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Records General Policy

About this Policy

Records General Policy

Policy Number: 23001

Effective Date:
Dec 12, 2017

Last Updated:
Jun 12, 2020

Responsible Office:
Records and Information Management

Responsible Administrator:
Assistance Vice President Management Services

Policy Contact:

Records Management




  • Finance

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This policy applies to all employees and to all Records that are made or received in the transaction of University business. Records exist 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, database entries, electronic calendar appointments and electronic messaging technologies.

Reason for Policy

Records Management inventories University Records and develops Records Retention schedules (schedule of Records Retention and disposal) to meet the administrative, legal, fiscal, research and historical needs and requirements of the University.  Failure to properly maintain Records may expose the University and individuals to legal risks.

Policy Statement

Records Retention requirements for all University Records and documents (regardless of media) will be collectively determined by the UM Director of Records Management and Information Management; the Campus Archivist; Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services; and General Counsel.  No other committee, person or board shall specify Records Retention requirements.  The retention requirements shall be binding on all University academic and administrative departments and staff. Records Retention schedules apply to all Records in all departments of the University unless a specific Records Retention schedule has been approved for a department.

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.

Official Records shall not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by any University officer or employee on their own initiative.  Destruction of Records must be in compliance with the University's approved Records Retention and Disposition schedules.

Confidential Records
The University receives and holds confidential information of various sorts, some of which is precluded from divulging by law except in limited circumstances, such as:

  • student Records, or
  • medical Records,

and some of which does not divulge as a matter of policy, such as:

  • personnel information,
  • purchasing Records prior to the opening of Bids, or prior to the award of contracts resulting from Requests for Proposals,
  • proprietary information, or
  • information the University has contractually agreed not to disclose. 

No officer or employee shall permit the disclosure or use of such confidential information without proper authorization.  Any officer or employee violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Designated Records
Following is a listing of Vital Records that must be secured by imaging, microfilm or other long-term storage method until approved for destruction:

  • Student Academic Records
  • Student Admission Files
  • Student Loan Notes
  • University Leases and Contracts
  • Land Deed Files and Easements
  • Medical and Dental Patient Files
  • Engineering Drawings of University Buildings
    • (Original and As-Built)
  • Construction Specifications Files
  • Psychological Testing & Counseling Files
  • Accounting Records
  • Personnel/Payroll Records (Human Resources/Payroll)

Note: Where multiple copies of Vital Records exist, designation of the official "copy of record" will be made by Records Management.

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 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 that 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 be retained for the required retention period. 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.

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 to 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 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) request has been made.


Records - a Record on any medium may constitute a public Record subject to disclosure under the Missouri Sunshine Law, other laws, or as a result of litigation.

University Records - 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.

Note: 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 Non-Records – include the following:

  • 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.

Inactive Records - Records referred to an average of once per month or less.

Records Retention - the prescribed period of time that a Record must be retained.  The retention periods established for University Records are based on the legal, administrative, financial, research, and historical needs of the University.

Disposition of Records - the disposal of the actual Record, either by physical destruction or transfer to Campus Archives.

Vital Records - all University Records designated as vital or essential to the continued operation of the University and which if  destroyed would seriously impair or disrupt normal University affairs, or which by their loss might place the University in a state of legal or fiscal jeopardy, are to be secured for long-term storage.


Records Management:

  • Plan, develop and establish Records management policy for the UM System
  • Plan and develop long-range goals for the University in the area of Records and information management
  • Develop realistic Records Retention and disposal schedules
  • Arrange for the orderly transfer of Inactive Records to the University Records Center
  • Maintain a Vital Records protection program
  • Assist with the development of filing systems that will assure efficient usage and prompt retrieval of Records
  • Provide supervision of the UM System's Forms Management program
  • Provide assistance to all University departments in matters relating to Records management, electronic Records, filing systems, microfilm and electronic imaging systems and forms management


  • Keep Records that are designated as Vital Records secure.
  • Assist in the establishment of 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.

Additional Details


Related Information

See the Records Management website:

Missouri Sunshine Law (RSMo 610)

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:


Revised in April 2018 to change the Records Authorization Committee to include a representative from Information Technology.

This policy combines the following former policies:

  • Business Policy Manual 901 – Organization and Services (revised 7/17/2009)
  • Business Policy Manual 902 – General Policy (revised 4/28/2014)
  • Business Policy Manual 903 – Records Retention Schedules (revised 8/1/2009)
  • Business Policy Manual 906 – Confidential Records (revised 11/15/1989)
  • Business Policy Manual 907 – Vital Records (revised 7/15/2009).


Records Retention Guide -

Reviewed 2021-04-12