University Policy 101
Installation and Use of Video Cameras for Non-Academic Purposes

Approved by Executive Council: 5/12/08
Posted: May 12, 2009
Policy Topic: Business Administration & Auxiliary Services
Administering Office: Administration and Finance


It is the intent of this policy to respect the privacy of students, employees and visitors while authorizing the use of video technology for university purposes. WCU is committed to implementing and maintaining a security plan that incorporates the use of video technology to enhance community safety through crime prevention and detection activities. In addition, WCU will use video technology for purposes such as recruitment, marketing, promotions, news gathering, training and coaching.


This policy applies to video cameras installed, affixed or located, permanently or temporarily, for the purpose of monitoring or observing activity over time. It does not apply to legitimate uses of video cameras for instructional or research purposes. It does not apply to the legitimate use of non-affixed, portable video cameras used for news gathering or promotional purposes. It applies to video technology installed during either the course of capital construction or as an independent project. The cameras to which this policy applies are referred to as “Non-Academic Video Cameras”. Non-Academic video cameras and video recording devices being used on campus prior to the adoption of this Policy may continue to operate without the need for action under Sections IV.B. and IV.C. below.


A. Video Cameras for General Safety and Security

Video cameras, with or without video recording capability, may be used overtly on campus to enhance safety and security. Cameras are not required to be monitored continuously in real time and are not intended to serve as a reliable way to request or attract police assistance, if needed.

B. Video Cameras for Targeted Criminal Investigative Purposes

The Director of University Police may use video cameras, overtly or covertly, on a short-term basis for law enforcement purposes including, but not limited to, evidence gathering during a criminal investigation. Such use must comply with the law and any standards or procedures adopted by the University Police. Other than paragraph IV.E. below, the rest and remainder of this policy are not applicable to cameras used for investigative purposes.

C. Video Cameras for Marketing, Training, or Public Observation

Video cameras (including web cams) may also be used overtly for viewing and/or recording images in public spaces for university purposes, including marketing and recruitment, employee training, athletic coaching, or public observation. Images of activities in public spaces may be distributed electronically without notice to participants.


A. General

It is the responsibility of all administrators and department heads, including WCU Police, to make recommendations about the level of security required on campus. Decisions to install cameras under paragraphs III.A. and III.C. above will be made through consultation and deliberation as described below.

B. Role of Requesting Office/Department/Group

An office/department/group requesting authorization to install a camera(s) must prepare an application for video camera installation and use. The application is available from the University Police and subject to review as provided in IV.C, below. The authorized user is responsible for all costs associated with the camera including the purchase, operation, maintenance/repair, installation and removal costs.

C. Role of the Non-Academic Video Camera Committee (NAVCC)

The NAVCC will be composed of the President of the Student Body (or designee), the chair of the Faculty Senate (or designee), the Director of University Police, the Associate Provost for Information Technology (or designee), and the appointee of each of the Vice Chancellors. The NAVCC is responsible for reviewing all requests for camera installations and use covered in this policy and for ensuring that the request includes, at a minimum, a description of the following:

  1. Purpose, location, and areas to be viewed by each camera;
  2. Compatibility with existing university equipment and standards set by IT for the university’s online video distribution system;
  3. Retention period for images captured and recorded, if any, by each camera;
  4. Budget available for purchase, operation, maintenance and repair, installation and removal of camera(s) and video recording devices, if any;
  5. Description of how the proposed camera use fits into the office/department/group’s security plan, including systems, operations, education and training;
  6. Plans for the use and distribution, if any, of images captured by each camera or recording device; and
  7. Assurance of compliance with applicable privacy laws

The NAVCC will review each request and either forward its recommendation to the respective Vice Chancellor for further approval or recommend changes to the proposed application to ensure lawful and sound use of cameras, video recording devices and recordings, compatibility with online video distribution standards, and proper installation and maintenance.

D. Role of the Vice Chancellors

The vice chancellor of the requesting unit has the authority to approve or deny installation and use of a video camera with or without a video recording device for purposes covered by this policy. Consultation with other members of the Executive Council may be appropriate at the discretion of the reviewing vice chancellor.

E. Role of WCU Police Department

  1. Non-Academic video cameras used for university purposes must be registered with the WCU Police Department except for those purchased, maintained and operated by the Office of Public Relations or student media.
  2. WCU Police may operate all non-academic video cameras or provide direct supervision of the use of such equipment by authorized users, as necessary.
  3. The WCU Police Department will store, retain and otherwise control all images in whatever format captured by non-academic video cameras and recording devices operated for law enforcement purposes pursuant to Paragraph III. B. above. These materials shall be available only to duly authorized officials of WCU with a legitimate educational or business interest and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings. University offices conducting investigations into violations of law, policy, or regulations, including, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, have legitimate educational or business purposes to review the records. Materials will also be made available to authorized agencies or persons upon receipt by the Police Department of a duly issued subpoena or other court order.
  4. WCU Police will issue an annual report to the campus disclosing the location of all non-academic video cameras and recording devices except for those being used for on-going criminal investigations under paragraph III.B. above.
  5. WCU Police will conduct an annual assessment of the need for continuing existing camera use and/or adding new cameras. This assessment will be offered to the NAVCC as a recommendation.

F. Role of IT

IT is responsible for developing and maintaining software and equipment standards and protocols for the online distribution of video (live or pre-recorded) for university purposes. Video images and presentations distributed live online may or may not be monitored, recorded and archived by the university.

G. Role of Facilities Management

Facilities Management shall be consulted before any camera is attached to any University building or structure. Authorized users are responsible for the cost, if any, of installation and removal of cameras by Facilities Management.

H. Retention Guidelines for Units other than University Police

  1. There is no obligation that non-academic video cameras make a record of matters observed. Should a record be made, however, a minimum 30 day retention period is preferred if allowed by the capacity of the recording equipment.
  2. Any image captured in any format by a non-academic video recording device shall be transferred upon request to the University Police or to any other university unit with a legitimate educational or business need for the record. The receiving unit is responsible for retention of the images in accordance with State policy.


Unauthorized use of non-academic video cameras will subject an employee or student to possible disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Unauthorized use will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in light of the surrounding circumstance.


The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance is responsible for the review of this operating policy every four years or as needed.


Copyright by Western Carolina University      •      Cullowhee, NC 28723      •      828.227.7211      •      Contact WCU
Maintained by the Office of Web Services      •      Directions      •      Campus Map      •      Emergency Information      •      Text-Only

Office of Web Services