6900P Records and Email Retention (Procedures)

Original Date: 1/11/1995 * Last Revision Effective: 5/12/23
Policy Contact: Vice President, Administrative Services


The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing policy #6900 Records Retention.


Retaining Records

All offices, departments and divisions of the college will work with the office of the vice president of administrative services to ensure that:

  • Records are maintained and disposed of according to applicable retention schedules.
  • Non-active records are regularly shifted to the records center at least once a year for long-term storage and preservation, according to instructions available on the records management webpage.
  • Records are protected from damage and loss by following guidance from the Washington State Archives and Records Management division.
  • The college is prepared to recover or replace essential records damaged by fire, flood or other disaster by following guidance issued by the State Archives and Records Management division.
  • All electronic and non-electronic information systems shall preserve the integrity and accessibility of the public records they hold for the duration of the established retention periods.
  • Records will be made accessible for public inspection and their security will be maintained according to the provisions of the Washington State Public Records Act.

Email Records

Information Technology Services (ITS) has responsibility for institutionally retaining the content of all incoming and outgoing communication, transmission, and receipt data (metadata), transactional information, and any attachments associated with email messages processed by college email systems. These records will be retained for a period of eight (8) years after the message was sent or received.

Instant and Text Messaging Records

Instant messages generated internally through college technology systems will be retained institutionally by ITS in the same manner as email records.

The retention of instant messaging or text messages generated through technology systems external to the college (e.g., a business or personal cell phone) that are also records of any transaction of college business must be retained within the unit by the individuals generating the record. Instructions for retaining this material can be found on the records management webpage.

Webpage and Other Electronic Records

  • Administrators of units generating public records with or through webpages must work with the college records officer to inventory and include electronic records of web content in their retained materials for the period established by approved records retention schedules.
  • Decisions regarding which websites require preserved electronic copies will be based on the retention requirements for the specific information contained in the sites, as determined by the administrators of units maintaining those websites and in accordance with approved records retention requirements.
  • Administrators and units should develop their own internal unit processes for meeting the requirements of these procedures. Full backups of websites on appropriate storable media may be used to create retained and archival copies of web content.
  • Any other electronic records created by college employees which are considered a public record, including audio and video files, must be appropriately maintained, and disposed of by that employee.

Records Disposition

The automatic purging of institutional records older than eight years does not prohibit unit administrators from establishing written administrative processes to delete non-archival electronic unit data sooner, provided those records have reached the end of their legal retention period.

Records will be withheld from planned disposition if they are a part of a lawsuit, pending litigation, or a public records request.


Violations of these procedures may result in sanctions and may also constitute a state, local or federal criminal offense. The range of disciplinary sanctions includes:

  • Loss of access to BC information technology resources;
  • Disciplinary action, taken in accordance with appropriate procedures as established by the vice president of human resources;
  • Dismissal from the college; and/or
  • Legal action.


All employees of the college will work to ensure that:

  • Only active records are stored in college data repositories, such as hard drives and network file sharing locations, or in physical campus spaces, such as offices.
  • Non-active records are regularly disposed of according to the disposition procedure identified on the applicable records retention schedule.

Information Technology Services (ITS) will purge all electronic data and email older than eight years that is stored on college systems and has not been specifically moved to designated long-term storage locations.

The college records officer will consult with representatives of the Washington State Archives to coordinate the transfer of physical and electronic archival records to the state archives.


All definitions pertaining to these procedures and to all information security policies, procedures and standards, are centralized in the Information Security Definitions standards document.

Relevant Laws and Other Resources

Revision History

Original 1/11/1995
Revisions 1/11/2005; 5/10/2005; 5/21/2009, 8/31/2010, 11/30/2010; 9/24/2012; 10/19/2015: 6/29/2021; 5/12/23

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated October 30, 2023