Email and Document Retention Policy


In the electronic age, it is important that complex organizations maintain rules regarding the retention and destruction of electronically stored information – information that is stored within emails, instant messages, voice mails, text messages, documents, spreadsheets, databases, files, metadata, images, diagrams, etc. This policy applies to every type of electronic media, including hard drives, thumb drives, computer memory, server storage, handheld devices, optical disks, etc. Written retention policies, coupled with evidence that the policy is routinely followed, are essential to show that the destruction of information was in good faith.

The ease with which electronic information can be generated, stored, altered, transmitted, and destroyed has complicated the discovery process, as has the sheer volume of information that is processed and the various formats in which it can be created, stored, and produced. Consequently, colleges and universities must now begin actively managing their electronically stored information. The purpose of this policy is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness while at the same time ensuring that legal and regulatory requirements associated with the retention and disposition of Cambridge College records/information are met.

The College is responsible for ensuring that appropriate departments implement records/information retention and disposition schedules – resulting in timely and appropriate disposal of records/information in accordance with schedule timeframes. Institutional email and document retention policies are of particular concern.

Cambridge College is required to have a legally defensible email and document management policy that brings the College into compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, lowers our infrastructure costs, and improves our operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Statement of Policy

Cambridge College will design and implement a series of processes to affect a fully functional document retention scheme. This will include a managed quota system to limit the unrestricted proliferation of personal and departmental documents, an email quota system that will impose specific actions by users to manage their volume of email and that will also enable automated processes that will remove deleted emails from the system on a regular basis.

The retention scheme will dictate that data is purged after a prescribed period of time (estimated at 2.5 years). In order to facilitate this policy, the College will utilize an automated retention system to manage and cull email messages that fall outside the retention window. Further, active emails on the Exchange mail platform will only be kept only for 180 days. Archival email will be available on the retention platform for a time determined by legal counsel.


The records of Cambridge College are important assets. College records include essentially all records you produce as an employee, whether paper or electronic. A record may be as obvious as a memorandum, an email, a contract or something not as obvious, such as a computerized desk calendar, an appointment book or an expense record.

The law requires the College to maintain certain types of business records, usually for a specified period of time. Failure to retain those records for those minimum periods could subject you and the College to penalties and fines, cause the loss of rights, obstruct justice, spoil potential evidence in a lawsuit, place the College in contempt of court, or seriously disadvantage the College in litigation.

The College expects all employees to fully comply with any published records retention or destruction policies and schedules, provided that all employees should note the following general exception to any stated destruction schedule: If you believe, or the College informs you, that College records are relevant to litigation, or potential litigation (i.e., a dispute that could result in litigation), then you must preserve those records until the General Counsel determines the records are no longer needed. That exception supersedes any previously or subsequently established destruction schedule for those records. If you believe that exception may apply or have any questions regarding the possible applicability of that exception, please contact the General Counsel’s office.

From time to time, the College establishes retention or destruction policies or schedules for specific categories of records in order to ensure legal compliance, and also to accomplish other objectives, such as preserving intellectual property and cost management. Several categories of documents that bear special consideration are identified below. While minimum retention periods are suggested, the retention of the documents identified below and of documents not included in the identified categories should be determined primarily by the application of the general guidelines affecting document retention identified above, as well as any other pertinent factors.

Student Records

State and federal statutes require the College to keep certain records pertaining to student admission, academic, financial aid and other records maintained by the Office of the Registrar. The College should also keep any correspondence relating to students written to or from the College or individual employees under applicable state and federal statutes. Student transcript records should be retained in perpetuity.


Tax records include, but may not be limited to, documents concerning payroll, expenses, business costs, accounting procedures, and other documents concerning the College's revenues, expenses and property. Accounting records should be retained for at least seven years from the date of filing the applicable return.

Employment Records/Personnel Records

State and federal statutes require the College to keep certain recruitment, employment and personnel information. The College should also keep personnel files that reflect performance reviews and any complaints brought against the College or individual employees under applicable state and federal statutes. The College should also keep all final memoranda and correspondence reflecting performance reviews and actions taken by or against personnel in the employee's personnel file. Employment and personnel records should be retained for six years after the employee terminates from the College.

Board and Board Committee Materials

Meeting minutes should be retained in perpetuity in the College's minute book. A clean copy of all Board and Board Committee materials should be kept for no less than ten years by the College.

Press Releases/Public Filings

The College should retain permanent copies of all press releases and publicly filed documents under the theory that the College should have its own copy to test the accuracy of any document a person or governmental agency can theoretically produce against that College.

Legal Files

The General Counsel should be consulted to determine the retention period of particular documents, but legal documents should generally be maintained for a period of ten years.

Recruiting and Promotional

The College should keep final copies of recruiting and promotional documents for the same period of time it keeps other business files, generally three years.


As to the contracts, leases, licenses and other legal documents, these documents should be kept for at least six years beyond the life of the agreement.

Final execution copies of all contracts entered into by the College should be retained. The College should retain copies of the final contracts for at least six years beyond the life of the agreement and longer in the case of contracts and other materials filed with governmental and regulatory agencies.

Electronic Mail

Email that needs to be saved should be either printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate file or downloaded to a computer file and kept electronically or on disk as a separate file.

The retention period depends upon the subject matter of the email, as covered elsewhere in this policy. Failure to comply with this Email and Document Retention Policy may result in disciplinary action against the employee, including suspension or termination. Questions about this policy should be referred to the General Counsel, who is in charge of administering, enforcing and updating this policy.

Policy Applies To

This policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff of Cambridge College and to all other users of the Cambridge College wireless network. These users are responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with this policy.

Individuals Responsible for Revision and Implementation: Director of Information Technology

Date of Original Implementation: October 2011

Date of Last Revision: October 2011