Approved: May 5, 2012, Board of Trustees
History: previous Policy titled Mount Holyoke College Records Retention Policy, dated 16 January 2007, available in Archives & Special Collections
Office/Administrator Responsible: As per Policy
Mount Holyoke College retains and preserves vital records of its business and operations to preserve an historical record of the college, ensure current and future operations, comply with its legal obligations, optimize the use of space, and minimize the cost of record retention. Mount Holyoke College will retain such vital records for a length of time that is appropriate to their nature and as is required by law and destroy unneeded records in accordance with applicable laws and college policy.
Purpose & Scope
The purpose of this policy is to:
1. Define Mount Holyoke College records;
2. Define the responsibilities of departments and employees for college records;
3. Define the College Archives’ authority over college records;
4. Provide best practices for managing college records.
Mount Holyoke College creates, manages, and uses a wide variety of college records to conduct its affairs and support its educational mission. College employees who create, manage, and use records are responsible for the proper management and disposition of their records. This policy applies to all college records regardless of format or storage media, whether the record is created on college-owned equipment or otherwise, whether the document is stored on campus or otherwise, or any other variant.
This policy applies to all college divisions and departments.
College Records Definition
Records are information fixed on any media. College records are those that Mount Holyoke employees create or receive in any format in the course of college business. College records are the property of Mount Holyoke College. College records exist in a variety of forms, including but not limited to, paper and electronic documents, microforms, audio and video recordings, databases, and electronic mail messages. College records include but are not limited to minutes; correspondence; memoranda; financial records, such as invoices, journals, ledgers, purchase orders, grant documentation, and other information pertaining to fiscal matters; published materials, including reports and newsletters; moving images and photographs; sound recordings; drawings and maps; and computer data or other machine readable electronic records, including electronic mail. Typically, but not necessarily, college records fall into the following categories: personnel (staff and faculty), student, alumnae, financial, research administration, health and safety, physical plant, and general administration and management records.
College Records Definition: Exceptions
The following records and documents are not college records:
● Faculty members’ records that they create or receive in the conduct of their teaching, research, or professional activities are not college records. However, records held by faculty that they create or receive in the conduct of student advising, committee work, research administration, or program, department, or school administration, are college records. Faculty members (or their departments) are encouraged to contact the College Archives before they leave or retire from the College to discuss the retention of their papers and records for historical preservation.
● Staff members’ records that they create or receive in the conduct of their non-Mount Holyoke professional activities are not college records. Staff members (or their departments) are encouraged to contact the College Archives before they leave or retire from the College or their departments to discuss the retention of their papers and records for historical preservation.
● Grant recipients will have files related to external support. There are special rules that apply to funds received from the Federal government and each grant may have its own set of rules and requirements related to records. All grantees are responsible for helping the College comply with these rules and requirements.
● Extra copies of publications kept for distribution.
● Personal or private documents neither created nor received in the course of college business.
Authority and Responsibilities
The Mount Holyoke College Archives is the steward of college records of enduring value, in any form, that are entrusted to its care. As the archival repository for all college records, it has the authority to collect, appraise, describe, preserve, and make available college records of enduring value in compliance with appropriate laws and regulations. The College Archives advises faculty, staff, and administrators on the proper management and disposition of their departments’ college records.
The College Archives shall consult with appropriate staff or faculty regarding any special conditions of access that it may need to place on any records. In the absence of specific restrictions, the College shall open all college records under its stewardship to researchers on a non-discriminatory basis, according to its general policy on access to archival collections. The College Archives is responsible for determining the appropriate disposition for college records in consultation with the necessary faculty, staff, and administrators.
Departments and Offices
All departments and offices are responsible for properly managing their college records. The staff or faculty member in charge of department records, or the staff or faculty member in charge of the records of official committees, is responsible for consulting with the College Archives to determine the proper disposition of their college records in compliance with appropriate laws and regulations and records schedules. Departments shall destroy college records scheduled for destruction in accordance with the appropriate records schedules and College Archives procedures. Departments shall transfer college records scheduled for transfer to the College Archives in compliance with College Archives procedures to ensure the safety and security of the records while in transit.
Employees of Mount Holyoke College are responsible for being aware of this College Records Policy and properly managing the college records in their care. Staff may seek guidance from their supervisors or from the College Archives.
Summary of Best Practices for Managing Records
Departments and offices must manage their college records in a trustworthy manner that ensures their authenticity. In order to do this, departments and offices must:
● Create records that accurately document their core activities.
● Manage and store their records in a manner that facilitates timely and accurate retrieval.
● Ensure that they store their records in secure locations and safe, stable environments.
● Allow only those with the proper authority to have access to their records.
● Know and carry out the proper disposition of their records, that is, know what to do with their records when they no longer actively use them.
● Know and comply with the Mount Holyoke policies and the external laws, regulations, standards, and professional ethics that affect the management of their records.