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University of Arkansas bans drones on campus

by Brandon Riddle, Sara Janak | August 31, 2015 at 10:33 a.m. | Updated August 31, 2015 at 11:29 a.m.
FILE - In this June 11, 2015 file photo, a hexacopter drone is flown in Cordova, Md.

The University of Arkansas announced Monday a policy banning the use of drones and other remote-controlled aircraft on campus.

The policy prohibits the use of “unmanned aircraft systems,” also called drones, or remote-controlled model aircraft on university property or within the university’s air rights without prior written approval, the school said in a statement. Violations of the policy may result in a criminal trespass warning or possibly an arrest.

The policy does permit use of a drone if approved in advance by the provost and vice provost for research and economic development for use involving non-athletic venues or by the vice chancellor and director of athletics for athletic-related venues, the school said.

To receive approval, the aircraft would have to meet all federal certification requirements, federal and state laws, and any Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

University Police director Steve Gahagans said the purpose of the policy is public safety.

“Drones and model aircraft can be useful, even fun, but are also potentially dangerous — if they malfunction they could injure anyone on the ground. Beyond that there’s the potential that they could be intentionally used as weapons,” he said in a statement.

Drones could also be used to capture images and video that could violate student or employee privacy, and “the only real option for us is to restrict use in order to protect the people on our campus,” Gahagans said.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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