Departmental Telecommunications Policy


Policy Statement

This policy sets forth rules governing use of all University-provided telecommunications devices. Telecommunications services are administered by the University Telecommunications Office.


This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and student-workers at the University who use telecommunication services and devices that are either owned, paid for, or reimbursed through stipend, by the University, including (but not limited to) traditional telephones, fax machines, pagers, cellular phones, and wireless personal digital devices. This policy also governs use of voice-mail, but does not govern e-mail communications.


Business Use - use of a "telecommunications device" in a manner that is consistent with and furthers the missions and operations of the University.

Personal Call - use of a "telecommunications device" that does not qualify as a "business call."

Local Call - a call within "the local calling area" and for which no additional fee is charged.

Long-Distance Call - a call that incurs an additional fee for being outside the "local calling area" of an applicable telecommunications service plan.

Portable Telecommunication Device - any cell phone, personal digital assistant, pager, or other similar device.


A. Acceptable Use

Any business calls not otherwise prohibited by this policy are acceptable. Personal calls are acceptable to the extent that they: 1) are reasonable in both duration and frequency; 2) comply with other applicable restrictions of this policy; 3) do not interfere with the individual's performance of work responsibilities (except in the case of a personal emergency); and 4) are reimbursed to the University where applicable under this policy.

B. Prohibited Use

The following uses are generally prohibited, with exceptions only as specifically noted:

  1. Third-Party Billing
    Calls made from a non-University phone and charged to the University, and collect calls, except in the case of emergency.
  2. Operator-Assisted Calls
    Operator-Assisted calls in any instance in which the call can be made at a later time after the relevant information is obtained for free (e.g. through a phonebook, the internet, etc.). If a call must be made immediately, and there is no other way to obtain the information, operator-assistance (a.k.a. "Information") may be used. Operator-assisted personal calls must be specifically identified on the monthly bill and reimbursed to the University.
  3. Threatening/Offensive Calls
    Threatening and/or offensive calls involving any University Telecommunications Device. Such calls may also constitute a violation of other applicable University policies. Threatening and/or offensive calls should be reported immediately to Public Safety. If line-monitoring is needed, Public Safety will contact the Telecommunications Office.
C. Voice-Mail

Employees are responsible for maintaining voice-mail greetings and for checking voice-mail messages on any University telecommunications device on which such voice-mail is equipped. If an employee expects to be out of the office for an extended period of time, (s)he should modify the voice-mail greeting accordingly. In the event of an unexpected and prolonged absence, the employee (or department head, if the employee is unable to do so) should contact the Telecommunications Manager in writing to arrange for a modified voice-mail greeting.

D. Portable Telecommunications Devices
  1. Discontinuance of University-Provided Portable Telecommunications Devices and Stipends
    Effective January 1, 2020, the University will no longer provide portable telecommunications devices or service stipends to employees.  However, employees currently receiving a portable telecommunications device or stipend will remain eligible for the device or stipend until such time as they terminate employment with the University or change positions to a position not already receiving a device or stipend, whichever comes first.
  2. Employees Receiving a Stipend or Portable Telecommunications Device and University-Contracted Service as of January 1, 2020
    The following plan options provisions specifically apply to any University employee whose job requires use of a portable telecommunications device and who is, as of January 1, 2020, receiving a stipend or University-owned and managed device:

    a. University-Contracted Service
    Prior to January 1, 2020, the University has contracted for the provision of portable telecommunications service and devices to: (1) all senior administrators; and (2) other qualifying employees who chose this option. All related bills are sent directly to the University, and employees may receive assistance for any service/device issues from the University Telecommunications Office.

    Any employee who - for personal reasons - terminates his/her existing University-Contracted Service before the expiration of the current service contract will no longer be eligible for University-Contracted Service or a stipend.

    The value of the portable telecommunications service is reported on applicable tax and payroll documents as taxable fringe benefit income to the employee at the rate paid by the University.

    b. Portable Telecommunications Stipend
    Qualifying employees who chose this option receive a monthly stipend to be used toward payment of their own portable telecommunications service. Stipend rates can be obtained from the Telecommunications Manager.

    Employees receiving a "Portable Telecommunications Stipend" may use it to purchase the portable telecommunications service of their choice, subject to the following: 1) all employees who qualify and elect to receive the stipend must be reachable through such device at all times required by their supervisor; 2) with the exception of data-only service, the stipend may only be used towards a service plan for a device with a local phone number; 3) the University only provides technical support for a limited list of devices (please see for a list of supported devices); and 4) employees whose portable telecommunications device is currently provided by the University must stay with their current service provider until the end of their current service agreement.

    Employees are responsible for obtaining their own portable telecommunications service, which may require a commitment to a multi-year service plan.

    The amount of all stipends issued is reported on tax documents as taxable income to the employee.

    The amount of the monthly stipends is subject to review at any time by the University, and may be canceled or reduced as the University deems appropriate.
E. Traveling
  1. Safety
    Employees should not use portable telecommunications devices when operating a motor vehicle. While traveling, employees should keep in mind that it is illegal in many states to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. It is illegal under Virginia law to text while driving.

Revision History

1/21/10 - Minor clerical edits to update titles of President's Cabinet and Vice President for Finance and Administration/Treasurer.

1/1/20 - Under policy change effective this date, portable telecommunications devices and service stipends will no longer be provided to employees not currently receiving such stipends. Deleted provision related to air cards.