Office of the Secretary > Records Management > FAQ
A Records Retention Schedule is a tool that Depaul University uses in order to guarantee that records are kept as long as legally and operationally required and that obsolete records are disposed of in a systematic and controlled manner. Groups or Classes of records are listed on the Schedule along with the approved retention period for each record group. The Records Retention Schedule is intended to ensure that employees adhere to approved record-keeping requirements, and do so consistently.
The retention period is the period of time that each type of record must be retained. There are several types of retention periods: The Legal Retention Period is the period of time that records in a given Record Class must be retained according to statutes, regulations, and other legal considerations. The User Retention Period is the period of time that records in a given Record Class must be retained to support operational and/or business requirements. The most important retention period is the Official Retention Period. This is the period of time that records in this Record Class must be retained according to official DePaul University policy. Records that have fulfilled their official retention period are required to be reviewed for destruction. A retention period may be stated in terms of months or years, or may be expressed as contingent upon the occurrence of an event such as the termination of a contract or conclusion of a project. For most records, the retention period begins when the record is created. In such cases the retention period is added to the creation date to produce a date through which the record must be maintained. Some records begin their retention with a particular event, to which the retention period is then added.
The Depaul University Records Retention Schedule is based on a hierarchical classification scheme consisting of Business Functions, Record Classes, and Record Type Examples.
An official record is the complete (final) and most authoritative record that is to be maintained for business or legal reasons. Official records can be considered the original and final document. If that document is maintained by your department then you have an official record. Unofficial records can be drafts or duplicates of official records or documents that were not created or received as part of doing business.
If you have any questions about whether or not your department has official records please contact the Records Management Department before destroying them.
Official records that are not listed on the Records Retention Schedule should not be destroyed without first speaking with the Records Management Department. Contact the Records Management Department and they will help you determine if your records are covered under another records group or if they need to be added to the schedule.
Certificate of Destruction
If your department is listed as the Responsible Department on the Records Retention Schedule for the records you want to destroy you need to fill out the Certificate of Destruction Form first. If your department is not the Responsible Department for those records you may destroy them without filling out the Certificate of Destruction.
Destruction of Unofficial Records
Unofficial records should be destroyed once your office no longer needs them to do business. Unofficial records should never be kept longer than the official records.
“Permanently Retain” means that the Responsible Department is in charge of storing those documents into perpetuity. The records may be stored in the office or off-site. That decision is left up to each Responsible Department. The Responsible Department needs to retain access to these documents and be able to retrieve and produce them if asked. The Responsible Department maintains ownership of them. “Send to University Archives” means that those records are to be transferred to the DePaul University Archives. The University Archives is a functioning office located on the third floor of the Richardson Library on the Lincoln Park campus. The University Archives will take ownership of the transferred records and maintain them into perpetuity. For more information please contact Andrea Bainbridge at email@example.com or (773) 325-1746.
Transfer to University Archives
Records that are designated to be transferred to the University Archives should only be transferred once your office no longer needs them for business purposes. Records should be transferred as part of a series and not piecemeal. For more information please contact Andrea Bainbridge at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 325-1746.
Yes. In regards to electronic records your department is tasked with making sure the electronic record is deleted once the retention period is over or stored in a format that can be permanently retained. Departments that have electronic-only records should have continuing conversations with IS to ensure that records with a permanent retention period can be maintained into perpetuity. Please contact the Records Management Department if you need assistance.
Keeping Paper When Scanned
This is one of the trickier questions to answer. As we move forward with different phases of the records management program the answer to this question may change. Currently the decision as to whether or not to keep the paper records is up to your individual department. However, if you have records that are designated as needing to be transferred to the University Archives please retain the paper copy for transfer purposes. If you need assistance determining whether or not you should keep paper records after they have been scanned please contact the Records Management Department.
Please fill out the Change Request Form on the Records Management website and submit it to the Director of Records Management. Someone will contact you to discuss any details. The request will then be discussed with the Records Management Committee. If the change is approved you will be notified.