Telephone Policies and Acceptable Use Guidelines

[Guidelines] Last Updated: December 2012

Use of University Telephones

The use of university telephones is intended for university business. University business calls include emergency calls and calls that are in the best interest of the university. A telephone call must meet the following criteria to be considered a business call:

  1. It does not adversely affect the performance of official duties by the employee or the employee’s organization;
  2. It is of reasonable duration and frequency; and
  3. It could not have reasonably been made during non-work hours.

Examples of circumstances that fall under the above guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:

An employee is required to work overtime and calls within the local commuting area (the area from which the employee regularly commutes) to advise his or her family of the change in schedule and to make alternate arrangements for transportation or for child- or elder-care.

An employee makes a brief call to a location within the local commuting area to speak to their spouse, minor children, or elderly parent (or those responsible for them, e.g., school, day care center, nursing home, etc.).

An employee makes a brief call to a location within the local commuting area that can be reached only during working hours, such as a local government agency or a physician.

A personal call that must be made during working hours may be permitted if it is: (1) charged to a personal credit card; (2) charged to a home telephone; (3) charged to the called party; or (4) made to a toll free number. For any use of university telephones beyond the parameters of this policy, employees shall be charged the cost associated with the calls.

Collect and Third Party Calls

In general, university personnel are prohibited from accepting collect calls or placing third party calls and charging them to a university number. Most incoming calls to NIU phone lines are automatically blocked from receiving collect and third party calls by all carriers who subscribe to the LIDB database. If your department has a need to receive such calls, special arrangements must be made with Telecommunications Services and internal audit for authentication and payment of charges.

900 Type Calls

Calls to 900 area code numbers are generally blocked from originating from any university number. If your department has a need to make such calls, contact Telecommunications Services at 815-753-0963.

Use of Cellular Phones

Telecommunications Services offers cellular phone service on a rental basis to administrative users. Those interested in obtaining the service must complete the Cellular Service Request Form (refer to Procedure 23-8 for a sample form). No other cellular services except those offered or arranged by Telecommunications Services are authorized for employee use and payment with university funds. All associated costs will be billed to the appropriate department. This policy applies to the use of cellular services paid for by university funds. Because premium rates apply to cellular calls, and because the university promotes safe and responsible use of cellular devices, the following additional restrictions apply:

  1. The call must be placed on a non-cellular phone if one is accessible; and
  2. If possible, the call should be delayed until a non-cellular phone is accessible.
  3. Cell phones should not be used while operating motor vehicles or engaging in other hazardous activities requiring focused attention.

Verification of Telecommunications Charges

It is the responsibility of the dean, department head or person who is fiscally responsible for the account being billed, to verify the accuracy of all charges and note any discrepancies or unacceptable use. A department summary, exception and detail report are sent monthly.

Departments are responsible for maintaining records to justify all telephone charges.

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