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Records Management at Brown University

Brown University Records Retention Schedule


Brown University has created a policy that determines the retention and disposition of University records. This policy is called a Records Retention Schedule, it is used to identify and manage the records that document the activities and history of an organization and provides instructions on how long they need to be retained for administrative, legal, fiscal, and research purposes.

The policy is meant to be a tool for employees of Brown University to use while managing records of the University. It lists records found within the departments of the University and dictates the retention period and disposition method.


What is a Record?

A Brown University "record" is defined as: "information in any tangible format created or received which serves to document the affairs of the University or which must be maintained or stored for some period of time due to government regulation, generally accepted standards, or university mandate." A University record includes any record in any tangible format, including hard copies, such as paper and photographs, and electronically stored information (ESI) such as e-mail and audio files. Also known as the “official record” or “record copy”.

All University records should be maintained during the period in which they are actively used to carry out University functions. Records maybe destroyed after active use ends if they are a reference copy and NOT the record copy unless specified in the retention schedule. Record copies must be retained per the retention schedules regardless if they are considered active or inactive.

Departments that create and maintain records are responsible for determining the confidentiality and privacy status of the records and the information they contain within them. It is the responsibility of the departments to store and maintain records that contain sensitive information by securely storing them with restricted access. The confidentiality and privacy status of a record may be determined by University policy, Federal, State and/or local regulations and laws.


What is a Non-Record?

A “non-record” is any information, regardless of physical form or characteristic, created or received that DOES NOT serve to document the University, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the department; non-records may include, but are not limited to, copies of records for reference or convenience, personal correspondence, non-Brown publications, junk mail/spam, catalogs, journals, books, other library materials.

Unless otherwise specified, reference copies of records or non-records, which have been made or received purely for the sake of convenience and ease of access and are not the official record copy, can be destroyed when their reference value ends.


Organization of the Schedule

There is one scheduled organized by university functions into which records are classified.

The Schedule specifies: (1) title and description of records; (2) the retention period of records; (3) the record custodian; and (4) the method of disposition of a record if it is not to be permanently maintained.

Within this schedule the following terms have the following meaning:

  • Custodian: Office or Department of Record responsible for the physical storage, protection and disposition of records throughout their retention period.

  • Storage - Secure: Records that are to be stored in a secure manner though the use of administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect the security and integrity of the records.

  • Destroy: These records may be disposed of in the trash, recycling, or less secure digital destruction.

  • Destroy – Secure: These records are to be destroyed in a secure manner such as shredding, incineration, or secure digital destruction. Third party vendors performing destruction services are to be chosen from preferred vendors, contact the Purchasing Department to identify the preferred vendors.

The Schedule which is broken down into various university functions that contain categories of records. The University functions contained in the Schedules are as follows:

  1. Academic Records

  2. Admission & Financial Aid

  3. Advancement & Alumni Affairs

  4. Corporate Records

  5. Facilities

  6. Faculty

  7. Financial

  8. Health & Safety

  9. Human Resources

  10. Institutional Diversity

  11. International

  12. Insurance

  13. Inventions & Patents

  14. Sponsored Projects Contracts/Grants

  15. Safety & Security

  16. Student Affairs

Note: Units in the possession of scheduled records for which they are not a listed custodian or office of record are not bound by the scheduled retention period for the records. When deciding about disposing of the records, the unit should consult with the custodian prior to disposition.


Amending or Adding to the Retention Schedule

If you find that your department has records that are not listed in this schedule, please contact the Records Manager at If it is determined that the records are not addressed in the current schedule, we will work with you to develop a new series or amend an existing series to address your needs.


More Information

If you have questions or need help interpreting the Brown University Record Retention Schedule please contact the University’s Records Manager, Andrew Majcher at 401-863-1876 or You can also contact the Records Manager for records management training, presentations, consultations, and/or for general records management inquiries.

View Brown University Retention Schedule