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Records Management at ECU: FAQ

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if there is a public records request or legal hold on records that are scheduled to be discarded?

If there is a public records request for records in your office, or if a legal or audit hold is placed on the records, keep the records until all holds are cleared. The disposition instructions in the records schedule are always superseded by public records requests, pending litigation, or legal holds. Once you receive clearance from the appropriate University official that the holds have been removed, you can go ahead and follow the instructions in the records schedule. 

What about faculty research? Is that included in the records management process?

Usually not. According to the North Carolina Act on Higher Education (Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, section 43.17), unpublished research data is not considered a public record. We do still collect some faculty papers, but only when these are donated to the library -- they do not come in through the records management process. Please don't hesitate to contact the University Archives with questions. 

What if I need to look at records after I have transferred them to the University Archives?

You are always welcome to look at the records in University Archives at Joyner Library. If they have been processed, they will be accessible for use in the research room. If they have not yet been processed (this is more likely if you transferred the records recently), then contact us and we will set up a time for you to come by and review the records.

What do I do if I think the records schedule is wrong or doesn't cover some of my records?

This happens occasionally. Sometimes new university, state, or federal guidelines are introduced that conflict with the instructions in the records schedule. If you think the records schedule is incorrect, please contact Records Management and we will help find a solution. We can work with the NC Division of Archives & Records to revise the records schedule as needed in order to make sure that it is up to date and reflective of current practices and laws. If you have records in your office that are not on the General Schedule that are not related to patient care, please contact Records Management. Patient care records are handled by the Director of Health Information Systems/Services in the Brody School of Medicine. If the determination is made that the non-patient records have historical value, they should be transferred to the University Archives. If the records are still actively being created and received, a "Request for Change in the University Records Schedule" can be made to the records analyst in the NC Division of Archives & Records' Government Records Section who is assigned to the UNC system. Similarly, if the records are inactive and do not have historical value, a "Request for Disposal of Unscheduled Records" can be submitted to the records analyst. 

I thought I was not supposed to get rid of any of the records in my office. Is that right?

Not really. It's true that all records created by ECU employees are subject to the State of North Carolina's Public Records Act, but the law does allow many records to be discarded. The UNC Records Retention and Disposition Schedule is the policy document that describes what records can be discarded and when and which ones need to be kept. If the records schedule says that certain documents do not need to be retained, you can get rid of them as long as you follow the proper procedures.

What do I do if I have a lot of older records that were created by somebody who does not even work here anymore?

Those records remain the responsibility of the office that created them. If you've inherited a lot of old records, talk with your supervisor about who in your office should take responsibility for reviewing the records to determine which ones, if any, need to be kept or transferred to the University Archives and which can be destroyed. Feel free to contact us as well, we're happy to provide suggestions.

I don't have time to look at and organize all of the records in my office. Can I just send them all to you?

No. Every department on campus must be responsible for managing the records in their office according to university and state guidelines. However, we are available to visit your office and look through your records with you and talk about strategies for getting organized and managing the records in your office.