Finance and Treasury

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should the CSU have a records/information retention and disposition policy?

A: A records/information retention and disposition program provides economic, operational, and legal/regulatory benefits to an organization. These benefits include:

  • Improved operational efficiency – An information disposition program documents records that the university creates, receives, or uses; how and where the information is maintained; and the relevant recordkeeping requirements. A reduction in the volume of information will improve the speed with which searches for information are completed by reducing the amount of information that has to be searched.
  • Compliance with Legal/Regulatory Retention Requirements – Compliance allows the university to demonstrate that it manages records in the regular course of business and in accordance with a sound business policy and applicable laws and regulations. It is critical for establishing credibility regarding litigation issues and reduces legal exposure.
  • Reduce Storage Costs – Storage space for the necessary accumulation of records can be a significant operational need and costly burden, regardless of the media used. An information disposition program provides for the systematic appraisal and disposition of the official copy and all other copies of records thereby 1) reducing storage space and 2) recouping existing space through reduction of filing and electronic media storage equipment.
  • Protection of vital and historic records – The disposition schedule will allow the university to identify the records/information that are essential to business continuity in the event of a disaster; and to identify and protect historic records that reflect the programs, major achievements, significant events and impact of the university on the local community and the state.

Q. Why did the CSU begin to look at a systemwide standard for records/information retention and disposition?

A: Universities across the country have long-standing and sophisticated records management programs, including retention/disposition schedules. In fact, several CSU campuses have such programs in place, but this is not universal. Additionally, the system policy statements on records were limited and dated back to the 1980’s. So, the first reason is to get the CSU current with other academic institutions.

The next reason is the world has gotten increasingly more regulatory, litigious and investigative. The CSU’s ability to respond appropriately and successfully to information requests, attorney needs, or mandates was hindered by the lack of a systemwide standard.

Finally, information technology staffs at the campuses and at the chancellor’s office were struggling with how to quantify and then manage electronic storage space.


Q. What is the document retention/disposition policy for electronic mail (email)?

A: Email is NOT, in and of itself, a record series for which a schedule is required. Individual emails may contain content which raises them to the level of official record subject to the record/information retention and disposition policy.


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Last Update: September 07, 2010