Office of Financial Affairs

Records Retention

Working Policy


Utica College requires that certain written and electronic records be retained for specific periods of time, known as retention periods. These records must be appropriately preserved during their retention period and properly disposed of at the end of their retention period. These records must be managed according to procedures, outlined in this document, in accordance with federal, state and local laws, and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act (“FACT Act”), the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (“GLB Act”), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).

While some records are required by law to be disposed of after a certain period of time, other records must be retained for at least a specific period of time, after which the disposal is at the discretion of the office managing the record.

Still other records may be determined by the College’s archivist to be of historical value and thus deserving of preservation. Examples include programs from official College events such as Commencement and groundbreaking ceremonies; College publications such as the alumni magazine; and photographs of significant events such as the inauguration of a new president.

In the event of legal action, documents that might otherwise by law require disposal may instead require preservation throughout the term of litigation. For more information, see the section on Litigation Holds, below.


This policy and the procedures associated with it apply to employees responsible for the maintenance of College records, vendors of Utica College, or any other persons with access to College records.


Utica College is committed to effective records retention as a means of retaining information that is critical to operations, reducing liability for the institution and members of the College community, meeting legal standards, optimizing the use of space, minimizing the cost of record retention, ensuring that outdated, useless, or potentially harmful records are destroyed in a proper manner, and preserving its history.


Records – Information created, received, and maintained by Utica College, in written or electronic form, as part of its operation as an educational institution, pursuant to its transacting of business, or in pursuit of its legal obligations.

Confidential – Any information that would result in damage to the College, organization, environment, business partners, students, employees, alumni, or other third parties should that information be disclosed.

Responsible Office – The office responsible for receiving, maintaining, preserving, and, where appropriate, disposing of, official College records.


General Procedures

Each record has its own responsible office, as listed on the College’s Record Retention Schedule (a draft version).

Each responsible office shall be responsible for establishing appropriate record retention management practices, and each responsible office must:

• Implement record management practices as described below
• Ensure that these management practices are consistent with this policy
• Educate staff within the administrative unit in understanding sound record management practices
• Ensure that access to confidential files is restricted
• Submit an annual report verifying that records management practices are in place and are being followed to the Vice President for Financial Affairs on or before March 1 of each year

Record Management Practices

Identifying Categories of Records
Each responsible office shall perform an annual review of its documents (whether in paper or electronic form) to identify and update as necessary categories of records to be maintained.

Maintenance of Records
Responsible offices should employ best practices for maintaining records, such as keeping paper documents in locked, fireproof, and waterproof locations and maintaining electronic records in password-protected computers, consistent with federal, state and local laws, and regulations. Responsible offices shall be required to establish best practices regarding who shall have access to these records.

Preservation of Records
Space limitations may make it difficult to store records in the responsible office. In these cases, the responsible office should contact the Office of Facilities Management for assistance in locating secure areas to store paper documents in a manner that is consistent with this policy.

Microfilming and scanning are two other methods that can be used for preservation of records. After the film or scan is completed, the original paper documents may be destroyed using the methods outlined below. The microfilm or scan has the same retention period as if it were the original paper document.

Care should be exercised in selecting a digital or film format that would reasonably allow for conversion to future formats, as may be appropriate. Contact Integrated Information Technology Services (IITS) for guidance on preserving records electronically.

Disposal of Records
Each responsible office shall maintain and employ best practices to determine when and how documents should be destroyed. These best practices shall include determining the following:

• Retention periods required by federal or state statute
• The longest plausible statute of limitation for actions concerning the documents plus one year
• The existence of pending litigation
• Business necessity
• Historical value

Methods of Disposal

Paper Documents

Sort through material and determine what should be disposed. If a file contains records with different retention periods, they must be separated and disposed according to the retention period. If a record’s retention period has not expired, it may not be disposed of.

All records covered by this policy are considered confidential, and must be shredded at the end of their retention period. Keep the material that is of reusable stock (such as file folders or binders), and follow these procedures for shredding:

• Only employees or work-study students within the responsible office may shred records stored in that office. Employees may shred records by using their own office shredder or the large-capacity shredder located in the Copy Center.

• If a batch of records is too large to shred, the office or department must place the records in a box to make it easy to move the materials, and contact the Office of Facilities Management, which will schedule a date for a third-party vendor to remove and dispose of the records. The Office of Facilities Management can temporarily store records before disposal if there is limited room in the responsible office.

• The third-party vendor will provide the College with a written contract containing all necessary warranties and certifications as required by law.

Electronic Data

Electronically stored data, including e-mails, word processing documents, databases, and administrative information system data, must be deleted or destroyed at the end of the retention period in consultation with the responsible office, the Vice President of Financial Affairs, and legal counsel, if necessary.

Litigation Holds

When litigation against Utica College and/or its agents or employees is filed or threatened, the law imposes a duty upon Utica College to preserve electronic and paper data, documents, and records. Once litigation is filed or threatened, a litigation hold will be issued to each responsible office subject to the hold. It is the responsibility of the responsible office to ensure that the litigation hold overrides all record retention/destruction schedules until the litigation hold has been removed by the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer of the College. Employees who have been notified of a litigation hold or of any other reason to not destroy or alter electronic or paper records must not alter, delete, or otherwise modify any electronic or paper record subject to the hold. Violation of the hold may subject the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, as well as possible civil liability or criminal sanctions.


It is the responsibility of all College employees to ensure appropriate maintenance and destruction of College records.


Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).


For questions regarding this policy please contact the Office of Financial Affairs.

Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.

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