Records Management Services provides inactive storage, retrieval, and refile services to University offices on all three campuses for records accessioned before March 2022.
Vital records are recorded information of any physical format that must be protected in the event of an emergency or disaster to prevent severe conquences to the office and the University as a whole. They are records that, if lost or destroyed, would be both costly and time consuming to recreate - if they can be recreated at all. They can be active (currently used by the office) or inactive (in storage).
Active records are documents (both hardcopy and electronic) which are still actively being used by an office. They are usually referenced on a daily or monthly basis. Often times, if in paper, these records will be located in a handy place within the office since they are used frequently.
A retention schedule is a list of the the types of records (record series) created and received by an institution. Records Management Services writes the retention schedules used by the University. Retention schedules list how long each record series must be kept (the retention period), when the retention period starts (the cut-off), and the proper way to dispose of the record once retention is met (the disposition method).
The cut-off signals the point at which the retention period begins for a particular type of record. Cut-offs are intended to line up with the way the records are typically organized (e.g. by fiscal, calendar, or academic year). For example, the cut-off for many types of financial records is the end of the fiscal year.
The retention period is how long a record must be kept by the University to meet state and federal laws. As a state agency, everything the University community creates - both in hardcopy and electronically - is considered a record, and no record may be legally destroyed unless its retention period is approved by the State Records Committee as required in RCW 40.14.050.
- As a state agency, everything the University community creates - both in hardcopy and electronically - is considered a record, regardless of physical form or characteristic.
- University records are public records and may not be destroyed, transferred to the University Records Center, or transferred to the University Archives without an official retention period approved by the State Records Committee.