North Carolina Law & Archives -- Records Management

As a part of the greater University of North Carolina system, Appalachian State University operates under the mandate of state law to account for, store, and preserve as needed every public record generated in the official business of the University. The State of North Carolina General Statutes, chapters 121 and 132, define public records as:

all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photography, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business of any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. (132-1)

According to the same statute, the "public official in charge of an office having public records shall be the custodian thereof." (132-2) This applies to the office originating the record, and then to the official housing it in storage and/or archives.

The legislature of North Carolina entrusted the oversight of public records to the Department of Cultural Resources. It charged the department with "a records management program for the application of efficient and economical management methods to the creation, utilization, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of official records." (132-8.1) Under the Department of Cultural Resources, the Division of Archives and History issues guidelines for the University system to "establish and maintain a program for the selection and preservation of public records..." (132-8.2) as mandated by the law. The statute is also specific regarding the unauthorized destruction of records:

No public official may destroy, sell, loan or otherwise dispose of any public record, except in accordance with G.S. 121-5, without the consent of the Department of Cultural Resources. Whoever unlawfully removes a public record ... or destroys it shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction fined not less than ten dollars ($10.00) not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). (132-3)

At Appalachian State University, UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES & RECORDS implements this state-mandated records management program and maintains the permanent University Archives collection for record and research.

Additional information about chapters 121 and 132 of the General Statues of North Carolina can be found at the North Carolina General Assembly web site:

Chapter 121
Chapter 132

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