Use of Electronic Recording Devices


Questions have been raised regarding the appropriate use of electronic recording devices by individuals and campus departments. It is intended to provide, on an interim basis, general guidelines for the campus on use of electronic recording devices, pending approval of formal policies, standards, guidelines and procedures.


These guidelines apply to individual users and departments and to any electronic recording device, including but not limited to cellular telephones, digital cameras, stand-alone video cameras, Internet accessible webcams, video recorders, audio recorders, and software designed to monitor computer use by a specific user.

Existing Policies and Practices

Use of these devices and application of these guidelines must comply with existing University policies and practices, including but not limited to Housing and Residential Life’s Student Housing Licensing Agreement and Form65, University Sexual Harassment Policy, Student Code of Conduct, Information Technology Resources Responsible Use Policy, and other applicable policies and laws.

Acceptable Uses

Use of electronic recording devices to facilitate specific instructional and administrative services is permitted based on established policies and practices. Such uses include but are not limited to the campus identification card program and related uses, campus publications and broadcast facilities, athletic programs and theatrical productions, scheduled distance learning classes, video conferences, digitally streamed class content (live or recorded), and video tape recording of classes or related academic events by ITS Media Distribution Services when requested to capture video, audio or still images.

Specific University venues or events may have additional guidelines for use of electronic devices. It is the responsibility of the venue owner and/or event sponsor to notify attendees of any restrictions that may apply, e.g., Alumni House, Campus Dining, University Union, Housing and Residential Life, Athletics, Recreational Sports, Performing Arts Center, Children’s Center, Robert E. Kennedy Library, etc.

Absent approved policies, standards, guidelines and procedures to the contrary for such authorized services, the guidelines below should be followed.

Expectation of Privacy

Taking photos or making audio or video recordings without permission in ANY context in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy is prohibited. Such physical areas on campus include but are not limited to on-campus housing, private offices, restrooms, changing rooms, labs, classrooms, and conference rooms. In such areas, permission must be granted by all persons being photographed or recorded. See Use in Classrooms, Exams and Meetings and Networked Cameras (WebCams) for additional guidance on obtaining permission for use in labs, classrooms, and conference rooms.

In a situation in which it is not acceptable to take a picture or recording, it is also not acceptable to publish it. Transmission on the Internet constitutes publication. Additionally, remember that all images transmitted are subject to all applicable policies and laws, including copyright, just like any other digital document.

The use of electronic devices to transmit or record images or conversations without explicit permission and acknowledgement of all parties is prohibited. Exceptions for law enforcement purposes may be granted. Any other exceptions must comply with applicable policies and laws and be approved by the President or designee.

Use in Classes, Exams, Meetings and on University Websites

During classes, exams or regular business meetings, electronic communication devices (e.g., cell phones, pagers, etc.) should either be turned off or operated in silent mode and should never be answered in class by anyone, including the instructor. Exceptions may be made in an emergency or other unusual circumstance. Where feasible, arrangements should be made in advance with the instructor or meeting sponsor. It is up to the instructor, sponsor or leader to inform participants regarding specific prohibitions or allowances prior to the start of the class or meeting. For example, it is strongly recommended that this information be included in the course syllabus.

Electronic devices may be used to record a lecture, presentation, interview or similar activity with prior permission of the individual being recorded. This permission does not extend to others who may be present. Absence of permission may constitute copyright infringement. Verbal permission may be sufficient for recording within a class or meeting for personal use. However, written permission must be obtained prior to recording or transmitting someone’s image or speech over the airwaves, in public, on the web, as part of a class assignment or any University sponsored activity or program.

It is the responsibility of the instructor, host, event sponsor or department to provide notification and obtain the necessary permissions in advance or at the time of the recording / transmission. It is recommended that promotional materials, course descriptions and/or syllabi indicate when a course/event may be recorded or transmitted. Pending development of more explicit guidelines, copies of written permissions should be retained by the instructor, host, event sponsor or department.

In accordance with ADA applicable policies and laws, instructional materials and university information presented in electronic form must be accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes recordings of lectures, events, DVDs and other recordings shown in class or posted on the web. In general, this requires that the recording be captioned.

Recordings of confidential campus activities must be adequately secured and destroyed in accordance with established campus policies and practices when no longer needed. Examples of appropriate uses may include disciplinary hearings, job interviews, tests, and similar activities.

A student may be found to have engaged in academic dishonesty if he or she provides or receives inappropriate aid to or from another person in connection with a test, assignment or other material used or intended to be used to evaluate academic performance. This includes the unauthorized use of electronic devices to record, copy, photograph, or otherwise transmit related materials.

Networked Cameras (WebCams)

Departments may install Internet accessible cameras (e.g., webcams) or other kinds of on-line cameras in instructional computing labs or spaces provided students and other users are notified upon entrance and care is taken in placement of cameras to minimize identification of individual students. It is recommended that students consent in writing to having their images transmitted, e.g., by agreeing to do so when logging into a workstation or signing a login sheet upon entry.

Written notifications must be posted in any location where webcams are being used. Notices must be highly visible, identify the purpose and responsible campus entity, and include the URL if the images being transmitted can be viewed by other students or the general public. Notices must be sufficient to alert anyone whose likeness or voice may be recorded and transmitted.

If the webcam is limited to viewing by authorized campus personnel, guidelines for surveillance cameras should be followed (see below). All webcams must be secured against potential misuse by unauthorized persons. Limited access (surveillance) webcams must be further secured to prevent the data being recorded from being shared with anyone not authorized to do so.

Surveillance Equipment and Software

Surveillance equipment and software may be placed on campus and monitored by authorized campus personnel to prevent or deter crimes and protect public safety and to facilitate official University investigations into criminal activities or violations of campus policy. Such uses must be coordinated with the University Police Department or Information Technology Services as appropriate.

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