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Email Retention Guidelines

ODU's electronic mail (e-mail) policy is to retain messages only as long as necessary for business purposes.
E-mails are automatically deleted after a specific period of time unless they are moved to default folders that have pre-assigned retention periods. Retention policies for messages are as follows:


Retained for 1 year from the date of the message

Sent Mail

Retained for 2 years from the date of the message


Retained for 30 days and then moved to the Deleted Items folder

Junk E-mail

Retained for 30 days and then moved to the Deleted Items folder

Deleted Items

Retained for 3 days and are available for users to recover from the server for 30 days

Evaluate your e-mail(s) and determine whether they meet the legal definition of a university record. If so, retain it in accordance with the type of record (the content of the e-mail) as listed in the Library of Virginia Records Retention and Disposition Schedules.

Your emails can be retained by filing them in the appropriate e-mail folders that are located in your 'Managed Folders' (General 2 years, University Business 3, 5, 10 years and Permanent)


  • Issues policy
  • States decisions
  • Outlines procedures
  • Shows action
  • Gives guidance
  • You're not sure


  • Junk mail
  • Confirms appointments
  • Personal messages
  • Reference copies
  • Broadcast messages
  • Transmits documents/out comment

Important E-mail Tips

  • Verify addresses that you are sending emails to.
  • Your email contains public records. See Virginia Public Records Act.
  • Your messages may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Utilize the records retention and disposition schedules online to determine how long to keep the records.
  • DOES NOT use email to transmit confidential information.
  • Your email is part of your job; no expectation of privacy or confidentiality applies.

For more information about this policy please refer to the Email Archive and Retention Standard.