Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones)

Due to potential risks to safety, security and privacy, USC generally prohibits operations of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS; commonly known as a drone) on or above USC property or in connection with a USC-sanctioned or affiliated event or activity, including commercial, recreational, hobbyist, or other uses.

Exceptions to this policy are allowed when:

  • A drone operating plan has been approved by a sponsoring USC school or division (generally at the dean or vice president level); the plan must still be submitted to the USC UAS Review Board for registration; or
  • A drone operating plan is submitted to the USC UAS Review Board, which will consider an exception to the policy on a case-by-case basis (see Procedures related to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) policy, available on the USC Fire Safety and Emergency Planning website)

In any event, all UAS operation is subject to relevant FAA, state and local laws and regulations, in addition to any rules and requirements imposed upon the event or activity by the university and/or by its recognized USC sponsor. Each UAS operator is responsible for compliance with all such requirements.

The university reserves the right to immediately shut down the operation, and confiscate any UAS elements, if a UAS creates any type of electronic interference, poses unacceptable risk to individuals or property, or interferes with any USC activity.

Violation of this policy may be grounds for disciplinary actions up to and including termination, suspension or expulsion from the university, in accordance with staff employment policy, the Faculty Handbook, or SCampus. Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties who operate UAS in violation of this policy. Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units not in compliance with this policy are the responsibility of those individuals or units.

Questions or comments can be addressed to the UAS Review Board and emailed to drone@admin.usc.edu. If necessary, responses will be issued to the sender within five business days of receipt.

Responsible Office

Administrative Operations

(213) 740-5527

Issued by

Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California