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Email Retention



The electronic mail (email) retention policy is intended to help employees and students determine what information sent or received by email should be retained and for how long. This policy is meant to address typical records that may be contained in email and does not necessarily reference other types of records, such as paper or other types of electronic files or data. Those records are covered in depth by the State Board for Community and Technical College (SBCTC) record retention policy and may be viewed at

The information covered in these guidelines includes, but is not limited to, records that are either stored or shared via email.

All employees must familiarize themselves with this email retention policy and retention policies specific to their department or division.


This email retention policy is secondary to the SBCTC retention policy; any current public record requests for specific public records; and any litigation hold notices for records in response to potential litigation. The sender is responsible for retaining emails within the college. The recipient is responsible for retaining emails that originate outside the college. Email retention is generally subject to the following common category and retention periods:

  1. Transitory administrative records: Records which have no administrative, legal, fiscal, or archival requirement for their retention. These records include personal messages and announcements not related to business; information-only copies; copies of published materials; duplicate copies; preliminary drafts; internal requests for information; transmittal memos; reservations and confirmation; routine college admission letters. (Retain until administrative need is satisfied).
  2. Routine correspondence: Routine correspondence concerning day-to-day office administration and activities. These records include intra-agency correspondence; routine correspondence with other agencies; and correspondence with the public on routine matters. This category does not include executive level correspondence or correspondence concerning policies and procedures. (Retain for 30 days).
  3. Executive level documentation: These records include correspondence and memos at the executive level to and from public officials, the public, and others, concerning policy issues, concerns, actions, or issues. (Retain for 4 years in the CEO’s office).
  4. Non-executive planning and working files: These records include project design plans, survey forms, charges, diagrams, statistics, preliminary analysis reports, research materials, drafts, and other documentation related to management studies, non-fiscal audits, surveys, and planning studies. (Retain for 2 years in originating offices or designated office).


Email and any attachments, containing confidential information shall be encrypted from the sending device to the receiving device. The sending organization must be able to un-encrypt and retrieve originating version of sent message.

Encrypted communications of confidential information should be stored in a manner consistent with college policy, but in general, information should be stored in a decrypted format unless it is confidential personnel, business, protected health or financial information.


When a lawsuit is filed – or reasonably anticipated – the college has a duty to take special precautions to prevent the loss of potentially-relevant electronic data. Unless circumstances require a different approach, the following protocol will be followed to comply with these legal obligations.

  1. Document Preservation Plan
    When a lawsuit is commenced against the college – or information is received such that a lawsuit is reasonably anticipated – human resources should develop a preservation plan outlining the immediate steps that need to be taken. The plan should generally include some or all of the following basic steps:
    1. Identify the operating unit and individuals who might possess electronic data;
    2. Send a litigation hold to the appropriate individuals; and
    3. Designate a specific person to coordinate and serve as a contact

Approved by the president’s cabinet: 8/5/08
Adopted by the board of trustees: 11/19/08
Last reviewed: __/__/__
Policy contact: Technology

Related policies and procedures
None identified at this time