FAQs

General

How do I order the required boxes?

Boxes may be purchased from MSU Stores or Spartan Marketplace. The stock number is 17005000-Box, Archive. The boxes are available in any quantity.

Do I have to use the required boxes?

Yes, you must use the required boxes. If records arrive at the Archives in incorrect boxes, Archives staff will re-box the materials at a cost of $5 per box. Offices can avoid paying this fee by sending materials to the Archives in the correct boxes or by accepting return of the materials and re-boxing them in their office.

How should I label the boxes?

Correctly labeled boxes are important for accountability and retrieval of records. Once you are given a tracking/inventory number by the UAHC staff, you can label the boxes. All information needs to be labeled on the boxes below the top of the box cover:

  • Write the tracking/inventory number (R.xxxx) directly on one end of each box with an indelible marker. Do not attach adhesive labels to the box.
  • Write the box number (e.g., Box 1 of 10, Box 2 of 5, Box 1 of 1) near the tracking number. No additional information needs to be written on the box.
  • Make sure that the label information is visible when the box top is on.

Where can I find the University’s records retention schedules?

The University’s records retention schedule are available on our website here.

What is the difference between a specialized retention schedule and a general retention schedule?

The general retention schedule sets retention policies for records common to all offices across the campus. A specialized retention schedule sets retention policies for records that are specific to a department or unit. For more information regarding specialized schedules, contact UAHC staff at archives@msu.edu or 517-355-2330.

What if the records I have are not listed in an approved records schedule?

Some records are unique to a unit or office. If you cannot locate a record series (type of records) in the approved general retention schedule, please contact the UAHC staff at archives@msu.edu or (517) 355-2330 for assistance. Provide information about the records, including the name/type, use, and whether your office is the official keeper of this record. The UAHC staff will either direct you to the correct record series for the records in question or assist in creating a new record series and obtaining the approval for use.

How do I transfer materials to the Archives?

The process of transferring records to the Archives is outlined here. Information on transferring electronic records to the Archives can be found here. For additional assistance, contact University Archives staff at 517-355-2330 or at archives@msu.edu.  

How do I get materials returned if needed?

If you need access to the inactive records that UAHC stores for your office, contact the UAHC staff at (517) 355-2330 or archives@msu.edu. If the retrieval request is urgent, please call with your request. Whether you call or email, you will need to provide the following information, which can be found on your copy of the transmittal/inventory form:

  • Tracking number
  • Box number
  • Folder number or title
  • Document number (if appropriate)
  • Person and office requesting the record

Typical delivery time for retrieved records is one to two days, but it may take up to a week under certain circumstances. Retrieved records must be returned promptly to UAHC in order to prevent misplacement or loss. For further information, contact the UAHC staff at (517) 355-2330.

Are there types of records that you will not accept?

Credit card receipts and medical records are not accepted. If you have confidential records that you are unsure can be transferred, please contact the UAHC staff to discuss these records.

MSU Archives cannot accept transfer of temporary records in electronic format at this time. These records must be maintained in the office of record until the retention period has passed.

Do I have to transfer my records to the Archives?

Transferring and storing university records with the Records Management program is not required; however, if you choose not to transfer records, your office is still responsible for following records retention schedules and guidelines, destroying records when the retention period has ended, and documenting records destruction using the In-Office Records Destruction Form.

I have records in my office that have reached the end of the retention period. Can I go ahead and destroy them?

All destruction of university records must first be approved by MSU Archives. To destroy records in your office, you must complete the In-Office Records Destruction Form available here and submit it to the Archives for review. DO NOT destroy university records until you have received approval from the Archives.

Records and Privacy

Are records at the university confidential?

Not all university records are open to public inspection. Exceptions are noted in university regulations.

How do I protect confidential records?

Confidential records should be maintained securely—both electronically and physically—and should be destroyed in a secure method. Please contact the UAHC staff at archives@msu.edu or (517) 355-2330 for more information.

What are the most common laws cited at MSU regarding confidential records?

There are two federal laws that cover confidentiality of many records series held at MSU:

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects access to student records.
  • Health Information Portability Protection Act (HIPPA) of 1996 protects access to individual medical records.

Additional state and federal laws and codes make other records confidential. This may include donor information, personal identification information, and the storage and use of Social Security numbers.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

What is a FOIA Request?

The FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, allows for the disclosure of public records by all public bodies in the state. The MI Freedom of Information Act is available here.

Michigan State University is considered a public body.

An individual must make a request for a record in writing to the FOIA Coordinator. The FOIA Coordinator is located in General Counsel.

I work in a University office, and I just received a FOIA request. What should I do?

Contact General Counsel. They will process the FOIA request appropriately.

Can anyone see my records?

In general, all public records except those cited as exceptions are subject under FOIA. For more information, contact General Counsel. 

Do I have to make drafts awaiting approval available to the public under FOIA?

Any record requested that is not exempt from FOIA must be provided when a request is received, whether it is “finished” or not.

Our old records are stored in the basement, the attic, or an off-site building. Do we have to provide them in case of a FOIA request?

As long as the records are not exempt, you must provide them in response to a FOIA request.

Scanning Documents

Can I scan my records?

Yes, the university allows offices to scan records and maintain them in electronic format as long as they comply with the protocol outlined in the State of Michigan’s Records Reproduction Act.

Are scanned records legal in audit or a court of law?

Yes, if you have scanned your documents in accordance with the protocol outlined below, an electronic copy is just as good as a paper record.

After I scan my documents, do I have to maintain the paper copy?

For EBS Scanning, the paper copy of supporting documentation must be maintained until the transaction is posted to the general ledger. This is usually a 30-Day period. After that point, the scanned document in KFS/EBS becomes the official record and the paper document can be confidentially shredded. Additional information on EBS Scanning is available here.

For non-EBS Scanning, if an office is scanning materials in accordance with the State of Michigan protocols, then the electronic copy becomes the official record, and the paper copy may be destroyed. However, Archives recommends that offices retain paper copies for six months to a year for quality control purposes in case there are errors with the scanning process.

Disaster Recovery

What should I do in case of fire or flood?

Secure the area and keep everyone out until fire or other safety professionals allow entry. Then call the UAHC staff at (517) 355-2330 for advice on how to handle damaged records.

What help do you give in case of an emergency?

UAHC can assist you in appraising the records that have been damaged so that precious resources are not spent on records with lesser value. UAHC can provide lists of professional recovery vendors that you can contact to preserve your essential and permanent records.

Records Management Training

What types of training do you offer?

Check our Education and Training web site for the latest information regarding classes. The University Records Manager is also available to visit offices for consultations or classes as needed.

Additional Information

Where can I get more information?

Contact the UAHC staff at (517) 355-2330 or archives@msu.edu or visit the UAHC Web site to obtain more information on records management issues and training.

 


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