Physical Plant to adopt new procedure for disposal of sensitive documents

Starting next month, USF’s Physical Plant will adopt a new policy for destruction of sensitive documents.

Adrian Cuarta, director of Physical Plant, said the department is discontinuing its use of the “special handling bag” service because it doesn’t provide a full guarantee that sensitive documents are destroyed.

The service required employees to place shredded documents in bags provided to the department, which would then be handed over to solid waste transport materials.

“Originally, it was just a convenience service; people didn’t want papers sitting outside,” Cuarta said. “But picking them up directly doesn’t ensure they’re wasted. We can’t guarantee that they will be burned.”

Beginning April 15, Physical Plant employees will be recommended to shred sensitive documents as usual, but all trash from the department will be handled as normal “non-sensitive materials” and disposed in a regular manner.

Cuarta said it will be department employees’ responsibility to ensure that sensitive documents are shredded.

Eliminating the “special handling bags,” Cuarta said, would only save the department in labor as far as collecting and recycling materials. However, he said that is not the reason for changing the policy of sensitive document disposal.

Cuarta also added that Physical Plant’s procedure change is not related to the new procedures that USF’s Enrollment Planning and Management adopted last semester.

The policy applies to the handling confidential information such as social security numbers and grade point averages in the Registar’s Office, Financial Aid and Academic Advising.

A contract between USF and Secure Onsite Shredding requires each department to witness the documents being shredded in the truck and receive a certificate of destruction from Secure Onsite Shredding to verify that all records were destroyed.

Cuarta said Secure Onsite Shredding’s disposal service is not necessary for Physical Plant because employees will continue shredding documents within the department.