62: University Records Retention Guidelines

Revised: February 2018

A. Introduction

The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Records and Disposition Schedule was approved by the Board of Regents on December 3, 2015, pursuant to the Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 27. The Schedule may be amended or revised only upon the approval of the Chancellor. The Schedule is maintained in the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual Chapter 16, Section 7.

The NSHE Records Management Program provides in part as follows:

Each NSHE institution and unit (the Board of Regents', Chancellor's and System Computing Services' offices, for the management of its records, must:

1. Maintain its records in a manner which is secure, cost effective, and which allows for the rapid retrieval and protection of the information contained within the record;
2. Refrain from accumulating unnecessary records which are not essential to the proper functioning of the institution or unit;
3. Protect confidential personal identifying information of employees and students; and
4. Adhere to the NSHE records retention schedule for retention, disposal and appropriate transfer of records with archival value to the institution or unit archivist, or the State Archivist.

Each employee shall comply with the Schedule for the records they create and/or receive. Each institution and unit must manage their records in accordance with the Schedule or any Special Schedule.

If an institution or unit identifies records that are not covered in the Schedule or where revisions may be needed, the institution or unit should contact the Records Retention Officer to discuss the Records Retention Schedule.

This UAM section and the Records Retention website (www.unr.edu/records-retention) provide additional guidance to university employees to assist them in properly maintaining and disposing of records. The website includes a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that is referred to in the section of the UAM. If a conflict exists between this UAM section or the website and the NSHE Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, the Retention and Disposition Schedule must be followed.

B. University Records Retention Officer

The University President has appointed the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs as the University Records Retention Officer.

Employees should address questions regarding the NSHE Records Retention and Disposition Schedule to their supervisor. The supervisor should contact the University Records Retention Officer if assistance is needed at: recordsretentionofficer@unr.edu.

C. General Rule Regarding Retention of Electronic Record or Paper Record

As stated in the NSHE Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, "records should be maintained in the most efficient cost effective format consistent with sound records management principles, and any applicable laws, rules, regulations or court decisions. When a document is maintained only in electronic format, delete it only after expiration of the retention period authorized by this schedule."

Please note that when a process is ongoing, the retention period will not begin until the process is completed. Examples of ongoing processes include accreditation, assessment, and student advising.

D. Annual Period for Reviewing and Appropriate Disposition of Records

The period of retention for many records is frequently tied to the end of the fiscal year. For this reason, the university's annual period for reviewing and appropriate disposition of records for all employees is the month of August, following the close out of the prior fiscal year. Certain events called "Disposition Holds" may occur that will require a stop or delay to the regular destruction, recycling or normal disposal of records.

E. Non-Records and Transient Records

Some documents are non-records. Non-records may be destroyed or deleted at any time when they no longer serve a business purpose, provided retention is not required because of a Disposition Hold. See FAQ 29.

Non-records include, without limitation:

• published books and pamphlets, including materials printed by a governmental printer;
• informal notes and "convenience copies";
• drafts or documents that are clearly pre-decisional or deliberative;
• ad hoc reports and reference materials not relating to a special project;
• stationary and unused blank forms, except ballots;
• brochures, newsletters, magazines, catalogs, and price lists;
• databases and backup files;
• any documentation that does not serve as the record of an official action of a state agency; and
• work papers used to collect or compile data, or drafts developed from those work papers, unless:

o an appraisal conducted by an institution/unit or state archivist indicates that the work papers or drafts have (i) legal, (ii) fiscal, or (iii) research or archival value. (See NAC 239.705(2)). See FAQ 14.

Convenience Copies

All copies of a document that are not the official record are considered convenience copies. Convenience copies are non-records and may be destroyed at any time within the retention period, but must not be kept longer that the official record. See FAQ 21.

A "transient record" can be in any medium (electronic, paper, etc.) and includes documents which serve to convey information of a temporary or very short-lived administrative, level, and/or fiscal value.

Examples of transitory records include telephone and other routine messages, internal meeting notices, drafts, routing slips, and similar routine information used for communication, but not for the documentation of a specific university/unit transaction. See FAQ 15.

Transient records may be disposed of when their administrative, legal, or fiscal value has expired, provided further retention is not otherwise required because of a Disposition Hold. Absent such a hold, transient records must not be kept longer than the corresponding official record. See FAQ 30.

Junk mail/spam/general mailings from publishers do not have to be kept.

Recipients do not need to keep any kind of campus announcement from the chair, dean, provost, etc., in the absence of a Disposition Hold.

F. Email and Other Electronic Records

Email may or may not be a record. See FAQs 39-45.

Email and other electronic information, excluding a database, is a format, not a record type. Just as with physical records, the content, not the form, of the information determines its retention and disposition. If the electronic information meets the criteria of a record, it must be managed in accordance with the NSHE policy. FAQ 39
Retention of email is based upon the content of the email message, not the fact that it is an email message. If the email message meets the criteria of a record, it must be managed and kept in accordance with the Schedule. If the email is a non-record it may be disposed of at any time when it no longer serves a business purpose. See FAQ 41.

It is the responsibility of supervisors to maintain emails/correspondence they send that are covered by this policy. Faculty and staff who send emails and correspondence should retain copies of the materials they send. In the event hard copy materials are sent, signed and dated copies should be retained rather than unsigned and undated copies or drafts.

The key to effectively managing email is to get rid of the non-records and any transient records that have outlived their administrative, legal, and/or fiscal value as soon as possible so only emails that need to be managed on an on-going basis are left. NSHE recommends you approach the management of email in a manner similar to the handling of "snail mail" at work and home:

• Open the email and review its content; this may mean thoroughly reading the document, but usually, only a cursory look at the document, the subject line, and/or the sender is needed to determine whether it is a:

o Non-record and should be deleted immediately, just as "snail mail" non-records are thrown into the trash can or recycle bin; or
o Transient record which should be disposed of as soon as the information is no longer of administrative, legal, or fiscal value;
o or Record and therefore, should be placed in an appropriate folder by record type/series, project, retention time, or other filing schema that works for your office/organization and allows you to effectively manage the life cycle of the record. FAQ 45.

The university's email system is configured to support retention of emails that are records. Outlook has default folders in the following categories: Personnel, Student, Fiscal, Research, Contracts, Administration, Legal. Faculty and staff should use these folders to retain emails they are required to retain under the Records Retention Schedule. Faculty and staff may create additional folders to retain such emails.

G. Records Retention for Academic Evaluation

The Provost's Office is the official repository for promotion and tenure applications. The official personnel files are at the college level and at Human Resources. Departments may keep copies of personnel records for the current year for business purposes, so long as the records are securely kept (in locked files). In general, departments should not become repositories for personnel documents.

H. Academic Course Related Materials

It is the responsibility of the faculty member to retain syllabi and grade books. At the end of each semester, the faculty member should retain a copy of the grade books for each class. If the grade book is electronic, it should be downloaded for proper retention.

I. When an Academic Faculty Member Leaves the University

1. Records an employee should provide to the department office when the employee leaves: syllabi, grade books, unreturned course work of students.
2. If a faculty member is leaving the University, the department chair must obtain the faculty's syllabi, grade books, and unreturned course work for proper retention.

J. Waivers/Releases

For any instructional or other student activity that requires a written waiver, release, or agreement (such as an internship or service learning agreement), the department is responsible to scan the original document and send it to the Registrar's Office, which will retain the document.

K. Controller

The Controller is the official repository for the following records:

Accounting & Financial Records

• Accounts Payable Invoice, RFP

Bad Debt Documentation

• Overdue accounts, such as loans, payments for services rendered

Bank Reconciliations and Related Documents

Cash Register Tapes/Cash Receipt Documentation

Chart of Accounts

• An institutional list of all the accounts and their identification coding

Credit Card Receipts

Delivery Slips

• Documents sent with purchased goods indicating item(s) shipped when provided by departments


• Documentation of institutional cash transactions, petty cash transactions/replenishments, including disbursements and receipts
• Records used to transfer charges between accounts and for summarizing account information

Purchasing Card (PCard) & Travel Card/Travel Claim documentation

• Including statements from bank regarding PCard and Travel Card use, transaction forms, and other supporting documentation

Registers - Check

• Book or original entry for all cash disbursements paid by check