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Office of General Counsel

Records retention

Records Retention Information

The University of Akron, as a state of Ohio educational institution, is required to comply with the Ohio Public Records Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 149).

Section 149.33(B) of the Ohio Revised Code confers full authority for Boards of Trustees of state supported institutions of higher education to establish and administer a records program for their respective institution. The boards are required to apply efficient and economical management methods to the creation, utilization, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposition of the records of their respective institutions.

The University of Akron Board of Trustees, per rule University Rule 3359-11-11, appointed the Director of Archival services shall serve as the University Records Officer.  Archival Services is responsible for Records Management at the University.  For any questions about records management please contact Jim Hilliard at 330-972-8182 or jnh1@uakron.edu

The University has adopted the IUC Records Retention Manual as its guideline for developing University of Akron policies and practices concerning records retention.  In addition, the University has changes and additions to the manual to specifically address University of Akron issues. 

An excerpt from the IUC Records Manual is below to provide some basic information about records retention.

Why do we care about our retaining and managing our records?

Because they are our organization’s institutional memory that:

  • document our management decisions
  • provide historical references of transactions and events
  • enhance our organization’s operational efficiencies
  • demonstrate regulatory compliance
  • provide litigation support

All records have a lifecycle, albeit some longer than others. Records are created or received, used, kept for valid legal, fiscal, or administrative reasons, and more likely than not destroyed at the end of their lives, although some with enduring historical value will be maintained in an archives.

There are five (5) general categories of retention:

  • INDEFINITE: Records with an indefinite retention period are documents (including email and other electronic records) which have significant administrative, legal, and/or fiscal value; further, they have an enduring historical value and therefore may be accessioned by and maintained in an archive forever.
  • LONG-TERM: Records with a long-term retention period are documents (including email and other electronic records) which have significant administrative, legal, and/or fiscal value and have a life that is typically longer than ten (10) years. Upon expiration of that retention period, the records should be disposed in an appropriate manner as soon as possible, providing there is no legal hold.
  • INTERMEDIATE: Records with an intermediate or short-term retention period are documents (including email and other electronic records) of significant administrative, legal, and/or fiscal value having a definitive life, typically ten (10) years or less. Upon expiration of that retention period, the records should be disposed in an appropriate manner as soon as possible, providing there is no legal hold.
  • TRANSIENT: Transient or transitory records have a very short-lived administrative, legal or fiscal value and should be disposed in an appropriate manner once that administrative, legal or fiscal use has expired, providing there is no legal hold. Typically the retention is not a fixed period of time and is event driven; it maybe a short as a few hours and could be as long as several days or weeks. Transient/transitory records may include, but are not limited to:
    • preliminary drafts (when superseded)
    • memoranda (paper-based or email) pertaining to scheduling an event
    • documents designated as superseded or as-updated
    • user copies (not original document)
    • routing slips
  • NON-RECORD: A non-record is any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, created or received that DOES NOT serve to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. Non-records may include, but are not limited to:
    • personal correspondence
    • non-university publications
    • Listserv® materials
    • junk mail/spam
    • catalogs
    • journals, books, other library materials
    • faculty papers (Faculty papers are the property of the faculty member, not the university and as such are not university records; however, in some cases a university’s archives may be interested in collecting faculty papers.)

It is important to note that a significant amount of documents that we handle on a daily basis fall into the final two categories: transient retention or non-records. When we routinely and appropriately dispose of these records, we can more effectively expend our energies on managing those records of intermediate, long term, and indefinite retention that require our attention. If we do not perform these routine disposals of records with extremely short retention periods, we run the risk of generating such large volumes of these documents, that we will overwhelm our ability to effectively manage our records of consequence.

In handling of these documents, one needs to consider how they handle their "snail mail" at work and home:

  • Review the documents content; this may mean thoroughly reading the document, but more often than not one is able to judge just by the look of the document or a subject line:
    • If it is a non-record, then toss it into the garbage or recycle bin (paper-based or electronic) immediately;
    • If it is a transient/transitory record, then place it in a file or sub-file (paper-based or electronic) that is designated for periodic review and dispose of as soon as allowable.

 

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