This policy describes the appropriate use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones) over the College’s Property, from the ground up to 400 feet in altitude.


All faculty, students, employees, contractors, and members of the community present on Hamilton College property are held to this policy.

Hamilton College (or “the College”) supports the use of innovative technologies in research and teaching endeavors. While Unmanned Aerial Systems (often referred to as drones) have multiple applications in education and research, the College also recognizes the privacy and safety issues associated with UAS use. This policy has been established to provide direction, ensure compliance with all applicable laws, reduce safety risk, and maintain privacy for all members of the Hamilton College community. Unmanned Aerial Systems are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration; federal operating rules and licensing requirements can be found at .  


The following definitions are used in the Policy:

  • Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)  The FAA defines UAS as an unmanned aerial and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aerial. An unmanned aerial is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aerial that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aerial (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).
  • College Property: All property owned by the College.  
  • FAA: The Federal Aviation Administration
  • UAS operator: The person operating the UAS.

Requirements for the Operation of Hamilton College Owned or Approved UAS

  • UAS operators must comply with all federal, state, and local rules concerning the operation of UAS.  
  • UAS may only be used on College Property for educational or research purposes.
  • UAS used for educational or research purposes must be registered and marked with the FAA registration number before being used on College Property.
  • Recreational or hobby use of UAS over College property is prohibited.
  • The UAS operator must not impose upon another’s reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with the law and social norms.
  • Before flying UAS on College Property, the UAS operator must notify Hamilton’s Campus Safety and also provide a copy of the Remote Pilot Airman Certificate and FAA’s certificate of registration and be approved by campus safety. Requests for approval can be made by submitting an application to Campus Safety.
  • If non-Hamilton College owned drones are used on campus for contractual purposes, a certificate of insurance showing proof of the coverage must be reviewed by the Director of Auxiliary Services at 315-859-4999 prior to approval by Campus Safety. Hamilton should be named as Additional Insured.
  • Faculty members wishing to incorporate UAS into their courses for educational purposes should refer to the FAA regulations for guidance on use of UAS by students: and notify and obtain the approval of campus safety.
  • Any accident should be reported to Campus Safety and to the FAA as outlined in regulation 14 C.F.R. § 107.9.  If there is a need for immediate medical assistance, 911 should be contacted as appropriate.

Safety Guidelines

In addition to the FAA’s safety guidelines, the following rules must be followed:

  • UAS may not be flown near any campus building or operate over areas of public assembly without prior approval of Campus Safety. Limits of flight may be extended on a case-by-case basis.
  • UAS must not operate over areas of construction, power stations, water treatment facilities, roadways, or other sensitive properties without prior approval of Campus Safety.  
  • Do not fly in adverse weather conditions.
  • No drugs or alcohol will be consumed within the time limits as outlined in FAA Regulation, 14 C.F.R. §§ 107.27, 91.17.
  • UAS may not be flown within a five mile radius of any airport without prior authorization from the local air traffic control.
  • The College reserves the right to deny permission to operate UAS on College Property.  
  • Noncompliant or unsafe flying behavior will not be tolerated. Hamilton College’s Campus Safety reserves the right to suspend operations of UAS that are not compliant with FAA regulations, this policy, or presents a danger to College property or the community.
  • Violations will be addressed by student judicial process, the senior officer of an employee's division, and may be reported to the FAA. Repeated violations could result in loss of the privilege.

Helpful Resources


Please direct any questions about this policy to Campus Safety at 315-859-4141 or campo@hamilton.edu.


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