The Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)

Policy number: 9.11

Policy section: Police & Public Safety

Revised Date: January 2, 2019


1.  Definitions

Definitions of capitalized terms are set forth in Appendix A.

2.  Policy Statement

All members of the University community are personally responsible for complying with Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") regulations, state and federal laws, and University policies.

3.  Use of Drones

The use of Drones on, above, or in University owned, rented, or leased property and buildings by individuals is generally prohibited except for the following purposes:

  1. Student Use - On May 4, 2016, the FAA announced that student use of small Drones (i.e., Drones weighing less than 55 pounds) at accredited educational institutions as a component of their science, technology, and aviation-related educational curricula, or other coursework such as television and film production or the arts, is “hobby or recreational use” within the meaning of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 ("FMRA"). The student is, however, responsible for meeting and complying with all other elements required for lawful model aircraft operations pursuant to FAA regulations. Therefore, any student planning to use a Drone for University coursework on, above, or in University property, or for University coursework not on University property, must contact the Office of Legal Affairs, 214-768-3233, for guidance on how to meet FAA regulatory requirements. Any student who has not consulted with the Office of Legal Affairs before using a Drone will be subject to sanctions as described in Section 6. The use of Drones on, above, or in University owned, rented, or leased property and buildings by individuals for any purpose not related to educational curricula or other coursework in accordance with FAA guidance on the educational use of Drones is strictly prohibited.
  2. Other Uses, Including Research, Teaching, Business Operations, and Third-Party Operations. Because of the complexity and changing nature of FAA regulations at this time, anyone planning to use a Drone on, above, or in University property, or for University work not on University property, must contact the Office of Legal Affairs, 214-768-3233, for guidance on how to meet FAA regulatory requirements. Any individual who has not consulted with the Office of Legal Affairs before using a Drone will be subject to sanctions as described herein.

4.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to protect the safety and privacy of faculty, staff, students, visitors, and neighbors, as well as to protect University buildings and property, while facilitating the use of drone technology for research, teaching, operations, and outreach activities. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, University contractors, and visitors.

5.  Questions

Detailed information regarding FAA regulations is available on the FAA website at www.faa.gov/uas/.

6.  Violations

  1. An individual who acts in violation of this policy will be sanctioned in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the University.
  2. Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties that operate Drones in violation of this policy.
  3. Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units that do not comply with this policy will not be paid by the University and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.

Appendix A: Definitions

“Drone” refers to any unmanned aircraft or unmanned vehicle, unmanned remote control and free-flight drones, helicopters, airplanes, mechanically propelled or propellant guided balloons, and rockets, or any size or weight along with all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate any of the foregoing objects.


Revised: January 2, 2019

Adopted: February 12, 2018