Q. Are text or IM considered official college records?

How do I handle text and instant messages? Are text and instant messages considered college records?


If text or IMs contain student or proprietary information, then they are considered College records.  This applies to both personally owned and school-owned devices.  The procedures and guidelines for the College state the following:

Please be advised that any and all messages transmitted through both privately-owned and school-owned devices are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act and any Freedom of Information Requests received by the College. Any individual that conducts business for the College through text messages and/or instant messages waives any and all expectations of privacy.  Additionally, any type of record (including text messages relating to any and all College business) must be held for stipulated retention periods per the General Records Disposition Schedule for the State of Oklahoma.

Support for this statement can be found in the Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions related to Records Management (available online at www.oscn.net ).  The opinion states:

E-mails, text messages, and other electronic communications made or received in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administration of public property, are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, 51 O.S.2001 & Supp.2008, §§ 24A.1 - 24A.29, and the Records Management Act, 67 O.S.2001, §§ 201 - 215, regardless of whether they are created, received, transmitted, or maintained by government officials on publicly or privately owned equipment and communication devices, unless some provision of law makes them confidential.

  • Last Updated Mar 11, 2020
  • Views 5
  • Answered By Andy Taylor

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