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Personnel Records: Content and Preservation
This document provides information and links to the University's policies on record retention.
Policies governing personnel records are found in several places, including ASPP Chapter 11, The Personnel File, Faculty Senate Document 348, Policy Statement on Departmental Personnel Records, policy on University Archives and the UW Archives & Records Management (ARMS) website, These sources address the questions of the purpose and content of departmental personnel records, who may have access to them and for what purposes, and the confidentiality of these records. Briefly, personnel records should ordinarily contain only information relevant to the staff member's status and performance as an employee and to the commitments made to and by him or her. Individual staff members may inspect their own files, except as limited by portions of the "confidentiality" policies, and may add statements to the files concerning material in them. Other members of the University staff may have access to the files only when the information sought is related to a legitimate University purpose. For information on the release of public records, please refer to the Office of Legal Affairs website.
In the case of graduate students who are also employees (in particular, teaching or project assistants), departments should recognize and distinguish between employment records and student records.
ARMS has the dual mission of securing and preserving the University's historical and permanently valuable recordings, and of assisting campus offices with their records management needs. Approval of the Archivist is required before University records may be destroyed. It is particularly important to retain adequate documentation of the job application and hiring process. ARMS offers general guidance about records management, as well as specific information about system-wide policies on maintaining personnel, payroll, and criminal background check records.
For more information, contact ARMS at (608) 265-9287.