Campus Safety and Security

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Section: Campus Safety and Security Policies
Policy Name: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Policy Owner: Executive Vice President
Responsible University Office: Office of Campus and Public Safety
Origination Date: September 26, 2017
Revisions: May 18, 2020
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy governs the operation by any person of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) on University property. This policy also governs all University personnel while operating UAS in any location as part of their University employment or as part of University activities. Any operation of UAS by the University Police or state, county, or local police, for legitimate law enforcement purposes in case of an emergency, is exempt from this policy.

    Reason for Policy – The policy is established to require compliance with all applicable laws, including FAA requirements, state law, and local laws or regulations regarding UAS. Further, the policy requires compliance with the University’s policies and procedures relating to export control and trade sanctions. Finally, the policy promotes the safety, security, and privacy of the members of the University community.

  2. DEFINITIONSAs used in this policy, the following terms shall have the meanings specified.
    1. “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (“UAS” or “Drones”) means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including communication links and components that control the unmanned aircraft.  For the purposes of this definition, unmanned aircraft shall mean aircraft without a human pilot on board the aircraft.
    2. “University” means the University of Delaware and/or any of its subdivisions.
    3. “University property” means any and all property owned, rented, leased, or controlled by the University.
    4. The phrase “on University property” shall mean “from, on or above University property. ”
    5. “University personnel” means faculty, students and staff of the University, persons performing voluntary work for the University, and contractors performing under a contract with the Univerity.
    6. “FAA” means Federal Aviation Administration.
  3. POLICY STATEMENTUniversity of Delaware supports and encourages the use of innovative technology in research and education.  Unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) represent a rapidly growing industry, creating unique educational, research, commercial, and recreational opportunities for faculty, students, and the broader campus community.  This policy attempts to reduce the risks to safety, security, and privacy due to the operation of UAS on University property.  All persons operating UAS on University property shall ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local rules and regulations.
    1. General Policy
      Any use of a UAS on University property, or inside a building on University property, is strictly prohibited without prior written University authorization.
    2. Obtaining authorization for UAS Operations on University Property
      The University may authorize the following limited UAS operations on University property at its discretion:

      Educational or Research Uses
      Civil or Commercial Uses
      Public or Government Uses

      Persons interested in obtaining authorization for UAS operations shall submit the Application for Authorization to the University of Delaware Campus & Public Safety Office at:

      Office of Campus and Public Safety
      413 Academy Street
      Newark, DE 19716
      Phone: 302-831-7285
      Application may be sent electronically via email to the following address:

      Any notifications, or inquiries concerning UAS operations on University property, shall also be submitted to the above address. All applications for authorization shall be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the planned flight date.  All required elements of an application must be received before the application can be reviewed and/or approved by the University.

      All authorized UAS operations shall be in accordance with all federal, state, and local rules and regulations. All authorized UAS operations shall also be in strict adherence to all applicable University policies, including but not limited to policies that promote the safety, security, and privacy of University personnel.

      If the UAS is operated by a contractor pursuant to an authorization under this policy, he/she shall be accompanied by a representative of the University at all times.

    3.  Prohibited Uses – The following uses of UAS are prohibited on University property. If you are part of a University affiliated research project and need to use UAS for one of the uses listed in this section, or any other use prohibited by this policy, contact the Vice President of Research, Scholarship & Innovation. The Vice President of Research, Scholarship & Innovation may grant a waiver of this section of the Policy if appropriate, after review and discussions with the requesting department.
      1. Hobby or recreational use of UAS is strictly prohibited on or above University Property, except as part of a course or University sanctioned educational program, or for an event organized by a student organization recognized by the University.  Prior authorization shall be obtained in accordance with this Policy for any such uses.
      2. UAS shall not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.  These areas include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms, and health treatment rooms.
      3. UAS shall not be used to monitor or record residential hallways, residential lounges, or the insides of campus daycare facilities.
      4. 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, on computer or other electronic displays.
      5. UAS shall not be operated over areas of public assembly and stadiums.
      6. All types of anti-UAS technologies, including but not limited to devices that jam signals to or from a UAS, are strictly prohibited.
    4. Responsibility and Enforcement
      Anyone operating UAS on University property is personally responsible for complying with FAA regulations, state and federal laws, and all university policies and procedures.

      Any violations of federal, state, and local laws or violations of University policies may subject the UAS operator to civil, criminal and/or disciplinary action. 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. Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties that operate UAS in violation of this policy.  The University may report any unauthorized UAS operations to campus and local law enforcement and may prosecute such individuals to the fullest extent allowable under the law.  University personnel who violate this policy may also be subject to discipline and/or possible civil or criminal action.

References and Resources