Computer Replacement and Purchase Policy

rev. October 2018


The purpose of this policy is to outline the process by which Wesleyan University acquires, replaces, and disposes of computer hardware equipment.


This policy applies to faculty and staff regarding the purchase of all computer equipment issued by the university regardless of university funding sources.

Computer Equipment Purchases for the University

All computer equipment purchases must be coordinated with Information Technology Services (ITS) before any purchases are made. ITS maintains an inventory of computer assets owned by the University. All computer equipment purchases must be made through the Cardinal Technology Store, as this allows Wesleyan to negotiate volume discounts and ensures that ITS is aware of every purchase. A faculty member requiring specialized equipment may request an exception to this policy through Joy Vodak in Academic Affairs.

Primary Computer

Full-time faculty and staff positions will be assigned one and only one primary computer. The computer assigned to a user as their primary system will be supported by ITS staff and covered under the computer replacement cycle. Computers needed for visiting faculty, part-time staff, student worker positions, temporary positions, or for special projects will be furnished out of the ITS redistribution pool of computers, if possible.

Secondary Computers and Other Computer Equipment

Some faculty and staff members' teaching, research and professional work warrants computing power beyond the standard configuration. Upgrades and additional computers must be pre-approved by Academic Affairs for faculty and by the relevant Cabinet member for staff (see below for details). This decision will be made on the basis of need and the added costs must be funded from sources such as start-up funding, grants, departmental funds, etc.; ITS will not purchase secondary computers.

As a rule, Wesleyan funds cannot be used to purchase electronic mobile devices such as an iPad, iPod Touch, etc. Wesleyan funds also cannot be used to purchase printers, scanners, or copiers. In the very rare case where an exception is granted, pre-approval is required before any orders/purchases can be made.

Neither secondary computers nor other computer equipment will be covered under the computer replacement cycle, and ITS staff may not always be able to support them.

Computer Replacement Cycle

The planned replacement cycle for primary computers is four years. ITS staff will evaluate each request and may recommend upgrading core components rather than replacing a computer, or deferring replacement for one year. The planned replacement cycle for computers that ITS manages in classrooms and teaching labs is five years. ITS will not replace secondary computers, including secondary computers in faculty research labs.

Standard Computer Configurations

Computers that are part of the ITS Computer Replacement Cycle will be replaced with a new standard computer. Standards are reviewed annually. Any upgrades to the hardware configuration beyond the scope of the standard configuration will be charged to the requesting department.

Full-time faculty and staff (with the exception of administrative assistants) have the choice of a Windows or Macintosh laptop or desktop, based on a standard configuration. In some cases, supervisors or departments may require a specific platform to conform to business processes.

Requesting a Secondary Computer or an Upgrade

To purchase computing equipment other than (or in addition to) the University's standard-issue machine, a faculty or staff member must first send an email request to Joy Vodak in Academic Affairs, or to the relevant Cabinet member, prior to placing an order, that includes: 

A brief statement of the research and/or teaching needs that the upgrade or additional machine will fill. This step is required regardless of payment method (e.g., PCard, Computer Store charge) or funding source, (e.g., start-up funds, faculty research accounts, departmental endowments, grants, ploughback, etc.).

Identification of the source of funds and smartkey that will be used to pay for the equipment.


The university will cover all normal repairs to machines during their four-year cycle (system failures include hard drives, new batteries, etc.).  If it is determined that the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the machine, an early replacement will be approved and the 4-year cycle will be adjusted based on the deployment date of the machine.  The university does NOT cover liquid damage or repairs related to physical damage of the machine.

Return Upon Replacement/Refurbished Hardware

Any staff replacement personnel will inherit the computer used by the previous holder of that position, unless that computer was purchased or has been in use for four years.

Computers must be returned at time a new replacement is provided. ITS maintains a pool of refurbished hardware that is in heavy demand. These refurbished machines are tracked in an inventory management system. ITS must satisfy the demands of the entire campus with its refurbished pool. Additionally, aging computers pose a security risk as operating systems become unsupported. Desktop data is backed up and restored to replacement machines. Beyond a brief transition window, there is no need to stockpile old machines.

When a refurbished machine is requested, Desktop Support Specialists will have the machine re-configured and deployed for that purpose.

Option to Purchase Upon Leaving

Desktop Support can assist in facilitating the purchase of your computer upon leaving the University. The computer store will establish a buy-out price based on market value. Computers are sold “as-is”. Any additional hardware upgrades will be additional cost. Purchases are processed through Cardinal Technology Store. Machines that are purchased must be wiped of University software by the Service Center. This ensures that the University maintains license compliance.