Records Management & Archives Handbook: Records Disposition


Each record has a life cycle that includes four distinct stages: creation, maintenance and use, retention, and disposition. This policy addresses disposition.

Departments are authorized to dispose of University records only in accordance with authorized records retention schedules, which are accessible through the Records Management and Archives Website. Records disposition must include all drafts, duplicate copies, and electronic copies, including copies to Marywood’s administrative server. Disposing of a record in some formats, even according to its approved records retention schedule, and retaining the record in any other format, can expose the University to legal liability. Electronic records are as easily subpoenaed as paper records. Occasionally, due to special circumstances such as pending litigation or an audit, records disposition needs to be suspended until the circumstances have passed. See Suspension of Records Disposition. When the authorized retention period for records has passed, and the Director of Records Management and Archives has not suspended disposition of the records, departments dispose of the records series using the authorized disposition method listed on the records retention schedule. The records disposition methods authorized at Marywood University include general disposition, confidential destruction, and transfer to the Archives.

Marywood University must be able to document a high level of consistency in records disposition. For this reason, even after records are destroyed, their data remains in the Records Management and Archives Database, flagged as disposed.


General disposition. Records scheduled for general disposition do not contain private or sensitive information.

Confidential destruction. Records scheduled for confidential destruction contain private or sensitive information such as birth dates, social security numbers, financial information, grades, or personnel information.

Transfer to the Archives. This involves sending records to the University Archives for permanent retention and preservation. See Archival Acquisition and Transfer of Archival Records.

Electronic Records are records stored on electronic storage media that can be readily accessed or changed. Some examples of electronic records are e-mail messages; all types of files and folders stored on a computer’s hard drive, floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, and microfilm; and files and folders which have been copied to the University’s administrative server.


  1. The Department Records Coordinator retains the records for the designated retention period (see Records Retention) and then disposes of records with the approval of the Head of the Department.

    • General disposition requires recycling, whenever possible, or destroying hard copies and deleting electronic copies.
    • Confidential destruction requires shredding or destroying hard copies and deleting electronic copies.
    • Transferring records to the Archives requires following the instructions in Archival Acquisition and Transfer of Archival Records for inventorying, packing, and transporting materials.

  2. After disposing of records, the Department Records Coordinator notifies the Director of Records Management and Archives, via e-mail, of which records have been disposed of and the date and method by which records disposition took place.