Because of the impersonal nature of voice mail, it is not to be used on public numbers (i.e., those listed in the U.S. West phone directory) as a means of initial contact with a caller during business hours. When a staff person who regularly answers calls to a public number is unavailable, a backup staff person (in another department, if necessary) should be prepared to receive the phone call. Only in very rare instances (such as emergencies) should someone call a public number and get a voice mail message. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the area dean or vice president.
If a staff person receives a phone call for someone who is not available at the time, it is recommended that the staff person ask if the caller would like to leave a voice message or a written message.