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Records Management | Policies | CSUSM

Records Management

Definition: The Records/Information Retention and Disposition policy is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness while at the same time ensuring that legal and regulatory requirements associated with the retention and disposition of Cal State San Marcos records/information are met. Records/information custodians are responsible for controlling the administration of records/information in all media forms and for valuing such records/information in accordance with retention authority requirements. The retention and disposition of records/information are to conform to standards set forth within retention and disposition schedules issued in conjunction with Executive Order 1031. Each series or schedule will be periodically reviewed and updates will be posted to the CSU website.
Authority: Executive Order 1031 and Executive Order 133, Title V, Chapter III of Standing Orders of the Board of trustees, related policies adopted by the Board of Trustees, and Education Code section 89043.
Scope: All areas and members of the campus community.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 02/04/2010
Originally Implemented: 03/26/1999
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Records Management Policy


I.   Definitions

A. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery: Documented plans and procedures to allow a campus to provide and/or recover services during and after a disaster or other disruption.

B. Custodian: The title of the campus-designated department head who maintains the official/original copy of the record/information. Retention schedules should specifically identify the campus-designated custodian responsible for identified records/information.

C. Disposition: A range of processes associated with implementing records/information retention, destruction, or transfer decisions that are documented in the records/information retention and disposition schedule or other authority.

D. Media: A general term referring to the material onto which business information has been recorded and may subsequently be used for business purposes.

E. Record/Information: Every means of recording upon any tangible thing in any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, any combination of these or other means to engage in business, regardless of media.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Electronic communication such as e-mail content and attachments, voicemail, instant messages, and data on a contactless integrated circuit;
  • Content on web sites, PDAs, mobile devices, desktops, and servers;
  • Information/data captured in various databases;
  • Physical paper in files, such as memos, contracts, reports, photographs and architectural drawings;
  • Licenses, certificates, registration, identification cards, or other means;
  • Handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostatting, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile;
  • Any record thereby created, regardless of the manner or media in which the record has been stored and/or created; and
  • Backups of electronic information.

F. Retention Authority: The statute, code or good business practice that governs the length of time a particular record/information shall/should be kept.

G. Retention Period: The period of time that a record/information shall/should be kept. This period may be divided into:

  • Active Retention Period - This is the length of time the records or information are to remain available for immediate retrieval to meet operational needs.
  • Inactive Retention Period - This is the length of time the records or information are to be retained to meet the long-term needs of the campus/CSU.

H. Schedule: A document identifying a series of unique records/information associated with a university process or function. For each record/information listed, the schedule will include a unique number/identifier, title, custodian, value, retention authority, and retention period. The basic schedules are to be modified by each campus as needed, e.g., to specify custodians, update record/information value according to campus needs, and incorporate additional records.

I. Series: A group of related records filed/used together and evaluated as a unit for retention purposes.

J. Value: Records and information may have value in one or more of the following areas:

1. Operational: Required by a campus/department to perform its primary function.

2. Legal: Required to be kept by law or may be needed for litigation or a government investigation.

3. Fiscal: Related to the financial transactions of the campus, especially those required for audit or tax purposes.

4. Historical: Of long-term value to document past events. This may arise from exceptional age and/or connection with some significant historical event or person associated with the CSU.

5. Vital: Critical to maintain to ensure operational continuity for the CSU after a disruption or disaster. Vital records or information may fall into any one of the above value categories.

II.    Implementation

A. There are eleven (11) records/information retention and disposition schedules of which the campus will identify a lead custodian for each. The lead custodian will then be responsible for formally designating a record custodian(s) for each type of record identified within the schedules. Each lead custodian will be responsible for:

a. Assuring that the campus is operating in compliance with the California State University San Marcos records/information retention and disposition policy, and;

b. Identifying records/information that may have historic or vital value for the campus.

B. The lead custodians will maintain and complete the schedules for which they are responsible on an annual basis and will provide copies to the Department of Emergency Management.

C. The Department of Emergency Management will publish updated schedules annually and provide copies to the Office of the Chancellor, upon request.

D. The Department of Emergency Management will ensure that the designation of a vital record/information is consistent with the campus' business continuity plans.

E. Lead custodians of records/information retention and disposition schedules will review annually to ensure timely disposal of records/information in accordance with retention and disposition schedule timeframes. Lead custodians will report that appropriate records have been disposed to the Department of Emergency Management at the annual records retention meeting.

F. The eleven (11) records/information retention and disposition schedules are:

1. Personnel & Payroll

2. Fiscal

3. Environmental Health & Safety

4. Student Records

5. Facilities

6. University Police

7. University Advancement

8. Academic Personnel

9. Curriculum & Accreditation

10. Grants & Sponsored Programs

11. Institutional Records

Schedule templates can be found at the Records/Information Retention and Disposition website

III.    Record Custodian Responsibilities

A. Record custodians will work closely with their respective lead custodians for maintaining and disposing of individual records in accordance with the retention and disposition schedules.

B. Record custodians will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of individual records to ensure disposal in accordance with the retention periods set forth in the retention and disposition schedules.

C. Lead custodians will verify on an annual basis that the disposal of individual records is in compliance with their respective retention periods. Lead custodians will report that appropriate records have been disposed to the Department of Emergency Management at the annual records retention meeting.

IV.       Disposing of Records

A. The routine disposition of specific University records has been established based on the retention periods of the records retention and disposition schedules and Executive Order 1031.

B. Non-Confidential paper records may be put into recycle containers.

C. Records containing confidential information are to be shredded and disposed of appropriately by the record custodians.

D. Electronic records and data must be deleted and/or disposed of appropriately.