Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Policy


This policy sets forth the guidelines, restrictions, and requirements for the use of an unmanned aircraft system (commonly referred to as drones, but including any remotely piloted flying system, device, and/or apparatus, including all systems related thereto, all of which are collectively referred to herein as “UAS”) on property owned or otherwise controlled by Columbia College (the “College”) or elsewhere where any College related, affiliated or sponsored activities occur (these locations are collectively referred to herein as the “Property”).


This policy applies to:

  • College employees, students, and student groups operating a UAS in any location as part of their employment or as part of College activities;
  • The operation by any person of a UAS on or above any College Property; and
  • The purchase of a UAS with funding through the College, including College accounts, grants, or any other public or private College-related funding.


The operation of UAS is regulated by federal law, including but not limited to those rules and policies promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), and may also be subject to other applicable state and local laws. The policy sets forth the requirements and parameters which UAS may be operated on College Property. It is the responsibility of the UAS operator to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.


  1. Any use of a UAS that does not comply with the procedures set forth in this policy and all applicable laws is strictly prohibited. All faculty, employees and students of the College are personally responsible for complying with all applicable laws, including but not limited to FAA regulations, federal, state and local laws, and College policies and the College will not assume any liability for non-compliance. Note that Federal law requires that all UAS flown outdoors must be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number.
  2. Any College employee or student wishing to operate a UAS as part of their employment at the College or as part of a College program must first obtain the necessary approvals and registrations from the FAA. All UASs must also be registered with the College's Campus Safety Office prior to use.
  3. Any College employee, student, or unit purchasing a UAS (or the parts to assemble a UAS) with College funds or funds being disbursed through a College account, or grant funds, must contact the Plant and Facilities Operations Office in order to assess the College's ability to obtain a Certificate of Authority, other necessary FAA exemptions, and to meet local compliance requirements.
  4. Any third party or hobbyist wishing to use a UAS over College Property must first receive approval through the Campus Safety Office and register the UAS with the Campus Safety Office. Third parties and hobbyists planning to use a UAS must also provide proof of FAA approval and registration. In addition, third parties or hobbyists who wish to operate a UAS over College Property must first agree to hold the College harmless from any resulting claims, injuries, damage or harm to individuals or to any College Property and provide proof of insurance coverage for such damage and receive approval prior to use.
  5. Use of UAS must comply with any other applicable College policies as well as with any notification and approval requirements from other parties, such as airports or hospitals with helicopter services.

UAS Operating Requirements

  1. A flight request must be filed with the Campus Safety Office at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the planned use.
  2. Contractors, third party providers, students, student groups, organizations or clubs must file proper proof of insurance with the Campus Safety Office prior to use. See Attachment A for insurance requirements.
  3. UAS shall not be operated above public open-air events including but not limited to College athletic fields and facilities, or above thoroughfares, roadways, sidewalks, bike paths and pedestrian paths located on College Property without prior written approval by the Plant and Facilities Operations Office or Campus Safety Office.
  4. Indoor operation of UAS is prohibited.
  5. If the UAS is used in support of research, teaching or testing, faculty, staff or research associates must supervise student use of the UAS.
  6. No digital information may be monitored, viewed, recorded or transmitted without prior written approval by the Plant and Facilities Operations Office or Campus Safety Office.
  7. In operating a UAS for purposes of monitoring, viewing, recording and/or transmitting visual images, operators must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private in accordance with acceptable social norms, including but not limited to: restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms or dwellings, changing or dressing rooms, and health treatment rooms.
  8. UAS shall not be used to monitor or record residential hallways, residential lounges, offices, or the insides of campus facilities. UAS shall not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information which may be found, for example, on an individual's workspaces, in offices, or on computers or other electronic displays.
  9. UAS shall not create a hazard to any College Property, person, to the College community or to the public at any time. UAS may not be operated in a way that disrupts instruction or unduly affects the environment of people in or passing through a common space, those working or studying within a building, or those entering, exiting or otherwise making their way about a College Property.
  10. If a College unit arranges for a contractor or third party to use a UAS for purposes associated with a College facility, project or event, the contractor must adhere to all campus policies and the contracting party shall contact the Campus Safety Office a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the flight to ensure that the UAS owner and operator have adequate liability insurance and registration. See Attachment A for insurance requirements.


  1. Any violations of College policies by an individual will be dealt with in accordance with applicable College policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination or dismissal from the College.
  2. legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties who operate UAS in violation of this policy or other rules, regulations or laws.
  3. Fines for damages incurred by individuals or units who do not comply with this policy will not be paid by the College and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.

For additional information or questions regarding this policy, please contact the Plant and Facilities Operations Office, St. Clair Hall 4 or (573) 875-7300. 

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