Records Management Policy

Policy Summary

The university is committed to effective records management that includes meeting operational needs and legal requirements for record retention and privacy protection, optimizing the use of space, minimizing the cost of record retention, and properly disposing of outdated records.

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Contractors
  • Any persons or entities who generate, receive, and maintain records on behalf of the university


The university requires that its records be managed in a systematic and logical manner. 

University records are the official materials created in the course of the university’s operations, contain administrative or business value, and memorialize university’s activities, transactions and decisions (“University Records”).

University Records may be physical or digital documents, and may take the form of email, instant messages, paper documents, enterprise database information, photographs, video, audio, drawings, or any media that houses what is considered a University Record.

Some forms of communication may be transitory (temporary) in nature, such as instant messages and emails. If such forms of communication contain information with administrative or business value that should be preserved as a University Record, they can be memorialized by transferring the information to a more permanent form and repository, as needed. Refer to the Records Management Procedures for additional guidance.

University Records that include regulated or restricted university data, should be classified and protected in accordance with the type of data therein.  Refer to the Data Classification and Protection Guide for additional guidance.

Records created, received, or recorded outside the scope of employment with the university are not considered University Records.

Schools and divisions (“Data Custodians”) that maintain University Records are responsible for establishing an appropriate records management plan, in accordance with the Personal Information and Privacy Policy, Data Classification and Protection Guide, Records Management Procedures, and the University Records Schedule.

The University Records Schedule provides timeframes for the retention and disposal of University Records in accordance with applicable legal, regulatory, accreditation, and other standards, including recommended best practices.

Any documents or records, including but not limited to documents or records that are not considered University Records, that are the subject of a document preservation or “legal hold” notice issued by the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (“OGC”), shall be retained at least until OGC advises that they are no longer subject to that notice, notwithstanding anything in this Policy and the Records Management Procedures to the contrary.  OGC will provide guidance on storage or destruction of any documents related to pending or anticipated litigation.

University Records that may have long term historical, administrative, or archival value to the University should also be included in the records management plan.

The University Archives is the official repository of the university with a mandated responsibility to preserve the historically valuable documentation of university units and individuals, including faculty, staff, and administrators. As such, it has the duty and authority to collect, appraise, describe, preserve, and make available University Records of enduring value after resolution to any pending legal matter and expiration of applicable records retention period.

Data Custodians should have their school's or division's records management plan reviewed by the Privacy Office in accordance with the Records Management Procedures.

Data Custodians should also identify an individual to serve in the role of Records Manager for their school or division, and be responsible for implementing the respective records management plan. This individual should be in a position with sufficient knowledge and understanding of the operations and business needs of the school or division.


Related Information


Contact Phone Number Email Address
GW Privacy Office   Email Us
University Archives 202-994-7295  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Associate Vice President & Data Privacy Officer
Responsible Office: Privacy Office

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.