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Records Management: TCC Email Retention Procedures and Guidelines

This document provides all of the information necessary in order to request a records management meeting from the Northeast Campus Library.

Procedures and Guidelines

Tulsa Community College

Email Retention Procedures and Guidelines

Submitted by:

Andy K. Taylor, MLIS

Knowledge Management Librarian

and Records Management Coordinator

Tulsa Community College

 

Purpose Statement:

The purpose of Tulsa Community College’s Email Retention Guidelines and Procedures is to maintain, protect, preserve, retain, and dispose of email records in accordance with the operational needs, governmental regulations, and fiscal and legal requirements under which Tulsa Community College operates.  These guidelines shall serve as a working document that covers the life-cycle of email records belonging to Tulsa Community College employees from inception to disposition.  The following records management aspects will be included:

  • Summary of email messages and records retention
  • Email and electronic messages (including text and IM) as part of the Oklahoma Open Records Act and the Oklahoma Records Management Act
  • Special Note on the Use of Text and IM for the Transaction of College Business
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Types of email messages:
    • Transitory messages
    • Lasting value messages
  • IM and Text Messaging
  • Email Storage and General Email Retention Period
  • Litigation Holds
  • Records Management Coordinator Contact Information

Summary of email messages and records retention:

All electronic communication used in the transaction of business at Tulsa Community College may be considered a record.  There are three components of an electronic message that may deem it a record.  These components consist of:

  • Textual messages
  • Metadata (To, From, Subject, Date, Time, etc.)
  • Any attachments connected to an electronic message (such as an email attachment)

The above components combine to determine whether or not an email is a record.  It is important to note that email is considered a record based on its content (like all electronic communications).  In other words, if the content of the email contains information essential to the function of Tulsa Community College, it then becomes a record.  Emails of this type may contain:

  • Policies, guidelines, procedures, directives, etc.
  • Correspondence relating to official business of the College
  • Meeting minutes
  • Documents that authorize or complete a business transaction
  • Admission documentation
  • Student information
  • Employee information
  • Financial information
  • Etc.

Email and electronic messages (including text and IM) as part of the Oklahoma Open Records Act and the Oklahoma Records Management Act:

Due to the fact that the Consolidated General Records Disposition Schedule for the State of Oklahoma does not address electronic messages such as text and IM, the Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma issued AG Opinions in both 2001 and 2009 addressing this problem.  The opinions state:

2009:

E-mails, text messages, and other electronic communications made or received in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administration of public property, are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, 51 O.S.2001 & Supp.2008, §§ 24A.1 - 24A.29, and the Records Management Act, 67 O.S.2001, §§ 201 - 215, regardless of whether they are created, received, transmitted, or maintained by government officials on publicly or privately owned equipment and communication devices, unless some provision of law makes them confidential.

2001:

1. So long as the item is connected with the transaction of official business, the expenditure of public funds, or the administration of public property, electronic mail created by or received by either a State public body or a public body of a political subdivision constitutes a record which is subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, 51 O.S. 1991 & Supp. 2000, §§ 24A.1 to 24A.26.

2. So long as the item is connected with the transaction of official business, the expenditure of public funds, or the administration of public property, electronic mail created by or received by a State agency is subject to the Records Management Act, 67 O.S. 1991 & Supp. 2000, §§ 201 to 215.

6. Under the Records Management Act, 67 O.S. 1991 & Supp. 1999, §§ 201 to 215, it is the responsibility of both the sender and receiver to preserve electronic messages sent between agencies. Concerning intra-agency mail, it is the responsibility of only the sender to preserve electronic messages. When dealing with both inter- and intra-agency e-mails, the length of time a record – whether paper or electronic – must be kept is determined by a variety of factors, including the contents of the record. The length of time a record must be retained involves questions of fact beyond the scope of an Attorney General Opinion. 74 O.S. Supp. 2000, § 18b(A)(5).

Special Note on the Use of Text and IM for the Transaction of College Business:

Please be advised that any and all messages transmitted through both privately-owned and school-owned devices are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act and any Freedom of Information Requests received by the College. Any individual that conducts business for the College through text messages and/or instant messages waives any and all expectations of privacy.  Additionally, any type of record (including text messages relating to any and all College business) must be held for stipulated retention periods per the General Records Disposition Schedule for the State of Oklahoma.

Roles and Responsibilities:

The individuals responsible for the retention and disposition of email and electronic records at Tulsa Community College are as follows:

Paula Settoon, Dean of Libraries and Knowledge Management – Agency Official of Record

Andy K. Taylor – Records Management Coordinator - Tulsa Community College

Christy Bunch – Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure - Tulsa Community College

**Please address any and all questions concerning the retention of email and electronic messages to:

Andy K. Taylor, MLIS

Knowledge Management Librarian

and Records Management Coordinator

Tulsa Community College

Northeast Campus Library

3727 E. Apache, Rm. 1362

Tulsa, OK 74115

918-636-2732

andy.taylor@tulsacc.edu

Types of Email Messages:

Transitory Messages:

These types of messages are informational in nature and not considered records.  These types of messages usually consist of routine communications between employees, and they are not governed by the retention rules for the State.

Lasting Value Messages:

These types of message are governed by the retention rules for the State, and they are considered records.  This includes any type of message that deals with the transaction of business for Tulsa Community College.  These types of messages would include information relating to:

  • Administrative actions
  • Assignment of work or tasks
  • Reports or recommendations
  • Policies, guidelines, procedures, workflows, etc.
  • Legal or evidentiary information about the College
  • Fiscal or historical information about the College
  • Any information critical to maintaining operational continuity after a disaster or a disruption in service

Email Storage and General Retention Period:

Each employee of the College is responsible for retaining and preserving their own emails in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Archives and Records Commission for the State of Oklahoma.  As mentioned before, the retention of email records is determined by the content of the email. Some emails and electronic messages must be maintained permanently (either in electronic or paper format).  In order to preserve, retain, and dispose of emails in the best possible manner, the following changes have been or will be implemented:

  • All emails relating to College business sent or received by the President’s Executive Team and the TCC Cabinet will be preserved permanently.  This satisfies the retention requirements for the following series of the Consolidated General Records Disposition Schedule and was instituted on April 13th, 2016:
  • 1-3 [President's File]
  • 1-4 [Governing Board]
  • All emails being sent or received by employees of Tulsa Community College (with the exception of the President’s Executive Team and the TCC Cabinet) will have a standard retention of 5 years. 
  • Most emails containing financial information for the College have a retention period of 7 years.  In order to properly retain these emails, all emails from employees in the Purchasing Department will be retained for a full 7 years before deletion can occur.
  • In all instances above, the Records Management Coordinator for the College, along with the Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure, will handle the paperwork and processes for the destruction of the emails once the retention period has expired.

Litigation Holds:

  • In order for email records to be made available for legal purposes, it is necessary to add an additional retention period to the stipulated amount of time. This extension is typically for two years after the exhaustion of all legal remedies.  For example, if an email containing financial information for the college is being used in legal proceedings, the email would not be eligible for deletion until two years after all legal action has been completed.  In most cases, financial records must be held for 7 years, so this would mean that the record would be retained for 9 years.

Contact Information:

Please direct all questions to:

Andy K. Taylor, MLIS

Knowledge Management Librarian

and Records Management Coordinator

Tulsa Community College

Northeast Campus Library

3727 E. Apache

Tulsa, OK 74115

andy.taylor@tulsacc.edu

918-595-7734

Knowledge Management Librarian

Andy Taylor's picture
Andy Taylor
Contact:
Knowledge Management Librarian
Northeast Campus Library
Rm. 1362
918.595.7734
Website
Subjects:Education, Media

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