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Drone/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use Procedure - 70.01.04

College Policy Number/Title:

Drones on Campus

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipment and use is strictly prohibited on most college campuses.  Use of UAVs/drones is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Howard Community College’s (HCC) geographical location within the Washington DC metropolitan area presents regulatory challenges. Due to this reason, as well as HCC’s close proximity to Howard County General Hospital and other private heliports, flying UAVs/drones of any type is prohibited on college property (facilities and grounds) except when approved by authorized college personnel for operational or instructional use. Individual students, employees, or outside entities may not operate UAVs/drones on college property, including facilities and grounds, without the required authorization.

Operational Use

The operational use of UAVs/drones of any type by any individual is prohibited without specific authorization from the president or appropriate vice president in consultation with the college environmental health and safety supervisor. If special permission is granted to support activities or events on campus, the individual given authorization to operate the UAV must follow FAA regulations. Federal law requires that small unmanned aircraft weighing more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds that do not fly exclusively under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number. All requirements must be met and will be coordinated with the college environmental health and safety supervisor.

Instructional Use

The use of UAVs/drones of any type is prohibited on college property unless used under the auspices of an academic program with specific authorization from the president or appropriate vice president in consultation with the college environmental health and safety supervisor. UAVs/drones shall 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, and private offices. UAVs/drones shall not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information that may be found, for example, in an individual's workspace or on computers or other electronic displays.

Commercial Use

The use of drone technology for facility inspection, including aerial photography of construction sites, is prohibited without specific authorization from the president or appropriate vice president in consultation with the college environmental health and safety supervisor.  Commercial use is governed and regulated by the FAA.  The FAA requires mandatory registration and certification under Advisory Circular No. 91-57A.  Failure to comply with these regulations can result in up to $250,000 in fines and up to three years in prison.

Insurance Requirements

The college may require additional insurance provisions for operational and instructional use to ensure compliance with legal obligations and to reduce risks to safety, security, and privacy.

Interference with College Activities

The college reserves the right to immediately shut down the operation of any UAV/drone if it creates any type of electronic interference, poses a hazard to sensitive campus equipment, or interferes with any college activity.

Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement use of UAV technology in execution of a search warrant or as part of a tactical response to an immediate threat is automatically authorized, subject to FAA regulations and applicable laws and government regulations.

Effective Date: 09/14/18

President’s Office Use:  VPAF

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