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Records & Records Management

BPM-902 Records Management - General Policy

Revised July 17, 2009; April 29, 2014

PURPOSE

Maintaining trustworthy records is essential for the University to meet its legal and business needs and responsibilities to the public. The purpose of this policy is to inform University employees and department management of the requirements and responsibilities for managing, protecting and disposing of records.

DEFINITIONS

Records on any medium may constitute a public record subject to disclosure under the Missouri Sunshine Law (RSMo 610) other laws, or as a result of litigation.

University Records are defined separately from Non-records.  However, when there is any doubt as to whether or not any item is a Non-Record, it will be considered to be a University record.

University Records

Are any papers, e-mails, electronic records, electronic images, maps, photographs, original microfilm, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, produced, executed or received by any academic or administrative staff member in connection with the transaction of University business or maintained as evidence of the organization’s functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of a University department or business unit.

Inactive records are records referred to an average of once per month or less.

University Non-Records
  • Extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference.
  • Stocks of printed or reproduced documents kept for supply purposes where file copies have been retained for record purposes.
  • Books, periodicals, newspapers, posters and other materials made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes.
  • Private materials neither made nor received by a University staff member in connection with the transaction of University business.
  • Duplicate microfilm of University records.
  • Paper copies of scanned images provided appropriate quality control procedures have been followed.
  • Tapes, cassettes, CDs, or DVDs provided that the documents containing the same information have been retained or approved for disposal.
  • Material not filed as evidence of department operations or for its informational value such as telephone call slips, letters of transmittal, route slips, etc.
  • Dictation tapes, machine tapes and mechanical records which have been transcribed into electronic­ or printed form.
  • Preliminary drafts of letters, memoranda, reports, work sheets, and informal notes which do not represent significant basic steps in the preparation of the record document.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees and to all records that are made or received in the transaction of University business. Records exist in on a variety of media, including, but not limited to: paper, electronic media and physical objects and in a variety of forms including, but not limited to: word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases entries, electronic calendar appointments and electronic messaging technologies.

POLICY

Each department on all campuses, in coordination with Records Management, shall promote sound records management practices as follows: 

  • Establish realistic records retention and disposal schedules for all its records.
  • Systematically transfer inactive records which still have value, from prime office space or inadequate remote storage to the University Records Center.
  • Develop a vital records protection program for all permanent and essential records in the department.
  • Develop and maintain filing systems that will assure efficient usage and prompt retrieval of records.

The department head of an office is responsible for ensuring compliance with University Records Management policies (BPM 900).

All employees should be made aware of their responsibilities and receive training in the use and management of records appropriate for their role and work duties. When an employee leaves a department or the University, the department head is responsible for ensuring that the departing employee's records, including their electronic records, are transferred to another employee, destroyed following appropriate retention requirements or transferred to Archives.

Destruction of records must be in compliance with the University's approved records retention and disposition schedules in BPM 1001: Records Retention Guide. Failure to properly maintain records may expose the University and individuals to legal risks.

Electronic Records

Maintenance and disposal of electronic records, as determined by their content is the responsibility of the creator and/or receiver of the record.

Departments should have procedures in place:

  • To ensure the accessibility of electronic records for the required retention period, including vital records as defined by BPM 907: Vital Records and archival records.
  • To safeguard electronic records, to the extent possible, against unauthorized modification or deletion. 

Campus Information Technology (IT) departments perform back-ups on a regular schedule of e-mail and electronic files stored on central servers/systems. These backups are intended for system restoration purposes only. The IT system administrators are not responsible for the management, retention and disposition of messages or records which may be included in such backups.

If departments maintain systems not backed-up by IT, procedures need to be in place to ensure electronic records are appropriately backed-up.

Electronic Mail

All employees must use a University provided or approved e-mail, messaging and calendaring system or service(s) to conduct University business.

E-mail, calendar appointments and other forms of electronic communications, such as instant messaging, may create records. When such communications create a record, the record(s) must either be maintained on the University’s e-mail system using tools provided in that system or they must be printed and filed. Records stored electronically or printed must be retained according to record retention policies. E-mail that does not meet the definition of a record (e.g., personal or junk e-mail) should be removed from the system.

The printed copy of the e-mail must contain the following header information:

  • Who sent message
  • To whom the message was sent
  • Date and time message was sent
  • Subject

LITIGATION HOLDS

When litigation against the University or its employees is anticipated or filed, the University may have legal obligations to preserve documents and records that pertain to the issue. When appropriate, University Counsel will issue a Litigation Hold directive applicable employees. The Litigation Hold directive overrides any records retention schedule that may have otherwise called for the transfer, disposal, or destruction of the relevant documents until the hold has been lifted by University Counsel. E-mail and computer accounts of current and separated employees that have been placed on a Litigation Hold by University Counsel will be maintained by the central IT department until the hold is released.

No employee who has been notified by University Counsel of a Litigation Hold may alter or delete any record, paper or electronic, that falls within the scope of the hold. Violation of the Litigation Hold may subject the individual to disciplinary actions, up to and including dismissal, as well as civil and/or criminal sanctions by the courts or law enforcement agencies.

NOTE:      Records are subject to production for many reasons including but not limited to litigation, governmental investigations, sunshine requests and audits, or if a FERPA request has been made.

APPLICATION OF POLICIES

All policies applied generally at the University are expressly applicable to the electronic environment.

Relevant institutional policies include, but are not limited to:

Relevant State of Missouri laws and guidelines include, but are not limited to: