Bridgewater State University Police Department
Campus Photography Policy

I. Background

In order to provide the highest level of safety and security to its students, employees, and guests, Bridgewater State University has an interest in regulating photography on, in, or of university property, vehicles, or employees. Although in most instances there is no particular harm involved in taking photographic or video images on campus, experience has shown that persons who wish to target particular locations for terrorist purposes or other criminal purposes are likely to use photography as part of their pre-attack surveillance and planning. Therefore, in view of the university’s general obligation to protect its students, employees, and guests, the university, through its Police Department, has established the following policy for the regulation of photography on campus.

II. Guidelines

The taking of photographs or videos – provided that such activities do not interfere with the university’s educational or other ordinary functions – is permitted within public areas of the campus except as otherwise stated in these guidelines. Photography and video recording within restricted areas of the campus are prohibited without special authorization from the university, except that students are permitted to take photos or videos in all areas to which they are ordinarily provided access, including residence halls; and university employees may take photos or videos on campus pursuant to their assigned work responsibilities. When special authorization is required, twenty four hour advance notice should be given whenever possible. Requests may be denied if presented on short notice.

The university reserves the right to close certain public areas or events on campus – such as art galleries, museum or archive collections, theater productions, concerts, or other special events – to photography or videography, or to flash photography.

Persons taking pictures or videos of university property, vehicles, or employees must provide proper identification upon the request of a Bridgewater State University police officer or other university official. Any person observed taking pictures on, in, or of university property, vehicles, or employees who refuses to provide proper identification will be directed to stop taking pictures, and will be subject to additional law enforcement action as appropriate. Individuals found taking pictures or videos in a restricted area without authorization will be subject to investigation and possible arrest and seizure of the photography or video equipment.

Any person wishing to take pictures or videos anywhere on campus for any kind of commercial purpose or use (e.g., movies, commercials, trade publications, etc.) must first obtain permission from the university’s Office of Institutional Communications. A fee may be assessed in these circumstances. Permission for outside individuals or companies for filming or photography for commercial purposes will be based on whether the proposed project furthers the university’s educational mission or strengthens its ties to the community, and will not disrupt activities on campus or in the surrounding neighborhood.

Members of the news media are entitled to the same access for photography purposes as the general public. It is strongly recommended that members of the news media contact the Office of Institutional Communications in advance to facilitate and ensure appropriate access. Representatives of the news media should display valid press credentials when they take pictures or video. News media photographers are not allowed inside any crime- or incident scene without the permission of, and an escort provided by, a Bridgewater State University police officer.

III. Definitions

Campus: Any land or building owned, leased, used, or controlled by Bridgewater State University, including the main university grounds and any unconnected satellite, branch, or individual properties, wherever situated.

Public area: An area of the campus that is open to general public access and occupancy that is not otherwise posted or restricted by posted signs or locking devices. Signage, building design and physical barriers, such as fencing, bollards, etc., may also distinguish a public area from a restricted area.

Restricted area: Any area that is not open to or occupied by the public, or which is open to or occupied by the public only on a limited basis. Restricted areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Classrooms
  • Private offices
  • Delivery and service areas
  • Residence halls
  • Staff housing.

Proper identification Press credentials; or photo identification that includes, at a minimum, name, address, and date of birth.

IV. Law Enforcement

Bridgewater State University Police personnel may approach a photographer or videographer upon a complaint from a member of the public or university personnel that the photographer’s picture-taking activity is suspicious in nature, or based on their own observation that the activity is suspicious in nature or inconsistent with this policy. The police will advise the individual that an inquiry is being conducted for safety purposes. If a person meets the requirements of these policy including providing proper identification, and the circumstances of the encounter indicate that the picture-taking activity does not pose a safety or security threat or in any way cause disruption of university operations, the police officer conducting the inquiry may allow the person to take pictures at the location in question.

MBTA Properties: The Bridgewater State University Police Department has been assigned responsibility for providing law enforcement services on certain properties of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). When acting on those properties, university police personnel will follow the current photography policies and procedures of the MBTA.

BSU Aviation Training Center – New Bedford: In order to prevent interference with the operations of the university’s Aviation Training Center at the New Bedford Regional Airport, and to preserve the health and safety of photographers and others, the taking or making of photographs, video recordings, drawings, or other visual depictions within restricted areas of the Aviation Training Center is prohibited without prior approval by a member of the Aviation Training Center staff. For the purposes of this provision, “restricted areas” include the aircraft ramp, hangars, or other areas where aircraft are parked, stored, or maintained; and all classrooms, private offices, and other interior spaces within the Aviation Training Center. This provision may be enforced by Aviation Training Center staff or officers of the Bridgewater State University Police Department.

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