to a record, the record shall be retained for the longest applicable retention period.

    2. Records required to be destroyed must not be destroyed before the prescribed retention period has expired. Records that are required to be destroyed and are subject to specific retention periods shall be destroyed within a reasonable period of time following the expiration of the retention period, as set forth in the schedule. Records required to be destroyed shall not be retained for longer than the specific retention period or default retention period (including the reasonable period of time for destruction), unless subject to a Hold Notice or special condition requiring a longer period, without first obtaining authorization from the Office of Legal Affairs. 

    3. The default retention period for records whose retention period has not been specifically determined shall be six (6) years. However, it is important to note that if a record is an Archive Record it should be retained permanently and forwarded to the RIT Archivist in accordance with his/her instructions.

    4. The time for calculating the applicable retention period shall begin at the end of the calendar year in which the document was created or received by personnel. For example, a contract executed in June 2014 that is subject to a six year retention period would be eligible for destruction after December 31, 2020. 

    Current retention schedules for RIT divisions are located on the Office of Legal Affairs website

  4. Exceptions.  Requests for exceptions to this Policy should be granted rarely and only with good cause.  Requests for exceptions to this Policy should be submitted to the Office of Legal Affairs.  Upon receipt of notice that the retention period for any RIT records should be extended or an exception otherwise granted, the Official Repository responsible for such record shall immediately disseminate notice that such record should not be destroyed until further notice.

  5. Training.  All personnel involved in or responsible for records management activities will be trained and kept current in all aspects of their responsibilities. Each division, department, or academic unit's designee or records custodian will be responsible for ensuring their personnel are informed of the Policy and procedures established pursuant to the Records Management Program and devising the appropriate training to ensure appropriate implementation.

  6. Auditing.  For all RIT Records subject to this Policy, each division, department, or academic unit's designee shall perform periodic reviews of the implementation of this Policy, under the oversight and guidance of Institute Audit, Compliance and Advisement, Office of Legal Affairs or their designee.

  7. Procedure for Amending the Records Retention Schedule. In the event of any changes in the Retention Schedule, the Office of Legal Affairs will notify each division, department, or academic unit's vice president, director, dean or designee.

RECORDS MANAGEMENT SCHEDULE

Current retention schedules for the RIT divisions are located on the Office of Legal Affairs website.

I. RECORDS REQUIRED TO BE SENT TO RIT ARCHIVES

Item Retention Period Official Respository

Accreditation Reports and Supporting Documents

Permanent

Office of the Provost

Advisory Board, Committee and Task Force minutes, agenda and materials, including standing and ad hoc committees

Permanent

Appropriate Committee/Advisory Board

Affirmative Action Plans (including documentation)

Permanent

Office of Legal Affairs

Board of Trustees Resolutions, meeting materials, minutes, and agendas (including Committees)

Permanent

Office of the Secretary

College Strategic Planning Records

Permanent

Appropriate Colleges

Development and Alumni Relations Annual Reports, Materials, and Gift Records

Permanent

Development and Alumni Relations

Employee orientation & training materials

Permanent

Human Resources

Enrollment statistics

Permanent

Office of the Registrar

Governance Groups minutes, agenda and materials (including Student groups)

Permanent

Appropriate Governance Group

University publications (catalogs, handbooks, programs, etc.)

Permanent

Office of the Registrar

Institute Research and Policy Studies Reports (internal and external)

Permanent

Institutional Research and Policy Studies

Lecture Series (documentation, advertisements, lectures)

Permanent

Appropriate College/Departments

News Content (internal and external)

Permanent

University News Services

Original Patents, Trademarks and Related Work Papers

Permanent

Intellectual Property Management Office

Periodicals and Newsletters (departmental, administrative, and student groups)

Permanent

Appropriate College/Departments

Policy and Mission Statements

Permanent

Human Resources

Presidential Records

Permanent

Office of the President

Real Estate Deeds

Permanent

Office of Sr. VP Finance & Administration

RIT Corporate Documents (including Bylaws, Charter, and Licenses)

Permanent

Office of the Secretary

Strategic Planning Records

Permanent

Office of the President

Trustee Files

Permanent

Office of the Secretary

Governance Policy Library

Permanent

Office of the Provost

II. RECORDS RECOMMENDED TO BE DISPOSED

Item

Retention Period

Official Repository

Academic advisement files

1 year after graduation/last date of attendance

Appropriate Academic Departments

Athletic Records (not otherwise listed)

6 years

Center for Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation

College/Department Office Student Files

1 year after graduation

Appropriate College/Department

Contracts files (including contracts with employees and consultants)

6 years after all obligations end

Appropriate Departments

Counseling Center Records

6 years from date of last attendance or termination

Counseling Center

Direct Loan Counseling Records (Exit)

3 years after loan is repaid, canceled, or assigned to the Department of Education

Student Financial Services

Employee Medical Documentation

6 years from termination

Human Resources

Enrollment’s Advanced Placement and Admissions Records (not otherwise listed for non-enrolled students)

2 years after application

Division of Enrollment Management

Equipment files (including maintenance records and leases)

6 years after disposition

Appropriate  College/Departments

Faculty Student Files (including grades)

1 year after end of academic term

Appropriate Academic Departments

Federal Student Aid Records

6 years

Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

General Correspondence (including emails)

6 years

Appropriate Departments

Health Center Services Patient Records

6 years from date of last attendance or termination

Student Health Center

Online Learning Materials

2 years after last use

Online Learning

Record of student accounts

6 years

Student Financial Services

Recruitment materials (for individual students)

Until date of enrollment

Division of Enrollment Management

Registrar’s Advanced Placement and Admission Records (not otherwise listed for enrolled students)

10 years after admission

Office of the Registrar

Registrar Records (not otherwise listed)

Permanent

Office of the Registrar

Student Disciplinary Records (not responsible finding)

5 years

Student Affairs

Student Disciplinary Records (responsible finding)

Permanent

Student Affairs

III. RECORDS REQUIRED TO BE DISPOSED

Item

Retention Period

Official Repository

Auditor Documents

Permanent

Controller’s Office

Banking Records

6 years

Controller’s Office

Bids (accepted)

1 year

Procurement Services

Bids (rejected) <$100,000

1 year Procurement Services
Bids (rejected) >$100,000 6 years Procurement Services

Billing Records

6 years

Controller’s Office

Bond Records

6 years after life of bond

Controller’s Office

Capital Equipment Records

Life of Asset

Controller’s Office

Certifications and Inspection Reports

6 years

Environmental Health and Safety

Clery Act Materials

4 years after report date

Public Safety

Employee Background Checks (including Controlled Substance Test Results)

6 years after employment ends

Human Resources

Employment applications and resumes – non-employees

3 years

Human Resources

Employment Records

6 years from date employment ends or death of eligible employee

Human Resources

Employee Tax Records (not otherwise listed)

6 years

Controller’s Office

Financial Records

6 years

Controller’s Office

Invoices

6 years

Procurement Services

Legal Records

6 years

Office of Legal Affairs

OSHA Records and Material Safety Data Sheets

40 years

Environmental Health and Safety

Purchase Orders

6 years

Procurement Services

Search Committee Records

3 years

Human Resources

Student Employee Records (including applications and resumes)

6 years after employment ends

Student Employment Office

Tax Records

6 years after return is filed

Controller’s Office

Training Records

6 years

Environmental Health and Safety

Unemployment Insurance Records

6 years

Human Resources

Workers Compensation Records

18 years

Human Resources

Responsible Office:
Office of Legal Affairs

Effective Date:
Approved May 13, 2009

Policy History:
Edited August 2010
Edited September 2012 (conversion edit)
Edited September 22, 2014 (ICEC) – sections III.G, H.; IV.B, C; V.A, C, G, I; VI.A, C

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