SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Withdrawal under extenuating circumstances (WE) applications - undergraduates

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

Withdrawal under extenuating circumstances (WE) applications - undergraduates

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

Student Services

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
WE application packet CY last WE application + 1 years 1 year CY last WE application + 2 years Destruction
WE database S/O NIL S/O Full retention
Anonyomized / De-identified WE application packet S/O NIL S/O Full retention

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records relating to undergraduate student applications for Withdrawals Under Extenuating Circumstances (WE) from one or more courses, administered by the Senate and Academic Services unit of Student Services.

Note that graduate student WE records follow a different process and are ultimately kept with the graduate student record in the home faculty or department of the graduate student.

Withdrawals Under Extenuating Circumstances (WE) are approved withdrawal notations on an academic transcript for courses which are dropped after the regular term course drop deadline. These WE applications are considered under the rules and regulations of the WE policy. A student may submit a WE application for one or more courses (selective withdrawal) or an entire term (complete withdrawal). Withdrawals may be current (applications made after the course drop deadlines related to the term) or retroactive (applications made within five years from the date the final grades are posted at the end of term). Denied WE decisions may be appealed to the Senate Appeal Board (SAB) within the stated deadline for appeals. WE notations are considered grade changes, and become part of a student's transcript.

The records series may include, but is not limited to: the WE application package, any investigation or inquiry made on the appeal, the decision email or letter; and correspondence with other SFU faculty or staff.

The WE application package (also called the WE file) may include, but is not limited to: the application form; a personal letter; supporting documents (e.g., SFU health care form, death/birth certificate, obituary, employment letter, immigration papers, bankruptcy papers); and any other additional documents relevant to the applicant's extenuating circumstances.

Electronic records may include but are not limited to: email correspondence; database records arranged by term; scanned or electronic documents submitted with the student's application; and records such as decision letters stored on the shared drive.

See also:

Personal Information Bank (PIB)

This series is a Personal Information Bank; click here for PIB description.


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

The FOI / POP Act (RSBC 1996, c. 165, s. 31) requires that personal information used to make a decision that directly affects an individual must be retained for at least one year. Section 6(1) of the Limitation Act (SBC 2012, c. 13) states that claim must not be commenced more than 2 years after the day on which the claim is discovered. Therefore a total retention period of "CY last WE application + 2 years" is sufficient to meet the administrative, legal, fiscal or audit needs of the university. There are two indexes which are also maintained, a database that includes a listing of all WE applications and information about the final decisions, and anonomized/redacted copies of each WE application which are used for statistical purposes.

Retention and filing guidelines

WE files are created and maintained electronically. Students wishing to apply for a WE may do so using a web form, this form and all other documents related to the WE process are saved electronically.

In the case where WE records become part of ongoing litigation or additional appeal processes these records may need to be retained for a longer period of time. This is rare and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

In 2020, backlog student files (including sealed records, WE application, etc.) were digitized as a single master file and the paper originals were destroyed. Digitized files were organized alphabetically by last name (the current naming convention includes the student's last name, first name and student ID) and stored on a SharedDrive with access limited to a small number of staff in the Registrars office (Senate and Academic Services). Since the records in this "master file" are also subject RRSDA 1999-016 Student Files - Undergraduate, they should be retained for whichever retention period is longer.


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 31 Jan 2022

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