Source: Office of the Chancellor

All public records, regardless of format, including all records of the University, its offices and departments, and its faculty and staff, are subject to the Public Records Act, which forbids their destruction or disposition except in accordance with procedures established by the Public Records  Board. In April 2007, the Board of Regents issued Regent Policy 3-2: University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management which requires that campuses establish and carry out an effective records management program. Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter Adm 12 establishes legal requirements for the management of public records either created in or transferred to electronic format. The University Archivist is responsible for the implementation of these procedures on this campus. Persons wishing to remove from their offices or otherwise dispose of records must first consult the University Archivist, who will advise and assist them in complying with the law.

While authoritative interpretation of the law can be given only by the legal and judicial officers of the State, it is the understanding of the University Archivist that the Public Records Act has not generally been applied to the following:

  1. Informational matter, received by offices and departments, which is not germane to their official duties and responsibilities, which does not require any action or response on their part, and which is merely read, or temporarily posted as a convenience to others, before being discarded;
  2. Non-University catalogs, directories, and the like, kept in an office for reference purposes;
  3. The personal correspondence and papers of faculty and staff, arising out of their personal, private business or scholarly activities and having no connection with their status as officers or employees of the University or with their duties as such;
  4. The records of student and faculty groups of a voluntary-membership type; and
  5. The classnotes, papers, et cetera, of individual students.

Even if not subject to the Public Records Act, records of the last three types may be highly valuable for historical purposes. The University Archivist will welcome offers of such materials for inclusion in the University Archives.

Only a small part of the records produced in the routine operations of the University are worthy of or require preservation for more than a few years. Such records should be destroyed when their usefulness ends, lest they occupy valuable space and filing cabinets needed for other uses, but that cannot be done without the permission of the Public Records Board.

Most university records are already covered by General Records Schedules and Records Disposition Authorizations approved by the Board. Before disposing of any record, consult the University Archivist. If a Disposition Authorization exists for it, the Archivist may authorize disposal; if not, the Archivist can get an authorization issued.

See also: University Records - Access.

As amended 26 June 2014