WWU Archives and Record Management

Retention and Disposal Policy

This policy was approved by the President's Cabinet on August 16, 2006. It is the university's policy regarding the retention and disposal of records.



The purpose of this policy is to ensure that necessary records and documents are adequately protected and maintained in accordance with all applicable legal and policy requirements in order to ensure that university records are not improperly or prematurely disposed of by a university department. At the same time, this policy seeks to give guidance to university employees as to appropriate time frames under which university records that are no longer necessary for the operation of the university may be properly disposed of, thereby providing for efficient and effective use of the university's limited storage capacity. Electronic copies are adequate as long as they cannot be manipulated or changed, and saved where they can be easily accessed.



The Records Retention & Disposal Committee governs the retention and disposal of the university's records and consists of the Director of Admissions, the Director of University Relations, the Controller, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Information Services, the Director of Risk & Safety Management, the Technical Services/Systems Librarian, the Director of Plant Services, the Registrar, and the Director of Student Financial Services. The Vice President of Financial Administration shall serve as the committee chair.


The Records Retention & Disposal Committee is authorized to perform the following functions:

  1. Identify and evaluate which records should be retained;
  2. Publish a retention and disposal schedule that is in compliance with local, state and federal laws;
  3. Monitor local, state, and federal laws affecting records retention;
  4. Annually review and make recommendations on revisions to the records retention and disposal program;
  5. Serve as a resource for all departments with questions regarding compliance with the records retention and disposal program.


Each department head will prepare a listing of major documentation used and maintained by the department and will compare it to the documents listed in the Records Retention & Disposal Policy. In addition, each department head periodically will review currently-used records and forms to determine whether these records and forms are adequate and appropriate for each department's requirements, as well as manage a systematic disposal of outdated documents to prevent unnecessary storage and misfiling. A large capacity shredder is available for use at Plant Services.

Each department head periodically will review the policy to determine any special circumstances that necessitate changes in the retention periods. Requests for changes in retention periods or deviations from specified retention periods should be made to the Chair of the Records Retention & Disposal Committee, and may be implemented only after approval.

In the event of a governmental audit, investigation or pending litigation, records disposal may be suspended at the direction of the V.P. of Financial Administration or the Director of Risk & Safety Management. In addition, the V.P. of Financial Administration or the Director of Risk & Safety Management should be informed of any situation that might give rise to legal action as soon as the situation becomes apparent.



This policy applies to all records generated in the course of the university's operation, including both original documents and reproductions. It also applies to records stored on computer and microform as well as paper records.

If you have any questions concerning this Records Retention and Disposal Policy, contact the Risk and Safety Management office at 527-2250.


Codes Used in the Forms:

         act      =   while active, employed, or enrolled
         cc       =    copy sent to Archives as soon as produced
         perm  =    permanent


Links to Specific Records Retention Schedules (PDF Format)

General -institution and legal records, institutional publications, facilities, fund raising, litigation records, and minutes of committee meetings

Human Resources and Safety - employment applications and listings, payroll, individual employee files, general Human Resources files, employee medical records, health records, safety records, and faculty files

Institutional Financial Records - accounts receivable and payable records, capital property, financial records and federal tax records


Student Records:

Academic - Enrollment, Records, and Student Finance Offices; individual student records 
Financial - Financial Aid records and individual (student) fiscal records