View PDF Version










In order to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and University policies, all UNC-Chapel Hill employees, as well as contractors, vendors, volunteers, or any other person or agency creating records on behalf of the University, must retain and dispose of the Records they create or receive as part of their work at UNC-Chapel Hill according to the instructions in the University’s General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.


This policy applies to all University employees and UNC-Chapel Hill constituents.



The University is committed to responsible records management in order to preserve the history of the University and to minimize the cost and inefficiency of storing records beyond their necessary lifespan.  The University also takes seriously its responsibility to comply with applicable legal and policy requirements governing records management.

All University employees and UNC-Chapel Hill constituents are responsible for records management.  Department heads and directors must ensure that the records in their units are managed according to the University’s records management policy and standards.

The UNC-Chapel Hill General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (“the Records Schedule”) outlines specific standards for each type of record created or received by University units.  These standards include rules about how long records need to be retained, when they can be disposed of, and the types of records that must be transferred to the University Archives for permanent retention.

The University Archives, a department of the University Library, is the unit that oversees Records management and Disposition at UNC-Chapel Hill.  The University Archives provides training and consultation on records issues and maintains and updates the Records Schedule.

The State Archives of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, is the records management and disposition authority for the State of North Carolina under the North Carolina Archives and History Act (G.S. 121-4).  The State Archives of North Carolina has reviewed and approved the Records Schedule.  All revisions and updates to the Records Schedule will be developed in consultation with the State Archives.

Revisions to the Records Schedule will be made as necessary to account for changes to University practices and policies and in order to ensure continued compliance with state and federal laws.  Revision of the Records Schedule requires input from stakeholders across campus and will not be officially adopted until the revised Records Schedule has been formally approved by the University Archivist, the Chancellor, the President of the UNC System, the State Archivist, and the Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.



As noted in the Records Schedule, any records that are subject to a legal hold must be preserved and are not eligible for disposition.  The Records Schedule retention and disposition requirements would apply again once the legal hold has been terminated by the Office of University Counsel.


Disposition: The transfer or destruction of records after they are no longer needed or required to be retained in the office.

Legal Hold: A direction from the Office of University Counsel instructing the recipient to preserve specified records.  A Legal Hold halts the scheduled disposition of any records that are potentially relevant to litigation, investigation, audit, or other official action.

Public Record: N.C. General Statutes Chapter 132, the North Carolina Public Records Act, provides this definition of public records: “‘Public record’ or ‘public records’ shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions.  Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (state or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government.”

Records: Any materials, regardless of format, produced by UNC-Chapel Hill employees or constituents in the transaction University business. For more details, the see the definition of Public Record, above, and N.C. General Statutes Chapter 132, the North Carolina Public Records Act.

Records Schedule: The UNC-Chapel Hill General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule is the procedural document that outlines official standards and procedures for the retention and disposition of records at UNC-Chapel Hill.  The Records Schedule is available online at

Retention: The act of maintaining records and ensuring that they are discoverable and accessible, usually for a specified amount of time.

UNC-Chapel Hill Constituents: UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, students, retirees, contractors, distance learners, visiting scholars and others who require UNC-Chapel Hill resources to work in conjunction with UNC-Chapel Hill.

Related Requirements


North Carolina Public Records Act (G.S. 132)

North Carolina Archives and History Act (G.S. 121)



UNC-Chapel Hill General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule

UNC-Chapel Hill Information Classification Standard


Contact Information


Nicholas Graham, University Archivist | 919-962-0042

Jessica Venlet, Assistant University Archivist | 919-962-4265

Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: May 9, 2017


Approved by



Nicholas Graham                                                                              Date: May 9, 2017

University Archivist