University Policy 124

Use of Drones (Unmanned Aircraft) on Campus

Initially Approved: December 19, 2016

Policy Topic: Business Administration and Auxiliary Services

Administering Office: University Police Department


I. POLICY STATEMENT

The operation of drones (“unmanned aircraft”) is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) and North Carolina State law.  It is the policy of Western Carolina University (the “University”) to permit unmanned aircraft/ systems to be used in a manner that is consistent with institutional goals and needs, and complies with regulatory and public safety requirements.

II. SCOPE

This policy applies to:

  1. The operation by employees or students of unmanned aircraft/systems on any property owned, leased or controlled by the University as part of their University employment or as part of University academic and/or research programs;
  2. The operation by any person of unmanned aircraft/systems on or above University property or in University buildings or other enclosed spaces;
  3. The purchase and operation of unmanned aircraft/systems with funding through the University, including grants and foundation accounts; and
  4. The hiring or contracting for any unmanned aircraft/systems services with an outside vendor.

This policy does not apply to use of unmanned aircraft/systems by local, state or federal law enforcement in the scope of their duties, provided that the use is consistent with all federal and state laws and regulations pertaining thereto.

Any individual who seeks to operate unmanned aircraft/systems on University property or at any University activity must receive approval in advance in accordance with this policy.

III. DEFINITIONS

The following definition apply for purposes of this policy:

university activity” means any University sponsored or sanctioned use or activity for the purpose of education, instruction, marketing/public relations, research, or extension activities.

unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft, as defined in NCGS §63-1, that is operated without the possibility of human intervention from within or on the aircraft and that does not meet the definition of model aircraft.

unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements including communication links and components that control the unmanned aircraft and are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

university property” means buildings or grounds owned, leased, licensed or otherwise used, controlled or managed by the University.

IV. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM USE ON CAMPUS

The use of unmanned aircraft/systems for purposes of this policy is categorized by the FAA and the State of North Carolina as follows: (1) government use (i.e., operation of systems by governmental agencies for governmental purposes, including the University); (2) commercial use (i.e., use by contracted vendors); and (3) private/hobbyist use (i.e., use by a private individual on or above University property). 

Each category requires the operator to follow different procedures before using/operating unmanned aircraft/systems on campus, as provided below.

A.  Government (University) Use

Employees seeking to operate an unmanned aircraft/system on behalf of the University for University purposes, are responsible for obtaining all required documentation and approvals in compliance with FAA regulations, federal and state laws, and applicable University policies.

Employees of any local, state or federal governmental agency seeking to operate an unmanned aircraft/system on or above University property for governmental purposes, are responsible for obtaining all required documentation and approvals in compliance with FAA regulations, federal and state laws, and applicable University policies.

Government use on or above University property, or elsewhere on behalf of the University, must be approved in advance through the University Police Department to ensure compliance and insurance coverage.

B. Commercial Use

Contracted vendors seeking to operate an unmanned aircraft/system on University property, or anywhere on behalf of the University, is responsible for obtaining all required documentation and approvals in compliance with FAA regulations, federal and state laws, and applicable University policies.

Commercial use on or above University property, or elsewhere on behalf of the University, must be approved in advance through the  University Police Department to ensure compliance and insurance coverage.

C.  Private/Hobbyist Use

Private/hobbyist use of unmanned aircraft systems on or above University property is not permitted.

D.  Indoor Flight

Indoor flight of an unmanned aircraft/system is prohibited in any University owned, leased or controlled building or other enclosed space.

E.  Applications for University Approval

The University Police Department shall be responsible for administering this policy and providing the University’s approval of government use and commercial use as required by this policy.

V. POLICY VIOLATIONS

Individuals who violate this policy may be subject to progressive discipline in accordance with University employment policies or the student code of conduct, whichever the case may be.  Private/hobbyist users who violate this policy may be trespassed by the University Police.

VI. POLICY REVIEW

This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary every four (4) years.

VII. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES

FAA drone registration: http://federaldroneregistration.com/

Summary of FAA Rule (Part 107):  https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf

NCDOT – operating unmanned aircraft systems: https://www.ncdot.gov/aviation/uas/
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