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Drones on Campus


(Policy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka, UAV or Drones))

DATE ISSUED: 8/16/18


All students, faculty, staff and contracted entities

Policy Statement

Saint Joseph’s College (SJC) has opportunities to integrate technological advances made possible by the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka, UAV’s or Drones) into classroom instruction, institutional research, advancement, and commercial uses, while still maintaining a safe environment. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates their uses generally. UAV users must complete and submit the request form below at least two weeks prior to the requested UAV operation.

Applicable to this Policy

  • All members of SJC community, including staff, faculty, and students
  • Third party operators or visitors (ex: parents, visiting sports teams, etc.) who fly unmanned aerial vehicles in any airspace above SJC’s property, including vendors contracted by any member of SJC, but excluding law enforcement agencies that fly drones over SJC property during the course and scope of law enforcement activities.


  • Commercial User: A person who flies an unmanned aerial vehicle for hire, compensation or as part of or incidental to a business. This includes SJC staff, faculty or paid teacher’s assistant use when flown as part of a class or for the faculty member’s own research or for college program or business use.
  • Student User: This includes student use for curriculum-required classroom or educational purposes.
  • FAA: the Federal Aviation Authority
  • Recreational/Hobbyist User: A person who flies an unmanned aerial vehicle for fun, relaxation or recreation and not for compensation/hire or in furtherance of a business or incidental to a business or program. This includes student use for non-required classroom or educational purposes (but not when assisting a faculty member in his/her research).
  • SJC’s Property: All buildings, grounds, beaches, fields, ponds, lakes, and streams, and land owned by Saint Joseph’s College. See map of SJC properties at the end of this policy docment or on mySJC.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Any contrivance invented, used or designed to navigate or fly in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. This includes model aircrafts which are unmanned and capable of sustained flight; sometimes called unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). For purposes of this policy, they will be referred to as “drones.”

Rules Regarding the Use of Drones on SJC Property

    1. All drone operators are personally responsible for reviewing, understanding, and complying with all federal, state and municipal rules and guidelines for safe drone use. The FAA is the federal governing body that manages drone operations. The FAA’s website contains helpful and essential information for all drone users, including safety and privacy considerations; how to report an incident; a FAQ section; and information about its mobile application “B4UFLY” which provides information on airspace restrictions.
    2. SJC staff, faculty and students are not permitted to operate a UAV directly over persons, moving vehicles, machinery, equipment, or boats of any kind.
    3. Drones over .55 pounds may only be used on SJC property if the user has registered the drone with the FAA and affixed the registration number to the drone.
    4. Students who fly drones as part of ongoing, credited coursework or for recreational purposes are not required to obtain an FAA Drone Operator Certificate. Faculty may assist students in drone operations so long as the operation is part of credited coursework, the student retains primary operational control, and any faculty control is incidental and secondary to the student’s (e.g. momentarily taking control if student loses control or to terminate the flight). Faculty or staff use on campus as part of their professional duties as an employee of SJC but outside of student coursework are required to obtain certification as a drone operator from the FAA.
    5. The drone user may not use the drone’s technology to photograph, record video, send live video feed, or monitor campus areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy based on society norms (e.g. the interior of a building; through a window). If clarification of “reasonable expectation of privacy” is needed, please contact the CFO or Campus Safety Supervisor on duty.
    6. The drone user may not use the drone’s technology to photograph, record video, send live video feed, or monitor neighboring areas or residences that are private property.
    7. Any recorded video or photos obtained by drone are subject to SJC policies relating to Photographic Release /Consent/Permission to Record.
    8. Drones are not permitted to fly higher than 400 feet above the ground on all SJC property.
    9. Any drone user who demonstrates unsafe or inappropriate flying behavior inconsistent with this policy or deemed to be a potential safety or privacy concern will be asked to immediately cease flying. All SJC faculty and staff reserve the right to initiate the termination of a drone’s flight, temporarily or permanently.
    10. Any SJC member who contracts with a third party to operate a drone on SJC property must ensure that the contractor: 1) has the required FAA certificates and registration; b) provides proof of general liability insurance in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 and worker’s compensation insurance; and c) adds Saint Joseph’s College of Maine as “Additional Insured” on its general liability insurance Certificate of Insurance and submits a copy of the certificate to the contracting SJC staff member, who will maintain this and the contract agreement record.
    11. FAA safety guidelines include: keeping the drone within your line of sight; never flying near other aircraft; never flying near emergency response efforts; never flying while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; never flying near equipment, machinery, or utility lines; never flying near roads; flying during daylight hours and being aware of airspace requirements at all times.
    12. The use of drones at an SJC event (ex: commencement, convocation, Alumni Weekend, etc.) requires pre-approval of the event’s hosting department and notification to SJC Security.
    13. Staff and Faculty members who intend to use drones on campus must complete the attached acknowledgement and request form and submit it to Campus Safety within two weeks prior to use.

SJC Contact

For questions about this policy, please contact Campus Safety or the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of Saint Joseph’s College.

Campus Map of Saint Joseph

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