New University Policies Restricting Hoverboards and Drones

March 11, 2016

This spring, the University has implemented two policies restricting the use of hoverboards and drones on all Columbia properties. All faculty, staff and students need to familiarize themselves with these policies. These and other University policies are published on the Essential Policies for the Columbia Community webpage.

Use of Hoverboards on University Campus and Property

  • The safety of the Columbia community is paramount. With the policy on Use of Hoverboards on University Campus and Property, Columbia prohibits the use of any and all hoverboard devices (also known as self-balancing scooters or smart boards) on campus grounds because of the potential fire hazard that results from these devices' lithium-ion batteries.
  • As part of University efforts to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty, employees, and guests, Columbia University has added hoverboards to the prohibited items list. Any hoverboard presently on Columbia University property should be removed immediately. The Department of Public Safety maintains the authority to remove or suspend operations of any hoverboard on University campus and property.
  • Failure to abide by this policy may subject the individual to disciplinary action. Damages and/or injuries occurring to University property or individuals will be the responsibility of the hoverboard operator. New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 401 prohibits hoverboards from being operated on New York City streets since they cannot be legally registered as a motor vehicle in the State of New York.
  • The ban on hoverboards extends to any and all property owned, rented, leased, and controlled by The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems on University Campus and Property

  • The operation of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a drone, is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As a private institution, Columbia University has established a policy on Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems on University Campus and Property to govern the operation by any person of a UAS from or above the University's campuses or properties.
  • Drones are permitted only for educational or research purposes. To operate a drone, approval must be obtained from Public Safety at least 48 hours in advance. Requests to Public Safety must include the date and time, purpose, and length of drone operations, as well as the area of the campus where the UAS will be used. In addition, use of a commercially operated drone requires a certificate of insurance naming The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York as an additional insured with a minimum of $5 million in general liability insurance. Operators must have experience in operating the UAS and operate them in a responsible manner, in compliance with all Federal, State and City laws.
  • Drones must not operate over areas of public assembly, stadium, or areas of construction. They also must not photograph, video, or monitor areas where other members of the University community or members of the general public would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The use of drones for hobby or recreational use on Columbia University property is not permitted.
  • Any violations of law (trespassing, illegal surveillance, reckless endangerment) or violations of University policies may subject the individual(s) to both criminal and/or disciplinary action. Students of the Columbia University community who violate this policy will be subject to Dean's Discipline as stated under the Standards and Discipline for student conduct and community standards. Damages or injuries occurring to University property or individuals will be the responsibility of the UAS operator.
  • This policy extends to any and all property owned, rented, leased, and controlled by The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

Topics

Housing, Campus Life Safety, Facilities