Drones on Campus

The operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, has become increasingly popular for a growing number educational, commercial, and safety purposes. UAS offer significant opportunities at the University of Oregon for teaching, the advancement of research and innovation, and to assist in the deployment of emergency relief that can help mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and even help save lives. At the same time, UAS present health, safety, and environmental risks, as well as privacy concerns that must be balanced with the University’s other missions. UAS are also heavily regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


General rules for use

The University is committed to providing an innovative, safe, and secure environment for all individuals. To that end, the University’s enacted UAS Policy and Procedures establish safety practices, privacy restrictions, and oversight of UAS and model aircraft on University property and university-sponsored events.  The UAS Policy applies to three different types of UAS Operations:

  • Public/Government Operations
  • Civil/Commercial Operations  
  • Hobby or Recreational Uses (“Model Aircraft”) 

The University of Oregon reserves the right to revoke previously approved UAS (drone) requests due to emergency, safety or federal air traffic control considerations. 


Anyone wishing to operate a UAS or model aircraft on UO property or at a UO-sponsored event is required to obtain approval from Safety and Risk Services prior to operation, and submit a completed UAS Request Form via the online form at least 14 days in advance of the requested flight date. Third parties or vendors who seek to operate a UAS on UO property or at a UO-sponsored event will be asked to sign a "hold harmless" agreement and attest to insurance coverage in the amount required by SRS to cover UAS operations.

How To Request UAS (Drone) Approval

Step 1: Assemble necessary documents and information

  • Copy of remote pilot's license
  • Map of the flight plan and include the number of pilot/drone monitors, and risk mitigation. 
  • FAA registration number.
  • Oregon Department of Aviation registration number - Only required if UO owns the drone. 
  • If drone is not owned by the UO, Copy of Certificate of Insurance, naming the UO as "additional insured" (under "Description of Operations," the following verbiage pertaining to additional insured should appear: "The State of Oregon, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon, University of Oregon, and their respective officers, employees, and members.")

Step 2: If you are not UO-affiliated, download and fill out the Hold Harmless Agreement PDF and provide a copy of your certificate of insurance by attaching to the online webform.

Step 3:  Attach all assembled documents to your online request webform: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Request form

Step 4: Confirmation: After submission, you’ll receive an acknowledgment of receipt from Safety and Risk Services via smartsheet webform, and possibly emailed follow-up questions from riskmanagement@uoregon.edu. Within no more than 14 business days of submission, you’ll receive an approval or refusal of the request.

Data Retention

  • Any UAS data, including video and audio recordings, resulting from the operation of UAS by UO will be retained pursuant to the University’s retention schedule, which is currently OAR 166-475.

Records Retention


  • Final/graded coursework and exams, 1 year after course completion
  • Thesis or dissertation, permanent (the permanent record is the analysis of the research – the extent to which the university would keep supplementary material is up for debate)


  • Production versions used in publications (such as the web), archive or destroy after 5 years depending on reuse value
  • Caveat: Marketing or Communications departments typically keep raw footage as an asset and may wish to retain that material indefinitely


  • Not in scope for the Records Management Program.  Should not be stored on UO servers, etc.


  • Funded research, minimum of 3 years after submission of final financial report
  • Caveat: research data is typically permanent – agencies such as the NSF expect data management plans https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp

If you have any questions or wish to request or discuss changes to the retention periods, then please contact recordsmgr@uoregon.edu.


Departments that purchase a UAS must register their drone with the office of Risk Management and Insurance.  Completing this from does not provide approval for drone flights.  The below link is for internal University use only. 

University of Oregon Drone Registration 


Information and Resources