Records Retention & Disposition Guidelines

The University of California retention schedules assure that records are kept only as long as needed to meet administrative and legal requirements. UCOP Information Resources and Communication offers a searchable database with systemwide guidelines.

Cost Issues

Keeping records for longer than they are needed costs money and space to store, whether they are off-site or in your office.

Legal Issues

Records can expose the University to additional legal risk. Any record that is maintained by UCLA may be discoverable under law. Failing to keep these for the specified time period may result in legal action against UCLA.

Copies vs. Originals

Records that are held past their retention date are still subject to subpoena as are copies of files, known as shadow files. Contact the Office of Record prior to destroying your copies.

Electronic Files

Retention does not apply only to paper records, but to electronic records too. This means it is necessary to erase certain computer files, including emails, over time, or they too will be discoverable.

Destroying Records

Records must be destroyed in accordance with the University's records retention policies. Documents that contain personal or sensitive information should be shredded.

If you have a lot of records to dispose of, check the Vendor Agreements List to find who has a contract with UCLA for document destruction. For smaller volumes it may be a good option to buy a cross-cut shredder.

If you would rather use another vendor, contact Campus Purchasing. If a third party shreds your documents, be sure to obtain a certificate of completion to verify that the items have been destroyed properly.

Remember that confidential records must be protected throughout the entire process.

Consult your IT manager for ways to destroy electronic records safely and securely.