7,004: Policy on Video and Audio Equipment Usage
Revised: August 2018
This policy regulates the installation, operation, maintenance and use of video and audio recording equipment, including personal devices, at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The University is committed to the free exchange of ideas and freedom of action that should be found at any institution of higher learning. At the same time, it is committed to safeguarding the safety and security of those who visit, work, or study on its campus and are involved in its activities. Thus, the use of audio or video equipment on campus shall be conducted so as to minimize the intrusion on the privacy of faculty, staff, students and visitors in their personal and professional activities.
This policy applies to all personnel, schools, and departments of the University in the use of video cameras and/or audio recording equipment on university owned, leased, or controlled properties. Uses of audio and video technology in the execution of academic research projects are excluded from this policy.
This policy further covers the use of video cameras, including, but not limited to, closed-circuit television (CCTV), networked cameras, and related imaging technologies installed in public places, either indoors or outdoors. It also includes all installed audio recording and remote audio monitoring equipment.
III. Surreptitious Recording Prohibited; Exception
The use of covert electronic surveillance cameras, defined below, on the university campus is governed by Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 396.970, "Surreptitious electronic surveillance on campus; exceptions," which states:
- Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, it is unlawful for a person to engage in any kind of surreptitious electronic surveillance on a campus of the System without the knowledge of the person being observed.
- Subsection 1 does not apply to any electronic surveillance:
- Authorized by a court order issued to a public officer, based upon a showing of probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring on the property under surveillance;
- By a law enforcement agency pursuant to a criminal investigation;
- Which is necessary as part of a system of security used to protect and ensure the safety of persons on the campus; or
- Of a class or laboratory when authorized by the teacher of the class or laboratory.
"Electronic surveillance" includes video, audio/video, and audio-only recordings made via installed or portable recording devices, such as a handheld recorder, cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device. Therefore, under NRS 396.970, unless one of the stated exceptions applies, individuals are precluded from recording in-person conversations on the university campus without the knowledge of each individual being recorded.
The Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 21, "Covert Video Surveillance," also provides explicit guidelines for the use of video surveillance equipment, stating:
The use of covert video surveillance for anything other than a criminal investigation on the campuses of the Nevada System of Higher Education is prohibited. If, in a criminal investigation, such video surveillance is used, it must be approved by the President or the President's designee. This policy shall not interfere with the legitimate use of videotaping for academic purposes. (B/R 6/92)
All individuals on the university campus shall comply with the Nevada Revised Statues and the NSHE Regents Handbook policy concerning the use of covert video and/or audio equipment.
IV. Recording Classes, Lectures, and Meetings
Classes, lectures, and labs may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, however, some students may be given permission by the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to record class lectures and discussions. Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.
Students receiving permission to record from the DRC are required to provide their instructors with an Instructor Letter from the DRC regarding the approved accommodation. Instructors should not disclose the identity of students recording classes under an accommodation.
Anyone wishing to record a meeting should notify all present that he/she is recording the meeting. Anyone handling a formal procedure that the Code or any other NSHE, NAC, or university policy specifies must be recorded should notify all present that the meeting is being recorded.
V. Installed Recording Equipment
The remainder of this policy addresses the installation and use of overt surveillance equipment. Section V of the policy, therefore, does not cover, and is not intended to restrict the use of:
- handheld, cell phone, webcams, or other portable video cameras used for personal reasons, including those used with computers for video conferencing purposes;
- university-deployed video cameras used expressly to record public special events on
- audio recording equipment employed for academic research uses or by employees of the
University Police Services (UPS) in the normal course of their public safety duties.
However, any of the above three exclusions could be reviewed by the Committee on Video Surveillance (defined below) if concerns are raised that an exclusion is or could be used in a manner that violates this policy.
The utilization of installed video equipment on the university campus shall be to meet one or more of the following objectives:
- Enhance public safety and security, while reducing the costs incurred by the University in promotion of campus security, and promote compliance with any federal and state statutes related to security.
- Aid instruction and/or facilitate its delivery to remote locations, as well as enable video conferencing among remote sites; or
- Prevent, deter or halt criminal activity, and facilitate criminal investigations and police actions to safeguard citizens.
The utilization of installed audio-only surveillance equipment shall be confined to objective #3 above. In all circumstances, the University shall comply with state and federal law.
- Audio recording or monitoring equipment is not to be installed in any public or private spaces on campus for purposes of monitoring private conversations. The only exception to this prohibition would be in the event of a criminal investigation.
- Video security cameras are not to be installed in private, social, and professional spaces, including such places as private offices, private laboratories, classrooms (unless installed as part of instructional technology), residence hall student rooms, conference rooms (unless installed to facilitate remote video conferencing), bathrooms and similar facilities, except in accordance with NRS 396.970 and NSHE Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 21. Cameras will not view into private rooms, through windows into private spaces, or undergarments.
- Video equipment installed in spaces used primarily for instruction shall not be used for security monitoring purposes, and shall be turned off when not in use for instruction.
- Video surveillance of public spaces for its intended/approved purposes will be conducted in a professional and legal manner, consistent with all existing University policies, NSHE Code and policies, and Nevada Revised Statutes. Video recordings will be kept in a secured space under the responsibility of Facilities Services.
- Information obtained through video surveillance will only be released by authority of the President or the President's designee, upon recommendation of the Assistant Vice President, University Police Services, in accordance with the procedures established in this policy. In the event persons authorized to view video surveillance for safety or security purposes view possible criminal behavior or some other emergency situation, the University Police Services shall be notified immediately.
- Products of video surveillance will not be shared with any person or unit within the University, unless designated by the President or the President's designee, upon recommendation of the Assistant Vice President, University Police Service, and shall not be shared with any person or agency outside the University unless specifically authorized by law, required for law enforcement purposes, or mandated by a properly issued subpoena or warrant. Recorded video images shall not be maintained for more than 30 days, except when needed in a criminal investigation, other disciplinary proceeding under the NSHE Code or the Nevada Administrative Code, or in an anticipated legal proceeding.
- Information obtained from approved video cameras may be used by parties in disciplinary proceedings involving university faculty, staff, or students, in informal conflict resolution, or in litigation involving the University.
- Cameras installed in violation of this policy may not be used in a disciplinary proceeding against a member of the university faculty, staff, or student body.
- The following signage should be clearly posted at any public location featuring installed video cameras: "THIS AREA IS SUBJECT TO VIDEO MONITORING: For more information, contact University Police Services, (775) 784-4013." This signage is not required of covert video cameras installed in accordance with NRS 396.970 and Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 21.
- Any unauthorized disabling of or tampering with installed overt video camera systems shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings as governed by the NSHE Code and Nevada Administrative Code, and could be subject to prosecution under local, state, and federal laws.
- All existing uses of previously installed video cameras will be brought into compliance with this policy within 90 days of the implementation of this policy, and all future installations shall follow this policy.
- It is the responsibility of the Assistant Vice President, UPS to ensure, prior to the Committee on Video Surveillance (CVS) reviewing and approving any request for installation of video camera equipment, that the proposed use of video cameras is consistent with applicable sections of this policy, the Nevada Revised Statutes and the NSHE Regents Handbook.
- The requesting unit shall maintain and operate any approved installed video equipment and shall provide the name and phone number of an authorized contact person to the Assistant Vice President, UPS, and Facilities Services Fire and Life Safety Shop.
- It is the responsibility of the President to appoint the CVS. The CVS shall consist of the following members, whose collective expertise should reflect knowledge of public safety and security practices, hazardous materials security, and privacy and academic freedom rights (nominators in parentheses):
- one representative from Facilities Services (VP for Administration and Finance);
- one representative from Residential Life, Housing, and Food Services (VP for Student Services);
- four faculty members (Faculty Senate);
- one representative from the Staff Employees Council (SEC);
- one undergraduate student (ASUN Senate);one graduate student (GSA);
- the Assistant Vice President, UPS (ex officio, non-voting member).
The President may add up to two additional members to ensure that the CVS includes appropriate expertise areas. The chair shall be nominated by the membership of the CVS and approved by the President.
- The CVS shall meet as needed but at least once every six months, with a quorum established by the attendance of at least one-half of the committee. In addition to reviewing requests for video camera installation, the CVS shall periodically review long-term camera installations, review requests for removal of installed video equipment, make recommendations to the Assistant Vice President, UPS concerning appeals of video-equipment installation decisions, and recommend amendments to this policy. Once a year, the committee shall present a summary report on its activities to the President, the Faculty Senate, the Staff Employees Council, the ASUN Senate, and the GSA Council.
- It is the responsibility of the Executive Vice President and Provost to approve the installation of audio/video camera equipment in spaces used for instructional or video conferencing purposes. It is the responsibility of the Director of the Office of Digital Learning to monitor the installation and operation/maintenance of all video cameras utilized for instructional purposes.
- The Assistant Vice President, UPS is responsible for providing the Office of the President a current list of all authorized video cameras on University of Nevada, Reno properties. The Assistant Vice President, UPS is responsible for providing written notification to the Office of the President upon the addition, movement, or removal of any authorized video camera. Such lists and information shall be a part of the annual reports given to the president and governance groups listed above in #4.
- Individuals and individual units may request the installation or removal of a safety/security video camera system in specific public areas. Such requests should be submitted to the Assistant Vice President, UPS and the chair of the CVS, who will submit the request to the CVS for review and recommendation to the Assistant Vice President, UPS.
- Requests for the installation of temporary or long-term (i.e. greater than 30 days) video surveillance equipment must be reviewed by the CVS, which will recommend to the Assistant Vice President, UPS whether the equipment should be installed and utilized.
- The Assistant Vice President, UPS will render a written decision within 10 working days of receiving a recommendation of the CVS on any request to install or remove surveillance equipment. The AVP shall provide the CVS with the reasons for any decision that contradicts its recommendation.
- Should there be an urgent need to respond to a request to install a safety/security video camera, the Assistant Vice President, UPS may provisionally authorize such an installation after consultation with the chair of the CVS and notify Facilities Services for installation. If the Assistant Vice President, UPS is unsuccessful in contacting the chair of the CVS, the AVP may provisionally authorize such an installation, so long as the chair is notified in writing immediately upon the authorization. In these cases, the CVS will be asked to review the request within 30 days and make a recommendation to the Assistant Vice President, UPS as to the continuing use of the video cameras. The AVP will then have 10 working days to render a written decision.
- Students, staff and faculty may petition the Assistant Vice President, UPS to forgo the installation of a proposed camera or for the removal of an existing camera. The CVS will review the petition and make a recommendation to the Assistant Vice President, UPS, who will determine the appropriateness of installation and submit a written decision on the request within 10 working days.
- The CVS will review complaints regarding camera locations, determine whether this policy is being followed, and make recommendations to the Assistant Vice President, UPS regarding those complaints. Upon reviewing its recommendations, the Assistant Vice President, UPS or designee shall determine the appropriateness of a video camera installation.
- An individual or unit may appeal a decision by the Assistant Vice President, UPS. Such appeals must be made in writing within 10 working days of the Director's written decision. Appeals will be reviewed by the CVS, who will then make recommendations to the Assistant Vice President, UPS and the AVP's supervisor. The supervisor shall make the final decision concerning the appeal.