Every paper or electronic record has a specific amount of time that it needs to be kept. This is called a retention period. Our Retention Schedules list the retention period and disposal method for each type of record.

Once the retention period has ended, records are disposed according to their value and content:

Shred confidential records such as research data, student folders, personnel records, and financial records that have account numbers listed.
Recycle records that are not confidential and do not contain personal/financial identifying information.
Delete electronic records that are not archival. For tips on identifying and deleting electronic records that have met retention, click here.
Transfer paper and electronic records to the University Archives if they have permanent legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical value.


Destruction Log

We recommend using a Destruction Log to create an audit trail of paper and electronic records your office has destroyed. It’s not necessary to record individual destroyed documents or files – instead, records should be grouped and recorded by their type and function (Record Series).

At a minimum, the Destruction Log should contain the following information:

  • Record Series Title - Consult the General Records Retention Schedule or a Departmental Retention Schedule (if applicable)
  • Inclusive Dates for the records being destroyed
  • Person Authorizing Destruction - May or may not be the same person who physically oversees the destruction
  • Destruction Method - Delete, shred, or recycle
  • Destruction Date

Click here to download a template to use in your office.

Disposition at the University Records Center

Records Management Services absorbs the cost of shredding or recycling records stored in our Records Center.  If the records are considered Archival, we will work with the University Archivist to transfer them to the University Archives. 

  • Boxes stored at the University Records Center are not destroyed without the receipt of formal signed authorization from the owner of the records. 
  • It is the responsibility of the signatory to ensure that the records in question are not on destruction hold because of litigation, audit, or public records request.
  • If records are maintained in an office for their full retention period, it is the responsibility of that office to ensure that they are disposed of appropriately.

Records Management Services is a compliance office.  The University Records Center exists to help users meet their records retention responsibilities. It is understood that when boxes are transferred to the University Records Center, their disposition will be authorized by the records owner once the retention period is met.  If boxes are not authorized for disposition and are not on destruction hold, they will be returned to the originating office.  We cannot emphasize enough the importance of following the state-approved retention periods to limit risk and protect the University.