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John Hay Library, Brown University Archives

Record Retention Schedule


The Brown University Record Retention Schedule establishes the University’s official timetable for the retention and disposition of University records.

Definition of "record": A Brown University "record" is defined as: "information in any tangible format used to conduct 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." Because a University record includes any record in any tangible format, this policy includes hard copies, such as paper and photographs, and electronically stored information (ESI) such as e-mail and audio files.

All University records should be maintained during the period in which they are in active use to carry out University functions. A record may be destroyed after active use ends unless specified in the following schedules.

Organization of the schedule: There is one schedule with University functions into which records are classified.

Schedules: There is one schedule that specifies: (1) the retention period of records; (2) the record custodian; and (3) the method of disposition of a record if it is not to be permanently maintained. As used within this schedule the following terms have the following meaning:

  • Custodian: A person within a department 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 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 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.

View Record Retention Schedule

Electronic Mail

Note as to Electronic Mail archived by the University through central electronic storage systems. This does not preempt a custodian’s retention of records in electronic form in accordance with the Record Retention Schedule.

E-mail of ungraded staff and staff grades 12 and above: 5 years

E-mail of staff grades 11 and below and faculty: Not archived

E-mail of students: Not archived as not a university record

E-mail of all others with a brown e-mail account: Not preserved as a university record


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