University Archives, in cooperation with ASU Surplus Property and the Arizona Department of Library Archives and Public Records, has been charged with coordinating the ASU Records Management Program for the Tempe campus since 1987. The West campus has a separate records management program.
Archives staff members assist campus administrative and academic offices in creation and approval of Records Retention and Disposition Schedules (RRDS), which serve as the legal authorization to destroy public records. ASU Surplus Property provides moving services for transporting university records to their warehouses, where records may be temporarily stored or destroyed in accordance with the approved RRDS form. Detailed instructions for sending records to Surplus for temporary storage or destruction are available at the Property Control Systems Policy Manual PCS-703.
- Records Schedules or RRDS Forms
- Records Storage and Destruction
- When You Contact Us, We Will Ask You...
- Frequently Asked Questions
In order to temporarily store records off-site or to send records for destruction, any Tempe campus office must have an approved RRDS that addresses the specific kinds of records to be stored or destroyed. Since most offices produce very similar kinds of records (e.g. correspondence files or general administrative files like Absence Reports) a series of "generic" RRDS have been approved by the Arizona Records Management Division for use by any Tempe campus office. A list of these generic schedules approved for use by “All Public Bodies” or “All Public Institutions of Higher Learning” is available at http://www.lib.az.us/records/community_college.aspx.
In rare circumstances some campus offices produce records that are unique to their function, and in order to store these records off-site or send them for destruction a special or "customized" RRDS must be drafted for the unique records of your office. That draft RRDS must then be approved by the University Archivist, the University Librarian and the Arizona Department of Library Archives and Public Records. Archives staff can help you draft an RRDS and send it through the approval process. Approval of a draft RRDS takes at least 6-8 weeks, but once approved it serves as your continuing authority to store or destroy records.
Permanent storage of university records is only available from University Archives for selected materials of enduring value as designated by the University Archivist. If you have materials that might be considered historic or archival, please contact the University Archivist for help identifying and preserving those historic materials.
Temporary off-site storage for non-archival records is only available at Surplus Property, and an approved "custom" RRDS is required for accessing temporary records storage at Surplus. Once you have an approved RRDS see the section PCS-703 for procedures on how to send materials for temporary storage.
Destruction of university records can be completed in your office or at ASU Surplus Property in compliance with an approved RRDS. Detailed instructions for destroying university records are available at PCS-703. The Report of Records Destruction Form required for lawful destruction is available here.
What office are you calling from?
Do you need to destroy records or send them for temporary off-site storage?
Do you have an approved "custom" RRDS or do you intend to use the "generic" RRDS?
If you don't have an RRDS or aren't sure, what kinds of records do you need to destroy or send for temporary storage?
- Q. Are all records actually considered public records?
- A. Although the laws of the State of Arizona include a very broad definition of public records (A.R.S. 41-1350), there are a number of kinds of documents that are not public records. Duplicate copies of virtually any document produced in the course of your work are not public records, unless you have marked them or performed an official duty using them that changed their content (e.g. your signature on a signature line). Your personal copy of any ASU publication produced by another office is not a public record; however, the first copy of a publication produced in your office would be considered the "official" copy or "copy of record" and would be a public record. University Archives keeps a comprehensive set of university publications and you may send one "copy of record" of each of your publications to Archives to satisfy retention requirements for ASU publications. Remember that the phrase "public record" in records management refers to public or governmental ownership of a document rather than issues relating to confidentiality. Virtually all public records are open for inspection by any citizen, although there are certain classes of records that are deemed confidential by statute.
- Q. What is an RRDS?
- A. RRDS, or Records Retention and Disposition Schedules, are documents that describe the kinds of records produced in your office, and how long those records must be kept in your office or retained off-site before they can be legally destroyed. An RRDS serves as the official authorization to destroy records on an ongoing basis, and must bear the signature of the Director of the Department of Library Archives and Public Records to be valid. RRDS may be revised and updated as necessary but each revision must be approved by the state before it can be used to authorize destruction of records.
- Q. Where can I get an RRDS?
- A. University Archives staff have the forms and can help you draft an RRDS and get it approved by the state. Any draft RRDS must be approved by ASU officials before it may be submitted to the state for approval.
- Q. When should I pack files for storage?
- A. We recommend packing records at the end of each fiscal year (every July) so that records produced during a single year are kept together.
- Q. When should I destroy records?
- A. You should always destroy records immediately after the end of the required retention period UNLESS there is a pending university appeal or pending litigation related to the records. In those instances you are required to retain the materials until the appeal or litigation is completed. NEVER destroy related records after you have been informed of pending litigation or appeal.
- Q. Where can I get Report of Records Destruction Forms?
- A. Report of Records Destruction Forms are available for download here. An example of a properly completed Report of Records Destruction Form is available here. Remember you must have an approved RRDS that authorizes destruction before completing the Records Destruction form. The official state form is required and so ASU cannot produce and distribute its own forms.
- Q. Who can retrieve materials that I've already sent to Surplus Property for temporary storage?
- A. Contact ASU Surplus Property at Surplus-Q@asu.edu for information about retrieving records that have already been sent there for temporary storage. If you have sent archival materials to University Archives, contact Archives staff for assistance.
- Q. How do I handle electronic records?
- A. Electronic records are required to be maintained for exactly the same length of time as paper records performing the same function or bearing the same record series title, unless your custom RRDS identifies separate retention periods for each medium. For example, if you have a "custom" RRDS in force that requires hardcopy student residency applications to be kept for three years and you convert this process to an electronic database, the database files containing the residency applications must be maintained for three years and must be accessible and useable. If your process was converted so that a hardcopy data entry form was produced and the data is kept in a database, you might contact the University Archivist to draft a new RRDS with a short retention period for the hardcopy data entry forms and longer retention for the electronic (record) copy of the form. If you have electronic data that must be retained for periods beyond five years, contact the University Archivist for information about retaining electronic records as special steps should be taken to ensure the survival and utility of the data.
- Q. Why do I have to do all this paperwork?
- A. Because you are an employee of the State of Arizona, you have a legal obligation to make the records of your work available to Arizona citizens. Records management programs provide a system for managing records that balances the need for public access against the need for efficient office management. Records management saves taxpayer dollars by insuring that expensive office space is not filled with obsolete records, and it also guarantees that a record of the public business is available for inspection for a reasonable period of time.
In addition, A.R.S. 41-1346 requires that all state agencies establish and maintain a records management program and comply with the regulations, standards and procedures established by the Arizona Department of Library Archives and Public Records. The procedures published in the Property Control Systems Policy Manual Chapter PCS-703 are in full compliance with the procedures mandated by the state. A.R.S. 38-421 establishes unauthorized destruction of public records by a public officer as a class 4 felony.