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Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is a record?

A record is any paper document, e-mail message, file, video, audio tape, microfilm, microfiche, computer disk, or other communication that is created or acquired by an employee of USA in the course of conducting his or her job; such records under state law belong to the government, not the employee.
2) How do I dispose of a record?    

No records are to be destroyed that are necessary for agency compliance with requirements of the state Sunset Act, an agency audit, any legal notice, or subpoena. Acceptable methods used at USA for destruction include the following:

•  Discarding of records in the trash can or placing the material in a recycle box when such records do not contain financial, personnel, or other sensitive personal information that should be shredded. Most material placed in the trash ends up in a landfill, while material placed in a recycle box is recycled and produces revenue for the university. Please recycle all paper and cardboard that you can.

•  Shredding (required for financial data, personnel records, and sensitive information)

There is no centralized office for shredding documents in most administrative or academic offices at USA; most departments are responsible for their own costs of shredding.

3) What kind of record should not be disposed?    

Permanent Records at USA include any records that document state business created prior to 1900 and the following: Vital Records such as birth & death certificates, student recruitment materials and records (3-2), student and faculty/staff handbooks (3-3, 14); course and curriculum records (3-3), USA Archive collections and records/files (3-4), student publications (3-7), grade sheets and statistics (3-11), graduation lists (3-11), individual student academic records (3-12), Board of Trustees minutes and files of the President, final budget and financial reports and documentation (3-17), accreditation records and final assessment reports (3-15), minutes of standing and ad-hoc committee minutes (3-14), university publications and certain publicity (3-15), certain athletic records (3-8), and all final and annual reports of all offices. "Permanent" means to retain forever. USA 's Records Officer should be notified if any permanent records have been destroyed, lost, or stolen.

4) What is the disposal policy for electronic records?    
While the retention period for electronic records is the same as their paper equivalent according to the Records Disposition Authority (RDA), their disposition may differ because of the way they are stored in computer memory, magnetic tape, and other modes of storage. It may be necessary or advisable, for instance, to print copies of e-mails, spreadsheets, and correspondence and retain the paper copy as the official document, or copy of record. Doing so allows the electronic document in paper format to be filed or stored with other types of records in the same series. Computer operating systems, hardware, and application software changes also may make it practical to retain paper copies if the retention period is longer than one to three years. It should be noted that printing an electronic copy of some documents may alter its formatting or appearance. Every attempt should be made to replicate the original before the electronic medium (tape or disc) is erased or destroyed.
5) How long do I have to keep records?    

Temporary Records at USA are all other non-permanent records that document state business and are listed in the RDA. Their retention period varies greatly from “useful life” to 50 or more years. Temporary records may be kept longer than the published retention period if there is a good reason such as a court case, grievance, or other administrative matter. Permanent Records at USA include any records that document state business created prior to 1900 and the following: Vital Records such as birth & death certificates, student recruitment materials and records (3-2), student and faculty/staff handbooks (3-3, 14); course and curriculum records (3-3), USA Archive collections and records/files (3-4), student publications (3-7), grade sheets and statistics (3-11), graduation lists (3-11), individual student academic records (3-12), Board of Trustees minutes and files of the President, final budget and financial reports and documentation (3-17), accreditation records and final assessment reports (3-15), minutes of standing and ad-hoc committee minutes (3-14), university publications and certain publicity (3-15), certain athletic records (3-8), and all final and annual reports of all offices. “Permanent” means to retain forever. USA 's Records Officer should be notified if any permanent records have been destroyed, lost, or stolen.

6) Who do I contact if I am not clear on the retention requirements for     a particular document, file, electronic document, etc.?   

Dr. Richard Wood, rwood@southal.edu, Dean of University      Libraries
or
Mr. Ken Davis, kdavis@usouthal.edu, Assistant Vice      President for Financial Affairs and Director of Tax      Accounting

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