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Records management is the administrative term for the process of:

  • the maintenance of currently-active, administratively-useful, public records;
  • the disposal of public records that no longer serve administrative, legal, fiscal, or historical purposes; and
  • the preservation of those records that have historical value or that must be preserved by law or for other reasons.

At JMU, records management is governed both by the state’s records management program – as per the Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) § 42.1-76 through 42.1-91– and by JMU Policy 1109. Records Management.

Responsibility for the state records management program under the Public Records Act is given to the State Library Board, which delegates the operation of the program to the staff of the Library of Virginia in Richmond. Each state agency is required to designate a records officer to be responsible for the operation of the records management program at that agency.

At JMU, you can contact the University Records Officer by email at

Records management and disposal information, retention schedules, the Records Destruction form and instructions for completing the form are found at

Vital Records

A vital record is recorded information, regardless of format (i.e., paper, photo, database, magnetic tape), immediately necessary to begin recovery of business after a disaster or is essential to protecting the rights and interests of the organization, its employees, and the citizens of the commonwealth.

Vital records are records that will be needed within a few minutes and up to 24 hours after a disaster to get your office up and running again. These are records that, if lost or destroyed, would be both costly and time consuming to recreate - if they can be recreated at all. They can be active (currently used by the office) or inactive (in storage). Only a small percentage of your records will be vital.

Vital Records are:

  • vital to the function and mission of the university
  • essential for the continuous operation or reconstruction of any university-owned buildings
  • necessary to establish or protect the legal or financial position of the university
  • necessary to protect and ensure the rights and interests of the employees and clients of the university.

Examples of Vital Records include official copies of:

  • Blueprints of facilities
  • Contracts - purchase, lease or rental
  • Deeds for university-owned property
  • Equipment inventory reports (physical inventories)General ledgers
  • Insurance policy information
  • Payroll folders
  • Personnel folders
  • Security codes
  • Tax receipts
  • Technical system documentation
  • Student transcripts

Not sure if it is a Vital Record? Refer to the Vital Record Checklist. Still have questions? Contact the University Records Officer at

Personnel Records

As an AUH, you should also be aware of section III.G of the JMU Faculty Handbook regarding access to and maintenance of official personnel files. The full text of this section is excerpted below:

III.G.  Personnel Records

Official personnel files are maintained in the Office of Human Resources, dean's office and academic unit office. The file in the Office of Human Resources contains information on employment status and personnel actions. Promotion and tenure documents are located in the dean's office, and documents relevant to professional performance and assessments are maintained in the academic unit office. For details of maintenance requirements for official files see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1109, Records Management.

III.G.1.  Reviewing Personnel Files

Faculty members have access to information retained in all personnel files of which they are the subject, in accordance with law, except for letters of recommendation or reference kept in personnel files. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1316, Release of Information From Employee Records. Individuals seeking access to their personnel files should arrange an appointment with human resources, the dean of the college and/or the AUH. A faculty member may be required to review his or her file in the presence of a human resources official, a member of the staff of the dean's office, or a member of the staff of the academic unit office. If the faculty member believes that some of the contents of a file should be removed or corrected, he or she may submit a written request for the removal or correction to the administrative custodian of the file, who will determine if the material will be removed or corrected. If the administrative custodian of the file denies the request, the faculty member may place a statement in the file.

III.G.2.  Disclosure of Information to Third Parties

In compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, (Code of Virginia, Section 2.2 – 3700), and the Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1316, Release of Information From Employee Records, certain personal information must be disclosed to third parties upon request and may be disclosed without the knowledge and consent of the subject faculty member. Other personal information normally shall not be disclosed to third parties without the written consent of the faculty member.

III.G.3.  Court-Ordered Disclosure of Information

The university must comply with discovery requests, subpoenas and warrants ordering records to be turned over to a court or party to litigation. The university shall attempt to inform a faculty member if his or her records are the subject of such discovery requests, subpoenas and warrants, unless prohibited by the terms of the document.

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