Electronic Communications Retention Policy

  1. Email
    Delaware Technical Community College email systems will retain messages for three years. After three years, email messages will be automatically purged from the system. This automatic deletion policy applies to messages within all folders (inbox, sent, draft file folders, etc.) on all college email systems.

    Individuals may save copies of email and attachments before the retention period expires by transferring them to other electronic environments and media and/or by copying them on paper.

    Originators and recipients of email are responsible for identifying and saving documents that must be retained in order to comply with federal, state, or local laws, College policies, or with other legal obligations or requirements. Individuals should not rely on email folders as an archival system for any purpose including, but not limited to, the individual’s need or desire to retain, access, or otherwise preserve any email or related contents or attachments. Email accounts are not designed to be records retention or document management systems, so messages with lasting value:
    1. Should be moved to dedicated storage on departmental/office networked file systems; and
    2. Should not be stored exclusively within individual users’ email folders/files.
    Lasting value email messages exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
    • Have operational value (required by a department to perform its primary function)
      • Administrative actions taken or planned
      • Assignment of work or tasks to employees
      • Distribution of reports or recommendations
      • Distribution of policies, procedures, guidelines, rubrics, or templates
    • Have legal or evidentiary value (required to be kept by law or of value in the defense or prosecution of a claim)
    • Have fiscal value (related to the financial transactions of the campus)
      • Required for financial reporting and audits
      • Has historical significance (of long-term value to document past events)
      • Relating to an exceptional and/or significant event
    • Have vital value (critical to maintain to ensure operational continuity after a disruption or disaster)
      • Vital records or information may fall into any one of the above value categories

    Responsibility for Retention of Messages with Lasting Value
    Only the departments responsible for retention of specific types of records need to store and control the disposition of that information. For example,
    1. If a department issues a policy change announcement via broadcast email, then that department is responsible for retaining that record (and not every recipient);
    2. If a department manager was cc’d on a message that Business Services or Finance used to send an electronic copy of a Purchase Order to a vendor, then the department manager does not need to retain a copy of the Purchase Order record; the Purchasing Office is responsible for retention of all purchasing records.

    Backup Files
    Backup copies of College email system files are retained for six months. These backups are for system restoration and disaster recovery purposes, and are not designed to or intended to facilitate retrieval of deleted messages.

    Former Students and Employees
    Student email accounts will be deleted two academic years after the last semester in which a student was registered for classes. When an employee ceases employment with the College for any reason, the access to the College email account and records will be terminated, generally on the last date of employment. Email accounts of former employees will be deleted after two years.

  2. Microsoft 365 Teams/Instant Messaging
    Private and group chat messages in Microsoft Teams will be deleted one year after the message is sent or received and will not be recoverable.
    • A one-year retention policy will be implemented for Microsoft Teams Chats (i.e., private 1:1 and group chat messages).
    • Posts to a Teams Channel, including those made during a meeting, will be retained for the life of the Team.
    • Other Teams data (e.g., files) will not be impacted and will continue to exist for the life of the Team.

    The Microsoft Teams Message Retention Schedule

    Function Timeframe Description
    Person to person chat 365 Days Chats between two or more parties. Chats over the retention time will be silently dropped.
    Teams Channel Messages 365 Days Channel messages inside of Team sites. Conversations over the retention time will be silently dropped.
    Recover Team Sites Timeouts 30 Days The time from when a Team’s site is deleted and when it can be safely recovered.
    Video Calls Not Saved Recordings from video calls are not saved unless configured on a per-call basis.
    Voice Calls Not Saved Recordings from voice calls are not saved unless configured on a per-call basis.

    NOTE: Files shared in chat are stored in One Drive, however, as per the retention schedule, the links will no longer be available.
  3. Exceptions
    The President is authorized to make individual exceptions to the retention periods set forth herein and may establish retention periods that are different than those prescribed when doing so would be in the best interests of the College.