Spectator editorial: Pricey plan

A UW-Madison Athletic Department cellular phone tab of $180,000 is prompting heavy review and criticism by some state government officials, according to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

While the entire university spent $682,436 on 1,576 cell phones during the 2003-04 school year, the Athletic Department had the highest bills, including 11 Madison coaches with tabs of more than $3,000 each.

UW-Eau Claire, by contrast, has 90 cell phones currently issued, Purchasing Agent Steve Slind said.

The culprit of high fees is not exorbitant use by faculty at Madison, but rather an outdated five-year cellular phone contract that charges $4.75 a month for the phones plus 9 cents a minute. One year remains in the contract.

The Issue
UW-Madison Athletics had $180,000 in cell phone charges for the 2003-04 school year.

A five-year contract for any evolving form of technology is not only ridiculous, it’s also irresponsible. During a time when the university system is suffering staggering budget cuts, an outdated cellular phone plan is unnecessary.

System administrators need to take into consideration technology changes, including those in cellular phone plans that are likely to take place over the time span of a contract.

Furthermore, the nature of phone use should be analyzed by those responsible for purchasing the next plan. Div. I coaches travel a great deal and will rarely be within non-roaming range.

Money is coming out of a budget already in deficit because system officials didn’t look to the future before signing a contract. Hopefully this will serve as a learning experience for the future.