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Records Management at ECU: Sensitive Records

Guidance on managing university records at ECU, including using the records schedule, digital records, sensitive records, and transferring records.

About Sensitive Records

Many of the records that we create and handle as ECU employees contain sensitive information. These types of records may include personnel files, student records, consumer information (such as credit card numbers), or other records with personally identifiable information (like driver's license numbers or Social Security numbers).

In the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, types of records that often contain sensitive information are identified with a lock symbol.

The lock symbol alerts you that the records may contain sensitive information and cites relevant state and federal laws regarding their handling and disposition.

Handling and Identifying Sensitive Records

Many of the sensitive records handled in ECU offices are not scheduled to be transferred to the University Archives. Often, the office will be required to maintain the records for a certain number of years after which, as long as there are no outstanding legal or audit holds, the records may be destroyed. All records that contain confidential or personally identifying information must be destroyed by our approved vendor. Contact the University Records Manager before destroying any records. If for some reason non-permanent records need to be transferred to University Records Management, contact the University Records Manager for training.

In those cases where sensitive records are scheduled for permanent retention in University Archives, the transferring office must identify the records as sensitive in order to ensure that they are not opened for public access even after ownership is transferred to University Archives. Because we do not review every single document that comes to the University Archives, we may not notice sensitive records unless they are clearly identified.

There is no standard procedure for labeling sensitive records before transfer to University Archives — each office should do what works best for them. Some offices separate sensitive records so that they are easy to find, others make sure they are clearly labeled as sensitive on the folder.