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Email Retention

Section: IV. ADSV - 502
Approved By: Dr. Pamela J. Transue, 01/13/04
Last Review: 12/22/11
Last Revision: 12/22/11
Prior Revisions: 05/28/09
Initial Adoption: 10/08/08

Policy

It is the College’s policy to preserve email messages sent from or received by the college for a period of seven (7) years or as required by law.

Purpose

To implement practices and procedures to preserve email messages sent from or received by the College’s email server for litigation discovery and public records request responses.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

This policy applies to all persons using administrative  email mailboxes within the TCCNet domain except those used by Invista Performance Solutions.  Student accounts in the Titan domain are not included.

References

Tacoma Community College System Backup Schedule (Attachment A)

Definitions

Litigation Hold - A Litigation Hold will direct owners of potentially relevant records to preserve them from destruction or modification.  Any notification of a Litigation Hold will include an explanation of what constitutes a relevant record.

Relevant Records - The definition of a relevant record may be defined by parameters such as beginning and ending dates, sender, receiver, subject line, key words in the message, and/or other variables.  The Vice President for Administrative Services, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and/or the Director of Information Systems, as informed by the eDiscovery or public records request, will include the definition of a relevant record in all litigation hold notices.

Electronic Discovery (eDiscovery) - Electronic Discovery refers to any process in which digital data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.

Procedure

Document Preservation Plan:

Upon receiving notification requiring action to preserve digital documents, the Vice President for Administrative Services, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and/or the Director of Information Systems will involve appropriate staff persons and the College’s Assigned Counsel as needed to develop a Preservation Plan.  The plan will include the following:

  1. Designation of a coordinator to serve as principle contact for all parties.
  2.  Identification of the operating units, individuals, and systems that may possess relevant email messages
  3.  Provision of Litigation Hold notices to appropriate individuals
  4.  Implementation of immediate steps to halt automated, routine practices that have the potential to delete relevant information
  5. Implementation of a plan to find, gather and preserve relevant records in their native formats (including metadata).

Response Scope:

The College maintains backup tapes to enable restoration of its systems and their contents in the event of an emergency.  The system backup schedule recycles and overwrites storage tapes on a regular basis as described in attachment A.

Record Retention Plan:

The College employs commercially available hardware and software that continuously archives all messages sent from or received by the College’s email server.  The archive is stored in the College’s data center.  Backup for the archive is stored on a similar, mirrored array in a separate building.  The email server is backed up as noted in attachment A.  Individual messages are retained for six years.

eDiscovery and Public Records Requests:

Recipients of a Litigation notice, eDiscovery request, or a Public Records Request must immediately notify the Vice President for Administrative Services, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or the Director of Information Systems.

Any College employee with knowledge of impending litigation or a reasonably anticipated lawsuit must immediately notify the Vice President for Administrative Services or his/her designee.

In both cases the College will immediately take steps as described below to prevent loss of potentially relevant messages.

Duties of Persons Receiving a Litigation Hold:

Employees receiving a Litigation Hold notice for documents which may be in the person’s possession or scope of responsibility must immediately:

  1. Discontinue personal practices regarding the destruction of possibly-relevant messages.
  2. Disable or cause to be disabled any automated functions such as automatic deletion of emails.
  3. Protect and preserve all messages in their original digital form (including metadata). 
  4. Protect and preserve any relevant new information that is generated or received after receipt of a Litigation Hold.
  5. Follow any other specific instructions in the Litigation Hold.

Ending Preservation Responsibilities:

The duties of persons receiving Litigation Hold notices cease when notified in writing by the Document Preservation Plan coordinator the litigation or the threat of litigation has ended.

The College’s Records Retention Officer will schedule and conduct annual reviews of this policy.