University Records Management Update

February 24, 2021

This message was sent to current records stewards.

Dear Records Stewards,

Since Mahnaz’s departure in mid-November, we have been working on next steps for the University’s Records Management program. I want to share some updates with you, and bring you in the loop on a few projects we’ve been working on.  

Records Management Committee
Given the hiring freeze and uncertain budget situation, a decision was made not to immediately hire a replacement for Mahnaz. Instead, (and this was actually Mahnaz’s idea), we’ve been working on assembling a University Records Management Committee with representatives from Information Services, UO Libraries, Business Affairs Office, Office of the General Counsel, Public Records, University Communications, and Human Resources. I am hopeful that this interdisciplinary committee can not only help determine priorities, but think creatively about how our institution can integrate, and automate to the extent possible, the work of records management so it can be woven into the fabric of our daily work.  A draft charter for this committee is currently under review.  The email remains active and is checked regularly.

Chat Auto-Retention Project
One initiative that is already underway in partnership with Information Services is an auto-retention project that will affect some of the chat features in Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype for Business. Beginning June 30th, a 180-day retention will be applied to those platforms, meaning anything older than January 1, 2021, will be deleted. After June 30th, any affected chats will automatically be deleted after 180 days and will be irretrievable. Importantly, this does not affect any chats in Teams Channels, only chats in the Teams Chat feature. More on this project, including details of what will be affected, will be coming soon, but I wanted you all to be among the first to hear about it.

Records Inventories and Records Management Program Implementation
With the decision to hold off on rehiring a University Records Manager, we also decided to continue down the path that began in response to the pandemic, which is rather than attempt a university-wide implementation of the Records Management Program, we would let units determine the best quarter of 2021 for them to complete their records inventories, and we would build out the resources on the Records Management website and the Records Stewards SharePoint site so it could be largely self-serve.  A refresh of the records management website is currently underway and I am excited to share that with you soon.

To the dozen or so units who had planned to complete their inventories in the first quarter of this year—I’m sorry!  I am working on resolving some technical issues with the inventory tool and hope to have everything up and running by the end of next month.  If you still need to designate a quarter to complete the inventory for your unit, you can do so here

Records Destruction
I’ve received a number of questions about destroying records. We had asked units to pause on destruction in 2020 until folks had created their inventories, which can help both identify materials that can be destroyed, and document their destruction. If your unit needs to dispose of records before your unit is scheduled to implement its records inventory, email, and I’ll send you a destruction log template and instructions.

Records Storage and Digitization Vendor - ACCESS
In partnership with UO Libraries and Purchasing and Contracting Services, we’ve completed an RFP and established a contract with a vendor named ACCESS who can both store and digitize records. They will come to campus, pick up your inactive records, and digitize them into a platform where you can access the digital versions through a portal. When those records meet retention, ACCESS can also confidentially destroy them with documentation of the destruction. If this is something your unit might be interested in, email and I can help put you in touch with the vendor.

Phew! That was a lot. Please let me know if you have questions about any of these updates, and stay on the lookout for more updates in the near future. Thank you for your patience and I look forward to connecting again soon.

Julia Cohalan
Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff
Office of the Vice President and General Counsel