The ability to share documents and work collaboratively is one of the most useful things about Google Drive.  It’s very easy to quickly share files with your friends, peers, professors, or co-workers -- in fact, it’s so easy that many of us often forget our accounts (and the files within them) will go away after graduation or when we are no longer associated with the College.

This document outlines information and recommendations relating to how Whitman community members share Google Drive files with each other. 

**The same considerations apply to data stored on your Office365 OneDrive**

Why this matters to you:

When a Whitman network account is removed from our systems all Google Drive files associated with that account are also removed -- including any files that were shared to others.

If you have files on Google Drive that are critical to your coursework, business tasks, or research that have been shared with you (not owned by you) -- those files may become unavailable if/when the file owner leaves Whitman College.

Similarly, any files on Google Drive you share with others will no longer be available after your Whitman account is removed from our systems.

Important information on timing:

  • Student accounts are removed one year after graduation (immediate for students who withdraw from the college)

  • Faculty accounts are removed 6 months after leaving the institution.

  • Staff accounts are removed promptly after employment ends.

What you can do to prepare:

When sharing files, try to keep track of who they are shared with and how you expect the files to be preserved in the future.  You may want to consider a Google shared drive if you expect the files will need to be accessible by others after your time at Whitman is done.

When working with files that are shared with you, we strongly recommend you periodically review the Shared with me section on the Google Drive interface (advanced review methods are linked at the end of this message).  Faculty and Students should pay special attention prior to graduation -- as any files shared by graduating seniors may need to be addressed prior to departure.

What can you do to prevent losing access to files that you do not own:

  1. Ask the file owner to transfer ownership of the file or folder;

  2. You are encouraged to use the Google shared drive functionality for sharing items that need to persist beyond an individual account lifecycle.

  3. Consider making a copy of critical files to your Google Drive if you are concerned the owners’ account may be removed from our systems.

    • Be aware that making a copy un-links the copy from any future changes of the original document.

Related Information:  

Whitman College Guidance for Cloud Storage

Google help on shared drives

Google help on advanced search techniques

Google help on transferring ownership

Google help on making copies

Google help on sharing

How to take your data with you after graduation: