Google Storage Data Reclamation

What is Data Reclamation?

As part of the university's transition to more sustainable data storage practices, it is important to take action on the U-M Google accounts of people no longer affiliated with the university. These include:

  • People who have left (or are planning to leave) the university without retiring or retaining an alum, retiree, or emeritus status.
  • Students who left (or are planning to leave) without completing at least one semester.
  • Sponsored affiliates whose sponsorship has expired (or will expire soon) without renewal or another active affiliation.

Even though these people depart from the university, they often leave behind data still owned by their U-M Google accounts. This means data regularly used by active affiliates (i.e., faculty, staff, and students) may need new ownership. If you fall into one of the groups listed above, you likely have actions you should take before you leave U-M.

Beginning September 15, 2023, all U-M Google accounts and their data owned by individuals who leave U-M (without retaining an alum, retiree, or emeritus status) will be deleted 90 days after their last day. (This does not affect accounts that became non-affiliated before September 15.)

How Do I Prevent Data Loss?

Everyone is accountable for managing university data responsibly. It’s important for departing individuals to use the tools available to them and take action on university business files before they leave. This is to ensure members of the community who rely on the data continue to have access to it over time and as individuals leave U-M.

If you plan to leave the university without graduating or retiring (and even if you are becoming an alum/retiree/emeritus), it is important to transfer the files you own that might be needed by someone else at the university. (If you know someone who is leaving U-M, you should encourage them to transfer their files and folders before they leave.)

The following resources are helpful in finding and transferring ownership of Google Drive files/folders:

If the departing individual did not transfer ownership of files before they left the university, you have 90 days after their last day to claim ownership of their files. These files will become view-only for the 90-day period and then permanently deleted if they are not claimed.

  • If a Google file becomes unexpectedly view-only, take note of who owns this file to consider if the individual is an active member of the university or someone who is no longer affiliated.
  • Refer to Claim Data Owned By Non-Affiliated Google Accounts for instructions on transferring ownership of affected files owned by someone who has left U-M to yourself or a Google shared drive.
    • The documentation includes a link to an ITS tool where you can view a list of non-affiliated accounts who own files on which you are an Editor.
    • You should thoroughly consider each account and their affected files to determine whether the files should be kept or not. If a file hasn't been accessed in months/years, and the only reason to keep it is "just in case," it's probably time to let it be deleted.