Records Management

The Archives at the Zhang Legacy Collection Center collects, preserves and provides access to the official records of Western Michigan University.

Records should be transferred to the Archives according to the schedule below. The Archives accepts records where the referral destination indicates “Archives.” Records where the referral destination indicates "Destroy" or “Notify Archivist for review” should be retained by the originating department until the records retention period is met.  

For additional information, see WMU’s record retention guideThe Archives will accept records with retention periods of eight or more years. The Archives will not accept records with retention periods of seven years or less. 

Are you not sure which records to send to the Archives? Contact the Archives Curator. Contact Freight Services about the physical transfer of records to the Archives.

Request records transfer/disposal

Retention and disposal schedule

Item descriptionNormal period of retentionReferral (destination)
Minutes: Of staff meetings, committees or other groups functioning for the office.3 yearsArchives
Correspondence.3 yearsArchives
Reports, Annual Reports, or reports prepared on department activities.3 yearsArchives
Policies, Procedures, Regulations: Official that concern office operations.3 years after expirationArchives
Publications, Catalogs, BulletinsWhile usefulArchives
Budget Material: Office copies of records prepared for the budget, such as Budget Allotment Summary, Personal Service Lists, Budget Request Data, and correspondence and information relative to budget adjustments.AuditDestroy
Cash Receipts: Copies of cash receipts, cash reports, payable vouchers, data processing runs.AuditDestroy
Telegraph and Telephone: Billing and payment records (including those in special grants), records of long distance calls, etc.AuditDestroy
Payroll: Attendance Record, Time Reports, Time Sheets, etc.AuditDestroy
Maintenance: Requisitions and Delivery Reports for office equipment, supplies, etc.AuditDestroy
Personnel Records: Files kept on department personnel for the convenience of the office, but not an official personnel file.While usefulNotify Archivist for review
Student files: (Student academic file)5 years after last activityDestroy
Photographs, recordings, programs, etc., prepared in the course of official social functions or official activitiesWhile usefulArchives
Brochures, Books, Periodicals, Newsletters (any official publication of the University)Two copies of all publications are to be sent to Archives at the time of first issue. It is the responsibility of the office to see that this is done.

Steps for sending records

If you have office records that are no longer needed for current operations, follow the steps below to transfer these records to the Archives:

  1. Make sure the files are in order and are properly identified. Do not remove records from the original folders.
  2. Place the files in sturdy boxes with covers in the order in which they have been arranged in the office. We recommend records storage boxes. Number all boxes in sequential order. For example, 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc. Write the name of the office of origin on all boxes.
  3. Prepare an inventory of the contents in the boxes by listing the labels on the individual files. Place a copy of the inventory in box number one. Retain a copy for your files.
  4. Complete the Records Transfer/Disposal Request form and follow the steps in the email confirmation you receive.
  5. Contact John Winchell, Archives Curator, at (269) 387-8485 or before sending records to the Archives.
  6. Initiate a service request to Freight Services to have the records transferred to the Archives by calling (269) 387-8811. Smaller quantities may be hand-delivered if preferred.