Cell phones have proven to be a timely, effective, and efficient method of communication among University employees in the field or away from campus. However, the benefits of acquiring and using University owned cell phones must be weighed carefully against the costs to the University when determining if a University cell phone is warranted. This document outlines the procedures for obtaining and maintaining cell phones and cell phone services that are paid for with Winthrop University funds.
The use of the term “cell phone” or “cellular service” in this document includes Winthrop University owned cell phones, “smart phones” (PDA phones such as Blackberry, iPhone, and Android models), aircards, pagers, and other equipment that use cell phone carrier networks.
Except as defined below under EXCEPTIONS, all cell phones and cellular services owned/subscribed by Winthrop University (including existing services) shall be appropriately documented on the Winthrop University Cellular Service Request and the Winthrop University Cellular Amendment Request forms and shall be included under the centrally managed University cell phone contract(s). The Campus Cell Phone Coordinator will work with the Supervisor/Department Head to obtain the service requested and to advise on the most cost-effective and appropriate plan or usage choices.The Supervisor/Department Head and respective Vice President (or Athletics Director) will approve or reject all Winthrop University Cellular Service Request and Winthrop University Cellular Amendment Request forms to determine if the explanation is adequate to justify a University owned cell phone. The justification should show a clear connection between the user’s job responsibilities/duties and the need for a cell phone, including the additional services required, such as text messaging, Internet, and email. Justification examples include:
Any changes to cell phone plans should be documented and approved on the Winthrop University Cellular Amendment Request form and coordinated with the Campus Cell Phone Coordinator.
The centrally managed cell phone contract(s) will be leveraged to maximize savings to Winthrop University through pooled minutes and other contract features. Therefore, any department that requires cell phone service under a contract separate from the centrally managed University cell phone contract(s) shall file documentation with the Campus Cell Phone Coordinator that includes the following information:
plan services for tablets that do not require a contract and that can be
activated and deactivated on a month-by-month basis do not require
documentation or approval under this policy.
For example, a monthly data plan for an iPad that is paid for by a
university procurement card does not need to be documented on a Winthrop University Cellular Service Request
form; however the payment must be documented in the procurement card file.
Payment for all University owned cell phones, cell phone plans, or cell phone equipment shall be made with a University procurement card and charged to the budget specified on the Winthrop University Cellular Service Request form.All costs associated with cell phone usage (equipment, accessories, surcharges and taxes) including the cell phone plans which have been approved by the Supervisor/Department Head and respective Vice President (or Athletics Director) will be charged to the department that requests mobile service. Reimbursements for personal use from individual users will be deposited into the same department budget used to pay for cell phone services.
University owned cell phones are provided for business use. All use of University owned electronic communication resources must comply with University policies and must not directly or indirectly interfere with the employee’s duties or obligations to the University. All Winthrop University owned cell phones must have a protective carrier or case.Changes to IRS code (Small Business Jobs Act of 2010) now allow some personal use of employer provided cell phones without additional tax or reporting liability. However, personal calls on Winthrop owned cell phones are permitted only if they are known to be “free” (such as night/weekend minutes and mobile to mobile calling). If personal calls are regularly placed and consume University plan minutes, the cell phone user is subject to disciplinary action (see section in this policy titled “Disciplinary Action” for more information).International calling from a University owned cell phone is prohibited unless the user regularly calls internationally and has an authorized international calling plan in place. Alternatively, Winthrop University issued long distance codes and calling cards should be used when calling internationally.Upgrades are not permitted unless the current phone is not in working order or justification and authorization has been obtained from the Supervisor/Department Head and respective Vice President (or Athletics Director).Traditional directory assistance calls, such as 411 calls, may result in charges. Therefore, fee-based directory assistance calls are prohibited. Alternate free services should be used when directory assistance is required.Any downloads or other services that are not work-related and that incur charges on the cell phone bill are prohibited.All cell phone bills are subject to regular audits by the University Cell Phone Coordinator.
Cellular telephone numbers may be ported in and out from university paid cell phone plans if requested. Numbers ported in to a university paid cell phone plan must be within the Rock Hill local dialing area or within the Charlotte LATA, and must be documented on the request form. Numbers
ported outside of the Charlotte LATA must be justified on the request form with
a notation that phone calls from campus to the cell phone number will result in
long distance charges. Users departing Winthrop are permitted to port their numbers out from a university paid plan to a personal plan if the number being ported was assigned to the user by name.
The use of a Winthrop University owned cell phone while driving or operating equipment is strictly prohibited, except for voice use with a hands-free device when appropriate and deemed safe by the user.
Individual users shall exercise precautions handling, storing, and securing cell phones. Devices should not be left unattended in unsecured locations under any circumstances. Theft tracking software that is provided for free by the manufacturer must be installed (e.g. Find My iPhone) on all university owned cell phones, even if other third party tracking programs are loaded. Users needing assistance with tracking software may contact the IT Service Desk.
The increased flexibility and portability of a data storing and data accessing devices means there are also more opportunities for data to be stolen, lost, or inadvertently exposed. If sensitive data (such as student records, employee records, personally identifiable information, etc.) is stored on a cell phone or tablet, an appropriate level of security must be applied. Furthermore, users must adhere to any relevant policies regarding the storage and use of sensitive information. Users should also be aware of and adhere to policies, grant rules, laws, and other compliance issues related to the use and transportation of data contained within cell phones or tablets (e.g. a federally funded grant may not allow the transportation of grant funded research data to certain foreign countries). Users should note that policies are frequently updated and added that pertain to data security and personally identifiable information. Users are responsible for complying with all applicable policies, rules, and laws.If any sensitive data is stored or accessed on a cell phone or tablet, the following additional steps must be taken:
Individual responsibilities for the cell phone user, Supervisor or Department Head, Department Procurement Card Liaison, Vice President (or Athletics Director), and Cell Phone Coordinator are given below.
Cell phone privileges may be suspended if any of the guidelines stated in this policy are not followed.The Supervisor or Department Head is expected to counsel and advise employees appropriately when infractions are discovered to minimize recidivism. The Supervisor or Department Head may elect to take additional disciplinary action as permitted in the Employee or Faculty handbooks.All other costs associated with non-work related charges, such as roaming, usage charges, overages, unauthorized downloads, etc., will be charged to the department with the expectation of reimbursement by the cell phone user. All additional charges accrued will be examined by the Department Procurement Card Liaison and Department Head/Supervisor. When roaming, usage, overage, and download charges have accrued, they will be identified by the Department Head/Supervisor as either work-related or personal. If the charges are personal, the cell phone user must fill out a departmental deposit to reimburse the University. The receipt for the departmental deposit must be printed, attached to the cell phone bill, and maintained in the department for potential audit. If the charges are work-related, a notation should be made on the cell phone bill and signed by the Supervisor/Department Head. If work-related charges regularly re-occur, then the cell phone plan will be examined by the University Cell Phone Coordinator to advise on changing the current plan, and will follow the authorization process stated in the “Procedures” section of this policy.
Upon separation from the University or other cancellation of service, the cell phone user should immediately turn in their equipment to their Supervisor. The Supervisor should return the equipment to the Campus Cell Phone Coordinator or make alternate arrangements with the Campus Cell Phone Coordinator.
In the event of cell phone replacement (including upgrades) for any cell phone purchased with Winthrop University funds, the old cell phone must be returned to the Campus Cell Phone Coordinator for use as spare parts or for loaning when other users have temporary equipment problems. It is contrary to state surplus regulations to sell, donate, or give away university-owned cell phones without approval from the State Surplus Office.
Policy approved January 17, 2013, revised July 10, 2014.