Records and Information Management: What We Do With Student Records

Graduation season has come again! Most of the colleges here at Mason will be using the quiet months ahead to pack away the files of the spring graduates who have finished their academic career. For some offices, that means small hills of archival boxes packed against the wall until they can get them out of their way to make room for the incoming summer and fall students.

As a state university, Mason is required to follow the Public Records Act policies set forth by the Commonwealth. The Library of Virginia has set specific guidelines for state colleges that certain types of student records need to be retained for specific periods of time before the universities are allowed to dispose of them. Those laws do not just apply to paper records, but our digital-born documentation as well!

University Records Management works with Mason offices to ensure that all faculty and staff are aware of the retention requirements and that there are resources available to help with issues such as long-term storage. Most student documents are temporary records – this means is that the records are eligible for shredding, burning, or pulping after a certain number of years after graduation. Some types of information – such as students’ grades – are considered permanent records, and it is up to University Records Management to ensure that Mason maintains the security and accessibility of these records forever. Not just 100 or 10,000 years, but forever. Or until the Library of Virginia decides that maybe 10,000 is a bit too long.

Starting any day now, Mason faculty and staff will begin sorting through graduates’ files and dividing them up between the different types of records series; some examples of series are admission files, academic counseling files. Once they are aware of how much paper there is, someone usually reaches out to University Records Management to acquire archival boxes to store these records for the remainder of their life cycle. When these boxes are packed and labels with the contents and inclusive records dates, the Records Manager arranges to have them stored at the University Records Center on Fairfax campus. There, the records are kept safe and sound until an office needs to request a file back or until the records meet their retention period.

Then it is time to call in the shredders!

Here are some helpful definitions:

Permanent Record –  Materials created or received in the conduct of affairs that are preserved by the creator because of the enduring historical value or as evidence of the roles and responsibilities of the creator

Records Series – Group of similar or related records that are arranged according to a file system and that are related as the result of being created, received, or used in the same activity

Life Cycle – Distinct phases of a record’s existence, from creation, to use, to maintenance, and finally disposition

(Definitions are from the Library of Virginia Public Records Management Manual)

For more information about SCRC and Records and Information Management look here.

The University Records Manager is Samara Carter. You can reach her at  scarte25@gmu.edu or  703.993.2201.

Amateur Radio, Pat Hawker, and World War II

C0275B03F03_Page_1

Doc. 1 covers the involvement of amateur radio during World War II. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “The Secrets of Wartime Radio,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Amateur radio, also known as HAM radio, is a hobby that allows people to communicate non-commercially with each other by creating personal radio stations. Amateur radio began around 1890 and began picking up interest in the early 1900’s. Radio communication has been used by the government and military for intercepting communications from other countries. During and right before World War II, many men and women who held radiating licenses became involved in wartime radio (Doc. 1).

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

John Patrick Hawker was born in Somerset, England in 1922 and became interested in wireless broadcasting as a kid. He got the AA license at age 14, giving him two years to learn Morse code and take the test for his full license. By October 1938, he earned his full license as G3VA. In 1940, he was asked to join the Radio Security Service as a Voluntary Interceptor and over a year later was given the opportunity to become a full-time interceptor for the new military unit (SCU3).

 

 

Doc. 2 Document is from

Doc. 4 is a diagram of an American WWII clandestine radio set. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 12, Page 14/30 of a hand-made booklet by Pat Hawker. Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 discusses UK Intelligence operations, Belgian Escape Lines. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

American Radio Relay League

International Amateur Radio Union

International Amateur Radio Union (Region 2 specific)

John Patrick Hawker Papers can be found in the finding aid for Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University. You may also contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.