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Retention of Records

Chapter 3090
Revised December 23, 2008

Table of Contents

.010 Purpose
.020 Definition of Records
.030 General Information
.040 Access to University Records
.050 Storage Boxes and Labels
.060 Procedures for Transferring Records to University Archives
.070 Explanation of Records Retention and Disposition Schedule
.080 Records Retention and Disposition Schedule Codes
.090 Questions
Sample form with Instructions and Attachment
.100 Records Transmittal Form
.110 Records Transmittal Form Instructions
.120 Records Retention and Disposition Schedule

.010 Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to provide guidance for Kansas State University (KSU) offices regarding the maintenance of university records. The retention and disposition of records according to the procedures described herein will preserve records and information of permanent historical, legal, administrative, or research value. In addition, this policy establishes the efficient and economic management of office records and space by designating which records should be transferred to the University Archives and which records should be destroyed in a timely manner.

.020 Definition of Records

In accordance with Kansas Statutes Annotated 75-3501, university records are "...all documents, correspondence, original papers, maps, drawings, charts, indexes, plans, memoranda, sound recordings, microfilm, motion-picture or other photographic records, or other materials bearing upon the activities and functions of..." KSU "...or its officers or employees." Electronic or computer generated records fall within this definition. All records created and received in the course of conducting university business are considered university records. As stipulated under K.S.A. 45-403, all such records are public property and destruction is prohibited except as permitted by retention and disposition schedules. The University Archivist can answer questions about what constitutes a university record.

.030 General Information

The University Archives is designated as the official repository for the preservation of all noncurrent records pertaining to KSU that have permanent historical, legal, administrative, or fiscal value. Unless specified otherwise, the term Archives used in this chapter refers to the University Archives located in Hale Library. The Archives is administered by the University Archivist, hereafter referred to as the Archivist, who serves as the Agency Records Officer for KSU in accordance with Kansas Administrative Regulation 53-4-1. In this capacity, the Archivist serves as the liaison between the Archives and KSU offices to develop and maintain records retention and disposition schedules as described in this chapter. Unless stated otherwise, the term office(s) used in this chapter refers to all KSU offices, administrative, academic, unit, etc.

In addition to the official records of KSU, the Archives welcomes the donation of personal papers from individuals and records from private organizations and businesses which support the University's academic and research programs. These are papers and records that are independently owned and are subject to disposition through their owners.

The Archivist shall encourage scholarly research of records and collections in the Archives by making their existence known to the academic community, professional organizations, and the general public. Materials will be organized to provide convenient access to information and will be cared for in a manner which protects them from destruction, deterioration, or loss, to the extent practicable.

.040 Access to University Records

Conditions of access to records transferred to the Archives shall be determined jointly by the Archivist and the office transmitting the records. Access shall be in compliance with the Kansas Open Records Act, K.S.A. 45-215 through 45-225, as well as other KSU, state, or federal statutes and regulations that may apply. Records in the Archives shall be available for examination during regular business hours; however, users are encouraged to telephone in advance to allow the Archives staff time to retrieve pertinent records from storage.

The Office of General Counsel should be consulted whenever there is any question about the applicability of policy to specific cases or about the confidentiality of certain records.

.050 Storage Boxes and Labels

Offices are encouraged to store records in a standard size letter/legal size storage box available from the K-State Union (15" long x 12" wide x 10" high), where appropriate. Records scheduled for permanent storage in the Archives must be stored in this type of container. Please contact the Archives for information about how to transfer records that cannot be placed in this type of container.

All boxes should be labeled clearly, even if the contents are scheduled for destruction, so the office holding the records and the Archives staff can readily identify the records, retention period, disposition action, and date. The label should include the office name, name of the records (use the name as listed on the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule; if not in the schedule, provide the appropriate name of the records), beginning and end dates of contents, and the sequential box number (e.g., l of 4, 2 of 4, etc.).

Boxes stored in an office area should be placed so that all box labels are visible and the boxes are accessible. Inactive records having permanent value will ultimately be transferred to the Archives. In the event that Archives space limitations should postpone transfer of some historical records, the office will have full responsibility for maintaining the records until they can be placed in the Archives. An office storage site should be clean, dry, secure, and maintained at a moderate temperature.

.060 Procedures for Transferring Records to University Archives

The following information describes the normal steps an office should take to transfer records to the Archives.

  1. The records scheduled for transfer to the Archives are listed in the "Records Retention and Disposition Schedule." The records with an "A" in the second part of the Records Retention and Disposition Codes are to be transferred to the Archives (the codes are explained in PPM 3090.080). The transfer is to take place at the end of the retention period which is shown in the first part of the code. Offices are permitted to destroy records as designated in the Schedule, provided no KSU, federal, or state statutes or regulations prohibit their destruction. The Archivist should be contacted if there are any questions about which records should be transferred to the Archives or destroyed.
  2. The Archives is to be contacted prior to the transfer of records to confirm that the records are to be preserved in the Archives, and to obtain any additional information.
  3. Place the records in letter/legal size storage boxes available from the supply office in the K-State Union (15" long x 12" wide x 10" high). Please retain the original arrangement of the records when packing them (e.g., alphabetical or chronological order) and number the boxes in the order in which they are packed. Please contact the Archives for information about how to transfer records that cannot be placed in this type of container. 
  4. Fill out the Records Transmittal Form according to the instructions for completing the Records Transmittal Form. The form is to be signed by an appropriate representative of the office. 
  5. Contact the Archives to arrange a date and time to transfer the records and to determine how the records will be sent. 
  6. When the Archives receives the records, the Archivist will sign the Records Transmittal Form and return a copy to the office. Any questions regarding restrictions of access to the records, and any other matters, will be clarified between the Archivist and the office representative at this time. 
  7. The Archives will prepare a more detailed inventory for the records having historical importance, or the potential for heavy use, and send a copy to the office.

.070 Explanation of Records Retention and Disposition Schedule

The Records Retention and Disposition Schedule identifies university records that have been assigned retention periods and disposition actions. The retention period and the disposition for each record are denoted by the use of a system of codes found below. The schedule is not an all inclusive listing of KSU records; therefore, offices should contact the Archives concerning the retention and disposition of records not found in the Schedule. The Archivist will add new records to the schedule, as necessary, on a periodic basis. Additional records are covered in the "General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for State Agencies" published by the Department of Archives, Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka. Offices are encouraged to contact the University Archives regarding the applicability of state guidelines to records not found in KSU's schedule.

The Records Retention and Disposition Schedule refers to records created in all formats: papers, microfilm, electronic, printed, etc. When the records found in this schedule are maintained only in an electronic or machine readable format, the same retention periods and disposition actions will apply. All forms of electronic communication used to conduct university business are considered university records and are subject to the policies and procedures described in this chapter. When a hard copy of an electronic record is maintained according to this schedule, the electronic record can be deleted.

Offices may retain any of their records beyond the retention periods set by the schedule as they deem necessary. The schedule establishes only a minimum period of retention. However, the office should be certain that it has good reason to retain a record longer than the minimum time required. Retention of records can be expensive because of the space, equipment, and staff maintenance involved.

Offices should understand that this schedule does not relieve them of special retention requirements mandated by other KSU, state, or federal statutes or regulations. When such an obligation does exist, the retention period that is longer is the one that will apply. This schedule generally reflects audit requirements in the prescribed retention period, but audits are not always completed by the end of the indicated retention period. Therefore, any record required for an audit must be retained until completion of that audit, regardless of the stated retention period.

The Records Retention and Disposition Schedule identifies and describes records commonly used to conduct business at KSU and specifies their retention period and disposition. Three primary KSU offices that have the responsibility of maintaining the official records for the University in their administrative areas are the Controller's Office, University Registrar's Office, and the Division of Human Resources. However, these offices do not always have adequate supporting documentation for transactions or maintain all of the necessary records. Therefore, an office holding a duplicate of a record maintained by one of these primary offices or other records needs to maintain their records based on the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.

There are also general records listed which are common to most offices at KSU, but the records do not have a designated office of record (e.g. correspondence, minutes of meetings, photographs, etc.). Offices maintaining these type of records must follow the specified retention and disposition guidelines.

.080 Records Retention and Disposition Schedule Codes

In the right hand column of the "Records Retention and Disposition Schedule" is a code that designates the retention period and disposition action for that record. The code consists of two sections: 1) Retention Period and 2) Disposition. The codes are separated by a slash (/). The codes used and the definitions are listed below:

1) Retention Period

# =Number of years to retain these types of records.
#AT =Number of years after termination of employment.
#AU =Number of years or through all audit resolutions. Departmental financial records generally need to be retained for 5 years for audit purposes. (requests for earlier disposition of financial records need to be submitted to the Internal Audit Office)
#LA  =Number of years after last attendance at KSU.
P =Permanent
R =Retain as long as needed for normal department or office operations.
#S =Retain until superceded plus # of years.

NOTE: the # symbol will be replaced with a number indicating the number of years the record should be retained by the office. The retention period begins with the latest or most recent date in the records scheduled for retention and disposition. If it is not clear which months are contained in the most recent year, one year should be added to the retention period to protect the records for the full retention period.

2) Disposition

A =Transfer to University Archives.
D =Destroy.
M =Microfilm, destroy original records.
O =Office holding the record.

Selected Examples:

5/DRetain 5 years and destroy.
3/ARetain 3 years and transfer to Archives.
P/ORetain permanently in office holding the record.
R/DRetain until no longer needed for normal department office operations, then destroy.
3AU/DRetain 3 years and destroy, provided all audit requirements have been resolved.
5LA/ARetain 5 years after last attendance at KSU and transfer to the Archives.
3S/DRetain until superceded plus 3 years, then destroy.

.090 Questions

In order to expedite the answering of questions, and to coordinate the dissemination of information, offices are asked to contact the University Archives in Hale Library, telephone 2-7456, should they have questions about the contents of this chapter.