The University of Wisconsin System Administrative General Records Schedule applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions. In order to facilitate efficient records management for University employees, this general schedule is provided in narrative format.


The University of Wisconsin System comprises fifteen distinct institutions, many of which create and receive records that are similar in purpose and utility. In the interest of efficiency, therefore, this records schedule identifies categories of records resulting from processes commonly associated with health services. The identified processes are common to all University of Wisconsin institutions.This document also provides guidance to University System employees regarding what does and does not comprise a public record, which will in turn allow University employees to retain for a discrete time period and thereafter destroy expired public records, as well as those materials that do not comprise public records. The UW-System must manage all student records to ensure systematic control from creation or receipt through processing, distribution, maintenance, retrieval, retention and final disposal.

II. SCOPE: The records schedules described within this document include the following records:

a. Policies and Procedures
b. Calendars and Schedules
c. Alphabetical/Topical Files
d. Grant Documentation—Non-Financial
e. Planning Documentation
f. Reorganization Documentation
g. Organizational Charts
h. Transition Briefings
i. University Organized Conference Records
j. External Complaints
k. Legal Notices
I. Public Records Requests
m. Agreements and Contracts
n. Unit/Department Training/Course Materials
o. University Publications
p. University Speeches/Presentations
q. University Recorded Performances/Events (non-athletic)
r. Agendas/Minutes
s. Meeting Recordings
t. Voting Materials—Elections to Committees
u. Voting Materials—Executive Committee Actions
v. Routine Activity/Production Reports
w. Annual/Summary Reports
x. Accreditation Reports
y. Federal Lobbying Reports
z. Surveys/Questionnaires—Non-Academic
aa. Outside Activity Reports
bb. Statements of Economic Interest


a. Preservation of Historical Documents. Historically, University records have been preserved in paper files. Presently, however, advances in technology are beginning to present a viable alternative to paper records: electronic data stored in computer systems. Using electronic data to store University records presents a potentially fatal flaw, however, because electronic data decays overtime. Thus, unlike paper records, with the passage of time electronic records lose information as it randomly slips away in bite-sized chunks, unless software updates are consistently purchased, installed, and maintained.Because of this aspect of information technology systems, records storage within an information system must comply with the legal requirements set forth in Regent Policy Document 3-2: University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management; and Chapter Administrative 12: Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements. Please carefully review these documents prior to storing official copies of public records upon information systems and if you have questions or concerns, then please seek assistance from the records officer at their respective University of Wisconsin institution.

b. Use of the Systems Approach. To as great extent as possible, the records schedules included within this document were developed using a systems approach. That is, the substantive information contained within an individual document, rather than the document's format, is the basis for the descriptor of each department. This is because the format for some documents is dynamic in nature and subject to administrative change. Thus,the descriptors for each document are as comprehensive as possible without relying upon format or form names. Due to these changes, however, there may be instances in which an individual records schedule does not reflect the exact title or name of a form as used by the originator of a document. In such cases, if a University employee has difficulty determining whether a document comprises a record by reviewing the descriptive information contained within both the document and a records schedule,then employees seek assistance from the records officer at their respective University of Wisconsin institution.

c. Minimum Retention Established and Permanent Retention Procedure. The records schedules included within this document establish minimum retention periods for each type of record. The disposition of each record is assumed to be destruction after its minimum retention period.However, expired records may be retained, for as long as they are needed as a resource for performing future projects on behalf of the University of Wisconsin.

d. Materials That Do Not Comprise Public Records. Under Wisconsin law, many materials do not comprise public records. Therefore, non-records should be retained only so long as they are useful as a resource for performing the transaction of public business on behalf of the University of Wisconsin System.Thereafter, in the interest of efficiency and proper resource management,they should be destroyed.The following materials are not public records, under Wis. Stats.&& 16.61and 19.35.

1. Duplicates. Public records do not include duplicate copies of records, the original copies of which are in the custody of an office contained within the University of Wisconsin System Administration, and which are maintained by a University employee only for convenience orreference and for no substantive purpose.

2. Unsolicited Notices or Invitations. Public records do not include unsolicited notices or invitations received by a University employee, which are not related to any official action taken,proposed, or considered by the University of Wisconsin System.

3. Drafts, Notes and Preliminary Computations. Public records do not include drafts, notes,preliminary computations, and like materials, but only if they are intended for personal use by a University employee or prepared by a University employee in the name of the person for whom the employee is working.

4. Routing Slips and Envelopes. Public records do not include Routing slips and envelopes.

5. Personal Materials. Public records do not include materials that are the personal property of a University employee and that have no relation to his or her office.Please note that non-records should be destroyed as soon as possible, concurrent with the time at which they are no longer useful as a resource for performing the transaction of public business on behalf of the University. Moreover, personal materials should neither be created nor retained by a University during the regular course of business.Also note that if non-records are retained beyond the time they are no longer useful as are source for performing the public business on behalf of the University, then under Wisconsin law, duplicates, unsolicited notices, invitations, routing slips and envelopes would have to be turned over to a requester in response to a relevant public records request, and in response to audit or litigation proceedings. See Wisconsin Statute 13.94,19.35, and 804.01.

e. Schedule Does Not Require Creation of Records 

It is understood that not all UW-System Campuses may have all the types of records listed in this schedule. This schedule does not require records to be created by UW-System Campuses. It provides policy guidance for those records that are used by UW-System Campuses.


All recommended dispositions stated within this schedule may be carried out by University of Wisconsin institutions without further consultation or approval from the University of Wisconsin Archives, legal services, or internal audit with the following exceptions:

a. Public Records Request. If a public records request is received by an office for any record or records included within this schedule, then the record (s) cannot be destroyed until the request is granted, or until at least sixty days after the date the request is denied. Court orders may extend this time period. If necessary and upon request, the Office of General Counsel will provide guidance to University of Wisconsin institutions regarding public record requests.

b. Litigation or Audit. Each University of Wisconsin institution must not only retain records that are the subject of pending litigation or audit, but also suspend any disposition of those records until such time as the litigation or audit is completed. Requests for records relating to open audits must be filed with the University of Wisconsin institution involved in the audit.

Administrative Rule 12, Electronic Records Management

General record schedules cover records in all media. Administrative Rule 12, Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements, became effective May 1, 2001. The rule and related information regarding records management for electronic records can be found at detail.asp?linkcatid=761&linkid=127&locid=0&sname. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that public records in electronic format are preserved,maintained, and remain accessible for their designated retention period. Because of frequent technological change, including hardware and software obsolescence and media degradation,agencies must take steps to manage and protect electronic records for as long as they are needed.To meet business needs and protect the legal, financial and historical interests of internal business operations and Wisconsin citizens, agencies must prepare and execute migration plans for electronic records as necessary to prevent them from becoming inaccessible during their retention periods.