Records Retention and Disposition at NCSU
Adapted from the introduction to the University General Schedule (April 2007).
Regulations Governing Records Retention and Disposition
According to North Carolina General Statutes 121-5 and 132-3, public records (see below) of any campus in the UNC System can only be destroyed with the consent of the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) of the State of North Carolina. DCR gives its consent primarily through the new University General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (or University General Schedule), supplemented by unit specific addenda schedules (sometimes called individual office schedules). At NCSU, record retention and disposition is codefied in the Policies, Regulations and Rules REG 01.25.12. Records (regardless of media) that are not listed on a retention and disposition schedule may not be destroyed without the consent of DCR, the Office of Legal Affairs, and the university archivist.
Public records at NCSU are defined in REG 01.25.12, Paragraph 4, which follows the definition stated in Chapter 132 of the General Statutes of North Carolina.
Publications produced by NCSU units are considered records, and at least one copy must be retained permanently.
The following items are considered public records if they have been created or maintained during the course of university business:
Any record can be scanned, including permanent records. Offices should follow the instructions in the North Carolina Guidelines for Managing Public Records Produced by Information Technology Systems to conduct the Self-Warranty process. Consult with the university archivist or the Office of Legal Affairs before destroying any permanent records on paper that have been digitized. Computer systems do not have long life cycles. Each time you change computer systems, you will have to convert all records to the new system so that you can assure their preservation and provide access. In many cases, in view of technological obsolescence, especially of software, only paper or microfilm is suitable for permanent preservation. The essential task is to assure that records with historical value remain accessible indefinitely into the future.
Non-permanent records may be retained in any format. You will have to take precautions with records that you must keep longer than approximately 10 years for the same reasons addressed above regarding the short life cycle of computer systems. Your office will still be required to conduct the Self-Warranty process described above. Not all records have high historical, legal, or fiscal value, but they all must be destroyed in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate records schedule.
General Schedule for UNC System
The University General Schedule is a tool for the staff and faculty of the institutions of higher education in the University of North Carolina System (UNC) to use when managing the records in their offices. It lists records commonly found in university offices and gives an assessment of their value by indicating when (and if) those records should be destroyed. The university archivist at each campus is authorized to retain any record that he or she deems to have archival value. This schedule is also an agreement between the UNC System and DCR.
NCSU’s use and application of this University General Schedule falls under the direction and authority of the chancellor, the vice chancellor and general counsel, and the university archivist. This schedule serves as the inventory and schedule that the Department of Cultural Resources is directed by G.S. 121-5 (c) and G.S. 132-8 to provide. It supersedes all previous editions, including the University General Schedule issued in 1991.
The introduction of the University General Schedule allows the following short-term records to be destroyed when their reference value ends:
Records Not on the University General Schedule
Records Requiring Permanent Retention
Certain university records have high historical value. The University General Schedule and the unit specific addenda schedules mandate their permanent retention and transfer to the University Archives. Such records document significant events, actions, decisions, conditions, relationships, and similar developments. These records have administrative, legal, fiscal, or evidential importance for the university, for state government, or for its citizens.
There is a quick-reference list of those records in the University General Schedule that should be transferred to the University Archives. There are also Guidelines on the Value of Records that can help determine if something requires permanent retention.
Contact the University Archives (call 513-3763 or send e-mail) if you have questions about whether or not records require permanent retention.
Transferring Records to the University Archives
Destruction of Records