Policy Details

Date of Last Update

Approved By
  • President's Cabinet

Responsible Office
Public Safety


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Unmanned Aircraft System / Drone Policy

PC 6.20

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Procedures
  3. Definitions

Policy Statement

Operation of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is prohibited over University Property by students, employees, vendors, contractors and other members of the public except with prior written approval from an Executive Officer of the University. Permission to operate a UAS over University Property will only be granted to University departments needing to operate a UAS for the benefit of the University. Operation of Model Aircraft is not permitted over University Property.

Purchasing of UAS also requires prior written approval from an Executive Officer of the University. Purchasers may be employees, students or departments using University funds being disbursed through a University account, including grant funds.



  • Consideration will only be given for purchasing and/or operating a UAS if the written request includes the following:

1. exact dates and times of intended operation;

2. the identity of the individual operating the UAS;

3. the University purpose for the use of the UAS; and

4. a current 333 exemption or Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or documentation verifying that the individual operating the UAS is fully authorized by the FAA to do so.

  • In operating a UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images, operators must take all reasonable measures to avoid intrusions into areas normally considered private.
  • All uses of UAS must comply with the following:
  1. UAS must not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. These areas include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual living center rooms, changing or dressing rooms, health treatment rooms, daycare facilities and classrooms during periods of instruction. UAS may not fly closer than thirty (30) feet outside a window of any university building. 
  2. UAS may not be used to monitor or record institutional or personal information, which may be found in an individual’s workspace, on computers or on other electronic devices.
  3. UAS may not be used inside of any University building without prior permission given by an Executive Officer of the University.

Process for obtaining a COA

The FAA requires that one office be responsible for communicating with the FAA on behalf of the University and for processing COA applications. The Department of Public Safety is the designated account holder for COA’s for the University and will process all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Any University employee or student wishing to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as part of their university employment or as part of a University program must first obtain a 333 exemption or Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA.

Enforcement of Complaints

Any violations of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with applicable University procedures which may include disciplinary actions and where appropriate, legal action. All complaints concerning the operation of UAS over University Property should be referred to the Department of Public Safety. Users will also be subject to applicable Federal and State laws.

Any FAA fines incurred by individuals or departments will be the responsibility of the individuals involved. 


For purposes of this Policy, these terms should have the following meaning:

University Property – Buildings, grounds and land owned or controlled by the University.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – UAS are also known as or may be characterized as Drones. According to the FAA, a UAS is the unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft. UAS may have a variety of names including but not limited to quadcopter and quadrotor, FAA regulation applies to UAS regardless of size or weight. Model aircraft are not considered by the FAA as UAS and have different regulations.

COA – Certificate of Authorization or Waiver. The COA is an authorization issued by the FAA to a public operator for a specific UAS activity. After a complete application is submitted, FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review. If necessary, provisions or limitations may be imposed as part of the approval to ensure the UAS can operate safely with other airspace users. In most cases, FAA will provide a formal response within 60 days from the time a completed application is submitted.

333 Exemption – FAA exemption based on Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) which grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System.