This policy addresses the creation, retention, and disposition of UW System’s public records. This public records management policy applies to all UW System institutions, to UW System Administration, and to the UW System Board of Regents.


The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the transaction of business, ensure public accountability, and preserve the history of UW System institutions by fulfilling state and federal legal requirements for public records management.


It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents that public records are properly managed in compliance with relevant state and federal laws and with the provisions of this policy.

Definition and Ownership of Public Records

Public records have the meaning given in s. 16.61 (2) (b), Wis. Stats., and include all materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, created or received by employees in connection with the transaction of public business on behalf of the UW System. The UW System Board of Regents owns all public records created, received, or retained by UW System employees.

Public Records Management Program Implementation

The Board of Regents, the President of UW System Administration, and the Chancellor of each UW System institution shall designate a public records and forms officer pursuant to s. 15.04(1)(j), Wis. Stats.

Public records and forms officers are responsible for ensuring each UW System institution develops and maintains a public records management program consistent with federal and state law and the provisions of this policy. The public records and forms officer shall, upon request, provide any necessary assistance to administrators, supervisors, and staff to ensure the UW System meets its public records responsibilities.

Characteristics of a Public Records Management Program

A public records management program facilitates ongoing business activities, ensures public accountability, and preserves the history of the UW System. A public records management program shall provide for the appropriate policies, structure, and directives to comply with applicable federal and state law including:

  1. Properly classifying public records, so as to support UW System functions and provide for appropriate disposition of these records.
  2. Obtaining approval for disposition of public records from the State of Wisconsin Public Records Board.
  3. Providing for secure storage of public records throughout the lifecycle of these records.
  4. Arranging for proper destruction of expired public records.
  5. Preserving the history of the UW System by implementing archival processes that ensure the security, accessibility, accuracy, authenticity, readability, and reliability of public records notwithstanding the passage of time.
  6. Where necessary or required, protect the confidentiality of data and records.
  7. Arranging for public records training of employees and supervisors.

Electronic Records

Particular care shall be taken to ensure that electronic records are preserved in such a way that permits them to be retrieved in the future or destroyed when proper to do so. UW institutions should be aware of and maintain compliance with Chapter Adm 12, Wis. Admin. Code.


It is the responsibility of all UW System supervisors and employees to manage public records in compliance with state and federal legal requirements as well as with this policy. Failure to manage public records consistent with state and federal law and this policy may result in disciplinary action.


  • Section 16.61, Wis. Stats., “Records of state offices and other public records.”
  • Section 16.611, Wis. Stats., “State public records; optical disc and electronic storage.”
  • Chapter Adm 12, Wis. Admin. Code, “Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements.”
  • Regent Policy Document 25-5, “Information Technology: Information Security.”
  • University of Wisconsin System General Records Schedules.

History: Res. 9326, adopted 04/13/2007, created Regent Policy Document 3-2. Res. 11126, adopted 12/07/2018, rescinded and replaced Regent Policy Document 3-2 with a new Regent Policy Document.


UW System Human Resources Practice Directive HR A, Open Meetings Law and Public Records Law (formerly HR 15)

[UW System Administrative policies are included for reference and are separate from Regent Policy Documents adopted by the Board.]