The Safe and Secure Campus

Drones on Campus: Have a Policy

The potential for positive uses for drones on campus is attractive, but it’s important to remember that drones also carry with them the potential to invade privacy, injure people and cause property damage, even if used properly and legally.

Ideally, a campus drone-use policy — for educational use, private use or safety and security use — must comply with federal law, as well as any state laws in place. An established policy should also identify any restrictions on the drone itself (where and when they can fly, weight, height, speed, etc.) and specify what sanctions will be imposed if policy is violated.

Also important is to ensure that your institution has insurance in place that will cover any accidents.

Once your policy is developed and in place, make it public to your campus community. As updates are made to federal or state (or even local) laws concerning drone use, be sure your policy is updated and these changes are made public as well.

If you’re not sure where to start in developing a campus drone-use policy, you can review policies already in place at other colleges and universities, including:

Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY
“Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Policy”

Columbia University
New York, NY
“Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems on University Campus and Property”

Trinity University
San Antonio, TX
“Drones Policy”

University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
“UAS and Drones”

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
“Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)”

This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

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