Number: CW 060
Effective: March 13, 2017
Department: Risk Management
Last Revision: April 28, 2017


To provide guidance concerning the appropriate operation of and uses for Unmanned Aircraft Systems on CWI property.


Applies to all CWI employees, students, members of the public and volunteers on CWI campuses, at CWI field sites or on CWI field trips.


Employee: Any individual currently employed by CWI and compensated through its payroll system.

Student: Anyone enrolled as a student at CWI. For purposes of this policy, “student” includes all student employee positions.

Volunteer: A person who performs services and/or engages in activities on behalf of or for the benefit of CWI without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation. The term “volunteer” does not include CWI students participating in activities that are part of a course or program in which the student is enrolled.

Member of the Public: A person who is on College property not in the capacity as a student, employee, or volunteer. A member of the general populace.

Campus: All CWI locations and premises, field and research areas, vehicles, grounds, buildings, commercial operations and residences under College ownership or control.

Field Site/Field Trip: A work site external to the College for the purpose of research or study. A field trip usually is an approved part of a course curriculum.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or “Drone”: Defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the unmanned aircraft (US) and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft.”

Drone: A common term used to define a UAS, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or remote controlled model aircraft (RCMA).


The College supports the use of UASs to enhance administrative, research, instructional, and service functions of the institution. The College must take into consideration privacy and safety issues when providing direction for use of UASs.

UAS regulation is emerging and multi-faceted. UAS operational safety is regulated by the FAA and is expected to evolve significantly in the near future; therefore this policy will change with updates in FAA regulations.



I. The following types of use are allowed on College property:

  • Academic Use, defined as:
    • Related to a class or course of study, including academic research, by an enrolled student and/or employee.
  • Commercial Use, defined as:
    • Use for compensation or as part of a commercial enterprise, including but not limited to: taking photos or video for sale, service or fee. Commercial use must be in compliance with all privacy laws.
  • Institutional Use, defined as:
    • Having a direct use and benefit to the College for current, future or ongoing operations. Institution or Administrative use must be for the benefit of a College department. Use by contractors or assisting/coordinating agencies of the College working on a College project is permitted. A request for such use must be approved by the sponsoring College department.
  • Recreational (or hobby) Use, defined as:
    • For pleasure or personal interest only. Taking photos or video is allowed for personal use, not for compensation or sale to another person, and in compliance with all privacy laws.
  • Specialized Use. defined as:
    • Any other use not defined as academic/research, institutional/administrative or commercial, including but not limited to journalism or breaking news use.

The above situations are permitted only:

  • With a current use permit specific to the type of use;
  • With an approved flight notification plan, and;
  • Subject to all Operating Restrictions.

II. Operating Restrictions

  • The College, within its sole discretion, may restrict or prohibit any UAS or Drone operation for any reason, including but not limited to the following circumstances:
    • Unsafe Operation. Any operation on College property that unreasonably imperils a person or property is prohibited.
    • Violation of Law, Regulation, or Policy. Any operation that violates current FAA and/or other federal, state or local law or regulation is prohibited. Any FAA regulations that control the use of UAS, apply to other unmanned aircraft as well, except when not feasible or practical. Where College policy is more restrictive that FAA regulations, College policy governs (way waivers from FAA notwithstanding). Any operation that violates any College policy is prohibited.
    • Invasion of Privacy. Any operation that invades the privacy of any College student, employee or other person on College property is prohibited. Invasion of privacy includes but is not limited to:
      • An unwarranted intrusion by the operator into a person’s private activities, affairs, or seclusion.
      • Any appropriation or exploitation of a person’s name, likeness or personality.
      • An operator’s public disclosure of private facts.
      • An operator placing another person in a false light.
      • Any recording or unlawful interception of private communications or information. This includes, but is not limited to any violation of applicable state and local privacy laws.
      • Any viewing of or capturing images of individuals within any College building or facility where such individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, including without limitation, classrooms, locker rooms, restrooms, and libraries.
    • Nuisance.
      • Operating in a manner that creates a nuisance under statute or common law is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, operation that is:
        • Injurious to a person’s health.
        • Indecent.
        • Offensive to the senses. 
        • An obstruction to the proper free use or enjoyment of College property so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of the property.
        • Any operation that interferes with or disrupts the College’s educational mission is also prohibited.
    • Property Damage.
      • Any operation that damages College property or the property of persons on College property is prohibited.
    • Harm to Plants or Wildlife.
      • Any operation that causes harm, is likely to harm or disturbs any wildlife or plant life on College property is prohibited.
    • Operation without a current College permit and approved flight notification plan.
      • Operation of any airborne vehicle on College property without a College-issued permit through AirMap, or other properly written permission, as well as a current flight notification plan is prohibited.
    • The following activities are restricted unless the operating permit specifies otherwise:
      • Operation during the night or under poor visual conditions. Operation is prohibited during nighttime hours, between dusk and dawn and under poor visual conditions, including but not limited to, fog, smoke, heavy snow, or heavy rain.
      • In unapproved locations or at restricted times. Times and locations for flight are allowed only as specified by the permit granted and based on flight notification approval.
      • Carrying a payload. Unmanned airborne vehicles may not carry a payload other than a camera or video recording device.
      • On or near helipads. Flight near or landing on helipads is prohibited. When a helicopter is in range, flight within one nautical mile is not allowed.
      • Within 200 feet of certain buildings. Flight within 200 feet of residence halls or sports facilities is not allowed.
  • In addition to the above restrictions the following Campus Use conditions apply:
    • Register the UAS with CWI the AirMap App. As part of the registration, operators will need to provide documentation of authorization from the FAA.
    • Notify Campus Security of intent to operate a UAS at a specific time and place, before each flight.
    • Failure to register the flight or notify Campus Security as outlined above is a violation of this policy and will result in disciplinary action and/or loss of privileges to possess an UAS on campus, as outlined in Section VII of this policy.
    • Follow rules and all other terms in this policy including:
      • Do not operate a UAS in a reckless or careless manner or under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
      • Do not fly a UAS weighing more than ten (10) pounds.
      • Do not fly beyond the line of sight. Use of a first person view (FPV) devise is not considered line of sight.
      • Do not exceed four hundred (400) feet of altitude.
      • Do not use a metal blade propeller.
      • Do not fly directly over unprotected people.
      • Do not fly beyond your established flight line or designated perimeter as provided in the notification section of this policy.
      • UASs may be affixed with cameras if operators comply with the College’s Filming and Photography policy.
      • The operation of UASs may be prohibited during special events and in certain campus areas. Operators are required to obtain that information from Campus Security.
    • Inside Buildings:
      • Flying inside campus buildings, including academic buildings, residence halls, and/or parking garages, is not regulated by the FAA.
      • Flying inside campus buildings, including academic buildings and resident halls is allowed when:
        • The activity is authorized by CWI’s Vice President of Operations; and.
        • The use is part of an academic program or club or team activity provided that such use is specifically sponsored by an employee. 

III. Record Keeping

  • For any Institutional or Academic Uses where images or information is collected or recorded for College purposes, such images or information are public records and must be retained in accordance with appropriate retention schedules.


IV. General Guidelines

  • All UAS operators must comply with federal regulations when operating a UAS on campus or during CWI activities off campus.
  • Violation of federal or state law may result in detainment, prosecution and/or fines.

V. Institutional Usage

  • The FAA may grant permission to institutions to operate UASs, so long as their use qualifies as a government function under 49 USC 40125. In order for a unit within the College to operate UASs for a government function, the College must apply for and be granted a Section 333 Exemption or a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA to operate a UAS as noted in Section VIII.
  • Because of the potential legal and risk management issues involved in managing a Section 333 Exemption or COA, employees and students at the College who wish to pursue either application must consult with the Vice President of Operations on the application process. The Vice President of Operations, in consultation with other appropriate Vice Presidents as needed, has final approval and oversight over all matters involving College of Western Idaho COAs and Section 333 Exemptions.
  • All operators flying a UAS under a Section 333 Exemption or CWI COA are subject to the rules and guidelines provided by the Division of Research and not necessarily the rules provided in Section II of this policy (on-campus rules). However, if an operator must fly an UAS on-campus to meet a research or other government function, then the operator must also comply with Section II of this policy.

VI. Notification

  • When anyone observes a violation of this policy, he or she shall notify Campus Security.
  • Upon notification, Campus Security will either dispatch someone from that department or request law enforcement to respond to the area to notify the operator of campus policy, and ensure the activity ceases. Campus Security will take whatever other enforcement actions are necessary to maintain safety.

VII. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action:

  • Student violations will be handled through the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Employee violations will be handled through Human Resources.
  • The public may be excluded from campus pursuant to applicable CWI policies and procedures.
  • In addition, violation of federal or state law may result in detainment, prosecution and/or fines.

VIII. Operation of all UAS/Drone on CWI campuses is governed by and must abide by the following: