Vital records contain information essential to the operation of the University. They allow for the University to recreate its legal and financial position and resume business more readily in the event of a disaster.
Vital records should not be confused with other records of great importance. While many important records would require much effort to reconstruct if lost, or if they have intrinsic historical value, they should not be considered vital. Additionally, a vital record may not need to be retained permanently. Records that are determined vital are a small portion of the total volume of records; some offices may not have vital records.
Ask these questions when determining whether records are vital:
- What records are absolutely necessary to resume operations?
- What records are necessary to protect assets and the legal and financial status of the University?
- What records are necessary to protect the University against risk?
- What records are necessary to preserve the rights and obligations of employees and students?
- Are other sources available, either inside or outside the University, from which the information can be retrieved?
Some common record types (and their related Function in the CRS) that tend to contain vital records include:
- Financial records (Financial)
- Employee records (Human Resources)
- Student academic records, particularly transcripts (Students)
- Insurance policy information (Legal & Regulatory)
- Ownership records (Property/Equipment)
- Major contracts and agreements (Legal & Regulatory)
- Corporate records (Administrative)
- Negotiable instruments (Financial)
Vital records are subject to periodic review and update. Use the Campus Retention Schedule to see records categories that may contain vital records. If you have records that fit within that category, evaluate them to see if they are vital. If so, mark on your schedule as such and ensure effective management of those records with appropriate backups as needed. Each office with vital records must be concerned with the protection of such records.