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Policy 907 - Email Retention

Section: Information Technology
Policy Number: 907
Responsible Office: IT
Effective Date: 04/01/06


This policy applies to all administrators and staff.


E-mail is intended to operate as a current communication system. It is not intended to serve as a long-term storage device for communications. It is therefore necessary to delete accumulated e-mail messages that are well out-of-date and have not been specially saved. The policy of St. John’s University is to retain e-mail communications for up to 180 days, and to erase e-mails that are more than 180 days old. Every day, all emails will be scanned and any email over 180 days will be deleted from the system, regardless of whether or not the e-mail has been viewed. This includes e-mail in the Inbox, Deleted and Sent areas of the e-mail system.

Employees are expected to observe several general guidelines. First, all employees are responsible for removing e-mail communications in a timely fashion. If you need to retain information in an e-mail communication, you should transfer the information from the email system to an appropriate electronic system (i.e., the Outlook personal archive folder, Microsoft Word, or print the information on paper and file it in a manual filing system). Employees who require assistance should contact their Information Technology representative with any questions concerning how to transfer information to an electronic system appropriate for long-term retention.

Second, all employees are reminded that records transmitted through e-mail have the same retention periods as records transmitted in other formats. If the content of an e-mail or its attachments contain records with enduring historical, legal, fiscal and/or administrative value to the University, the records should be separately stored in accordance with the Records Storage and Disposition Policy (Policy # 1029). Employees should contact the University Archives Department at extension 1465 with any questions concerning these guidelines.

In addition, when litigation is commenced against the University, documents concerning the litigation must be preserved. If litigation is commenced that involves documents in your area, the Office of General Counsel will notify you, and you will be given specific instructions about the preservation of all such documents. Any questions regarding e-mail retention at it relates to litigation should be directed to the General Counsel’s Office at extension 6421.

For information on the University’s Computer and Network Use Policy refer to policy #901 in the Human Resources Policy Manual or call the Information Technology department.


St. John's University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual