Related Policies and Additional References:
The institutional records of St. Mary’s University (the “University”) are important assets and include essentially all records you produce as an employee, whether paper or electronic. Records include obvious items such as a memorandum, an email, a contract, an invoice, an expense report, or less obvious items such as desk calendars or appointment books.
The law requires the University to maintain certain records, usually for specified periods of time. Failure to retain those records for the minimum periods could subject you and the University to penalties and/or fines, cause the loss of rights, obstruct justice, place the University in contempt of court, or seriously disadvantage the University in litigation. From time to time the University establishes retention or destruction policies or schedules for specific categories of records in order to ensure legal compliance, and also to accomplish other objectives, such as preserving intellectual property and cost management. It is the responsibility of members of Executive Council to ensure that retention schedules are established, reviewed, and updated so that compliance and institutional objectives are achieved.
Electronic documents will be retained as if they were paper documents, and any electronic files will be maintained for the appropriate amount of time. If a user has sufficient reason to keep an e-mail message, the message should be printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate file or moved to an “archive” computer file folder.
University records will be stored in a safe, secure, and accessible manner. Documents and financial files that are essential to operating in an emergency will be duplicated or backed up at least every week and maintained off-site. Document destruction of confidential information (student, personnel-related, financial, medical, etc.) records will be accomplished by shredding.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the established records retention and/or destruction policies and schedules. However, if you become aware or are informed by the University that institutional records are relevant to litigation, or potential litigation (a matter that could result in litigation), then you must preserve those records until a determination is made that the records are no longer needed, and this exception supersedes destruction schedules for those records. If you believe that exception may apply, or have any question regarding the possible applicability of that exception, please contact the office of the president.