Records Retention Procedure
Proper retention of records is essential to conduct the business of the College; to protect the legal interests of the College, students, and employees; to preserve the College’s history; to comply with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and to preserve records when litigation is threatened or pending. For the efficiency and management of physical and digital storage resources, it is also important that unneeded records be disposed of in a timely manner.
The records retention and disposition schedules applicable to different categories of College records are promulgated by the State of New Jersey Bureau of Records Management. The Records Retention State Schedule Guide lists the minimum legal and fiscal time periods records must be retained. Records retention periods conform to state and federal codes, regulations, and statutes of limitation.
This policy and procedure provides the parameters for records management to ensure that the College complies with federal, state, and other regulatory guidelines. All College offices are responsible for administering, implementing and enforcing this policy with respect to the records generated and maintained by their respective offices. Employees are required to be familiar with and to adhere to this policy, as it pertains to the types of records/documents in the Records Retention Schedule applicable to their units.
B. Records Defined
College records, for the purposes of this policy, are defined as any record created, produced, executed or received by any College unit, office or employee in the course of College activity. College records may include papers, correspondence, books, plans, microfilm, maps, photographs, sound and moving image recordings, and other documentary materials.
College records may also be created or stored through non-tangible electronic means; such records may encompass both analog and digital information formats. Electronic records may include but not be limited to emails, text messages, word processing documents, digital photographs, video recordings, formatted data, databases, and records existing in a College computing cloud.
Regardless of format or creation, all College records are considered property of Ramapo College. The retention schedule for College records is linked to this policy for guidance. No document list or schedule can be exhaustive and any determination regarding the identification, storage, retention, or disposal of any record not identified on the schedule must be made in consultation with the Internal Auditor.
This policy and procedure applies to documents and information saved in the cloud, on a server, or in a filing cabinet. The State of New Jersey Bureau of Records Management supports image processing (IP) which involves the recording of images of documents on electronic storage media and/or photographic film. Further, most categories of paper records can be destroyed after they have been converted to image formats (N.J.A.C. 15:3-1 et seq., 3-2 et seq., 3-3 et seq., 3-4 et seq. and 3-5 et seq.) in accordance with the State’s image processing requirements.
The Internal Auditor administers this policy and the implementation of processes and procedures to ensure that the Record Retention Schedule is followed. The Internal Auditor monitors compliance with this Policy; monitors local, state and federal laws affecting record retention; develops a training and awareness program on record retention for College personnel, and periodically reviews the record retention and disposal program, as may be required.
E. Litigation Hold–Suspension of Record Disposal In the Event of Litigation
- In the case of pending or potential litigation, the College is under a legal obligation to preserve all records related to the litigation. The College’s General Counsel or the Attorney General’s Office will impose a “litigation hold,” which will be communicated to all employees whom the College has reason to believe may be in possession of documents that are either relevant or may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence pertaining to the case. An employee who receives a litigation hold correspondence is required to preserve all related evidence within his/her control.
- The imposition of a “litigation hold” means that all retention periods are suspended for applicable documents and no such documents shall be destroyed or altered until notification that the litigation matter has been concluded.
F. Managing Records Retention and Disposition
The following general rules pertain to records retention. College faculty and staff shall:
- Retain records according to established Records Retention Schedules.
- Review the Records Retention Schedules, communicate records disposition to the applicable Division Vice President, and consult with the Internal Auditor before disposing of records generated in the course of College business.
- Consult the Internal Auditor if a particular type of document does not appear to be covered by the Records Retention Schedules.
- Preserve records of historical significance and transmit to the College Archivist. The College Archivist archives and documents the history of the College by identifying, housing, preserving, and making accessible selected records and materials that possess enduring historical, research, legal, and administrative value. These records are maintained in the College Library. If the record(s) has no historic, research, legal, and/or administrative value, then follow the steps below in Section H. Destruction of Records.
G.Ownership of Records
Records are the property of the College. Employees have no personal or property right to any records of the College. The unlawful destruction, removal from files, and personal use of official College records is strictly prohibited.
H. Destruction of Records
Records can be legally destroyed at the end of their active lives if there are no audit, legal, fiscal, regulatory or historical reason for their preservation. No records are to be destroyed without prior written approval from the Internal Auditor and the State of New Jersey. All record destruction requests must be submitted to the Director of Internal Audit prior to State submission.
- Approval to destroy College records is done through the Artemis System. Artemis is an online records retention and disposition management system utilized for all state, county, municipal, and educational agencies. Artemis contains all record retention schedules, including search features, and corresponding details where applicable. Since the system is electronic, there is no need to maintain physical copies of requests.
- Before accessing the Artemis System, please contact the Internal Auditor at 201-684-7622 or email@example.com who will provide training and give you an account login.
- Users must identify the types of records they want to destroy and find the corresponding Retention Schedules in the Artemis System. These schedules will contain the following:
c. Retention Period
d. Record Series
- Once the proper Retention Schedule is identified, the information provided shall be used to enter the Record Disposition Request. Multiple requests may be placed at the same time if they have the same Retention Schedule. While making the request:
a. Select the Retention Schedule.
b. Select the option to sign Disposition Requests Electronically.
c. Enter the Record Series (the Record Series Title will auto-populate in the next column).
d. Verify the records meet the minimum time requirements, and enter the ‘From’ and ‘To’ dates accordingly.
e. Select the Medium Type (i.e. paper).
f. Enter the volume of documents to be destroyed.
g. Select the eSign / Reroute Option. This will prompt a pop-up requesting your Pin Number. Once entered, an additional screen will become available and the Internal Auditor will need to be selected from the drop-down menu. The request can now be finalized by the requesting unit.
After the requesting unit finalizes the request, it will be forwarded to the Internal Auditor for completion and submitted to New Jersey’s Records Management Services for final approval.
Approved Disposition Requests can be found by selecting the link on the Artemis home page. Once the request has been authorized, the requesting unit can destroy the files.
After the files have been destroyed, the requesting unit must update the disposition status by selecting the approved request, and identifying which method was used to destroy the records during the process (i.e. shredding).
I. Methods of Records Destruction
The following methods for records destruction include but are not limited to:
- Shredding–documents that contain personnel or confidential information, personal information, student information protected under FERPA, health related information, or financial information.
- Deletion–generally appropriate for all non-confidential electronic documents.
- Physical Destruction–electronic records which have confidential information should be done in consultation with the CIO.
- Recycling–generally appropriate for all non-confidential paper documents.
J. Retention of Permanent Records
Permanent records storage should be done in consultation with the Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO or his/her designee coordinates the off-campus storage of records, maintains manifests itemizing content and destruction date, coordinates the transfer of records to an off-campus storage location, and coordinates the eventual destruction of records with the unit.