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Telephones & Communication Devices

About this Policy

Telephones & Communication Devices

Policy Number: 12005

Effective Date:
Jan 10, 2018

Last Updated:
Jan 10, 2018

Responsible Office:
Division of IT

Responsible Administrator:
Vice President for Information Technology

Policy Contact:

Vice President for Information Technology
University Hall
Columbia MO, 65211


  • General Administration

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This policy applies to all University employees.

Reason for Policy

To state policy regarding acceptable (& non-acceptable) use of University resources to purchase or payment of phone/data expenses.

Policy Statement

The University will only pay for cell phones, service or data plans, or pagers on a limited basis.  In order to have a University paid device or service/data plan, there must be a requirement for the use of such a device as part of the employees’ essential job function and is limited to the following circumstances:

  • On-call employees
    • 24/7 monitoring or availability is required; or
    • must be available immediately upon contact
  • Public safety
    • Employee is considered key personnel for emergency or safety purposes
  • Medical professionals
    • Emergency response is required
  • Work location
    • employees who performs a majority of their duties in the field where communication by other means is not available or inefficient
  • Regulatory requirements
    • Required by law or regulation to maintain communications

The University will not pay for devices or plans when having such a device and/or plan is primarily for the convenience of the employee and does not meet criteria above.  The use of the device/plan must be for the primary use of conducting University business, as such, most University employees will not be eligible for a University provided device or service.  There must be a strong and continuing business need before a University provided device or service can be approved.

When University activities necessitate the use of a cellular/wireless phone or other telecommunications equipment (tablets, hotspots, etc), referred to collectively as “cellular device”, the employee may be assigned a University cellular device.  Sharing of devices among employees with in a unit is appropriate when the business need necessitates the use of the device by multiple employees at differing times.

When it is determined that it is in the best interest of the University (as outlined above), and funds are available, a cellular device and service may be provided by the University for use by an employee.  University approved procurement methods must be utilized in the purchase of devices and service or data plans.  The lowest cost plan available to accommodate the particular business need shall be utilized.

Under certain circumstances where there is a more cost effective method to allow an employee to utilize cellular services without supplying a device, the University may pay an allowance to an employee through the University's payroll system.  The amount of the allowance must be less than the amount paid for similar University provided plans for the same type of service required for the business need.  For example an employee that could be provided a device based on the criteria above due to work location, may not need a device for all work locations and may choose to provide their own personal device and seek reimbursement for cellular services in lieu of a University paid device/plan.  This limits the cost to the University when the primary purpose of the device is not for a business need but is a requirement for the employee to perform their essential job duties. However, this method should only be used on a limited basis when it would not be practicable or cost-effective for the University to separately purchase the device/service.

Regardless of the method of payment, no cellular device or service plan may be paid unless it meets the criteria as outlined above.  A cellular phone or device will not be provided to attract a prospective employee, promote the morale or goodwill of an employee or as a means of providing additional compensation.  All cellular devices provided by the University are the property of the University and must follow University policies for payment, tracking, and recording of University property.  Devices provided by the University will be directly paid by the University. 

Personal Use
Personal long distance telephone calls (non-cellular) or calls that cause overages on University paid plans (cellular) are not allowed on University paid phones and devices.  "Personal" includes telephone calls while consulting for which an employee receives compensation other than from the University.  

Departmental Responsibilities for Cellular Phones
Services must be obtained from telecommunications companies under contract with the University unless the necessary service is unavailable from one of those carriers.  The service plan must be based on anticipated business usage and the plan should provide call detail. 

Departmental fiscal officers and other departments designated by the campus shall monitor usage to assure that the appropriate service or data plan is in place, based on business needs and most economical use. The need for a University cellular device and service must be reviewed at least once a year, to verify and document that a University cellular device and service is still justified.

When an employee changes departments or leaves the University, any and all equipment (including chargers, extra batteries, hands-free devices, etc.) must be returned to the original department and service should be canceled, transferred to another employee, or transferred to the new department.




Campuses should establish procedures for documenting business need as part of the job function of the employee.  The approval for acquiring a device and/or plan is delegated to the campus Chief Financial Officer or designee.

Periodic Review
Periodically, or when responsibilities change, administrative superiors should review business needs of employees.  Administrative superiors should discontinue unneeded service or obtain appropriate approval to make necessary changes to the service level.

Additional Details



Related Information

Contact Campus CIOs:


Formerly Business Policy Manual 1205 – Telephones and Communication Devices (revised 10/30/2015)


Reviewed 2018-01-23