Governance, Ethics and General

Records Retention Policy

Section: Governance, Ethics & General Policies
Policy Name: Records Retention Policy
Policy Owner: Vice President and University Secretary
Responsible University Office: Office of the Vice President and University Secretary
Origination Date: May 2023
Legacy Policy Number: 1-10 and 1-13
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy addresses the conduct of records management activities at the University of Delaware, including creation and administration of the university records retention schedule and the responsibilities of university personnel and units to comply with the university’s requirements.
    1. “Data trustee” is an executive officer of the University who has the highest level of strategic and policy-setting authority and responsibility for his or her functional area.

    2. “Record” is defined as specific recorded data that documents activities of the University of Delaware and its officers, personnel, and units. Regardless of physical form or characteristic, the recorded data is a university record if it is produced, collected, received, or retained in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of university business. Records may be physical or electronic.

    3. “Records retention schedule” is defined as a program created and maintained by UARM that identifies and describes the university’s records as discrete activity categories and provides instructions for the management and disposition of those records throughout their lifecycle, including information on Federal and state legal and regulatory requirements affecting the retention of those records.


      1. All units and personnel must ensure that university records are administered and retained according to the records retention schedule.

      2. The university records retention schedule provides information on the nature of the records to be retained, how long they are to be retained, legal retention requirements, the custodial units for different types of records, and the final disposition of records after retention expires.

      3. Units and personnel must follow the requirements and protocols established within the policies on data governance and information classification in addition to following the records retention schedule in the administration of university records.


      1. Disposition of university records occurs through one of two methods: release to UARM for inclusion in the historical collections of the Archives Program or destruction. Final authority to destroy or release university records belongs to the Vice President and University Secretary, the Director of UARM, and the appropriate Data Trustee for the record type.

      2. If there is any reason to believe that a legal claim may be asserted against the university or if a litigation hold order has been issued by the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, units and personnel are prohibited from destroying relevant university records.

      3. Relevant university records may not be destroyed in anticipation of or during any audit or records request as permitted by law, including but not limited to requests for public records through the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or requests for educational records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); see policies for access to public records and FERPA for additional information.

    1. Changes to the records retention schedule may be requested, although justifications for those changes must stem from one of the following reasons:

      1. Changes in Federal or state laws or regulations affecting the retention of university records;

      2. Compelling administrative or operational needs that produce university records and cannot be accommodated within the existing schedule; and

      3. Start or cessation of types of business activity that produces university records but are not reflected in the schedule, and cannot be incorporated into the existing schedule.

    2. Final authority to alter or modify the records retention schedule rests with the Vice President and University Secretary and the Director of UARM. Additional approval to amend the schedule itself is not required.

    3. Electronic records shall be retained, managed, and disposed of in accordance with the university records retention schedule. Retention periods apply equally to physical and electronic records, and university personnel are responsible for managing electronic records insofar as that is practicable.

    4. Personal documents and other non-records such as drafts, blank forms, reference material, media, etc. are not considered university records and are not governed by the records retention schedule.