SA0950 – Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Effective: February 1, 2017
Objective:

To ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including without limitation, FAA regulations. To mitigate to the University and to individuals potentially affected by the operations of unmanned aircraft systems (e.g., risks relating to safety, security, privacy, and liability).

Policy:
  1. Scope.
    This policy applies to all persons who use or intend to use UAS either on University property or in connection with University employment. This policy supplements the University of Tennessee's rule on the use of unmanned aircraft, Chapter 1720-01-02-.06, and applies to University units even though Chapter 1720-01-02-.06 exempts University units.
  2. Definitions.
    1. The term "FAA" means the Federal Aviation Administration, which is the federal government agency that regulates the national airspace system, including, without limitation, the operation of UAS.
    2. The term "University property" means any and all real property owned, controlled, or operated by The University of Tennessee, including the air above the property necessary for the reasonable use and enjoyment of the property.
    3. The term "University unit" means any and all academic, administrative, or auxiliary departments or divisions of the University or any other official entities of the University, functioning through University employees acting within the scope of their University employment.
    4. The term "unmanned aircraft" means a device that is used or is intended to be used for flight in the air without an individual in or on the device.
    5. The term "unmanned aircraft systems" or "UAS" means an unmanned aircrafts and its associated elements that are required for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft in the national airspace system.
  3. UAS Coordinator.
    Campuses and institutes must designate a person or committee ("UAS Coordinator") who will be responsible for: (1) reviewing, approving, and providing guidance for UAS operations on University property or in connection with University employment; and (2) establishing procedures to implement and enforce this policy.
  4. Operation of UAS.
    1. All persons who use UAS on University property or in connection with University employment are personally responsible for complying with:
      1. Federal, state, or local laws or regulations, including without limitation, FAA regulations (e.g., operational, registration, licensing, and notification requirements) and export control regulations; and
      2. University rules, policies, procedures, contracts, and research grants.
    2. All persons must obtain approval for the operation of a UAS from the UAS Coordinator prior to operating a UAS on University property unless the UAS is operated as required by law or by law enforcement or emergency personnel acting under the authority of law.
      1. Persons requesting approval for the operation of a UAS must, at a minimum, demonstrate to the UAS Coordinator that the operation of the UAS will be in compliance with this policy, including without limitation, the operational, registration, licensing, and notification requirements set forth in FAA regulations.
      2. The UAS Coordinator may adopt a procedure requiring persons to submit requests for approval for the operation of a UAS to the UAS Coordinator within a certain amount of time in advance of the proposed UAS operation. The UAS Coordinator may provide a blanket approval to operate UAS (i.e., exempt a person from the requirement to obtain approval from the UAS Coordinator prior to each UAS operation).
      3. The UAS Coordinator, in consultation with the Office of Risk Management and the Office of the General Counsel, may impose requirements relating to proof of insurance and the execution of releases of liability with respect to UAS operations by persons who are not University employees.
      4. The UAS Coordinator may request additional information or clarification from the requestor, and may provide direction or other requirements as a condition of approving the UAS operations.
    3. All employees must obtain approval for the operation of a UAS on non-University property from the UAS Coordinator prior to operating a UAS. The UAS Coordinator may adopt a procedure requiring employees to submit requests for approval for the operation of a UAS to the UAS Coordinator within a certain amount of time in advance of the proposed UAS operation. The UAS Coordinator may provide a blanket approval to operate UAS.
    4. UAS must not be operated:
      1. In a manner that violates this policy, including without limitation, violating federal, state, or local laws or regulations;
      2. Inside University buildings or facilities;
      3. On University-owned streets or University-owned sidewalks;
      4. Above a human being who is either not directly participating in the operation of the unmanned aircraft or not located under a covered structure that can provide reasonable protection from a falling unmanned aircraft;
      5. On University property within four hours prior to the scheduled kickoff time of an intercollegiate football game on the campus, during the game, or within two hours after the conclusion of the game;
      6. Outside the hours of official sunrise and sunset; or
      7. In a manner that blocks or substantially impedes vehicular bicycle, pedestrian, or other traffic;
      8. In a manner that blocks or substantially impedes entrances or exits to University property;
      9. In a manner that substantially disrupts or interferes with operations, events, or activities taking place on University property;
      10. In a manner or in a place that unreasonably threatens the health or safety of another person;
      11. In a manner that monitors or records an area where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy;
      12. In a manner or in a place that unreasonable threatens damage to University property.
    5. The UAS Coordinator may grant exceptions to this policy that are in the best interests of the University as long as the exceptions do not violate any federal, state, or local law or regulation.
  5. Purchases of UAS by University Units.
    1. University units must comply with FISCAL POLICY FI0405 with respect to purchases of UAS. University units should consult with the UAS Coordinator before purchasing UAS with University funds in order to ensure that the proposed use(s) of the UAS will be in accordance with this policy, FAA regulations, and export control regulations.
    2. University units must comply with FISCAL POLICY FI0605 with respect to using, recording, controlling, maintaining, repairing, transferring, and disposing of UAS.
    3. University units must notify the Office or Risk Management about UAS purchased with University funds. The Office of Risk Management is authorized to develop procedures to implement the notification requirement.
  6. Export Control Regulations.
    The United States Department of State (Export Control Regulations) and the United States Department of Commerce (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) regulate export control over various types of UAS.  University employees who plan on designing, building, modifying, and/or dismantling UAS must give prior notice to the appropriate campus or institute export control office.  In addition, with respect to UAS purchased by University units, the Office of Risk Management will conduct an initial export control review of each UAS purchase and the proposed use of the UAS and, when appropriate, will request a more detailed assessment or other involvement by the appropriate campus or institute export control office.
  7. Consequences for Policy Violations.
    1. Individuals who violate this policy may be required to cease operation of their UAS immediately and until policy compliance is achieved.
    2. Individuals who violate this policy may be held accountable for their actions in accordance with law and applicable University disciplinary policies and procedures. The UAS Coordinator is authorized to notify the FAA and/or law enforcement of violations of this policy, law, and/or regulations.
    3. The UAS Coordinator may consider an individual's history or compliance or non-compliance with this policy in determining whether to grant a request to operate a UAS.
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