PISCATAWAY—Late last Monday night, University President Robert Barchi issued a memorandum outlining the school’s policy on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), effective immediately. Outrage was soon heard from voices across campus but the administration defends its position.
Lawrence Fischer, legal advisor to the University, proposed the policy to Barchi last Sunday, April 3.
“I told him to cover his ass. That’s what everyone is doing when it comes to drones: making up rules so that if anything happens, we’re not liable. The next day, he sent out the announcement.”
“We have no such record at Rutgers,” according to Jefferson Green, a student and UAV enthusiast. “No one has gotten hurt and our telemetry systems are signal-hoppers, so they won’t come close to interfering with medical helicopters. I don’t even recognize the validity of this announcement. Emails aren’t legal documents. I can continue to fly recreationally on campus. Even if something happens, I—and other recreational flyers—am insured with AMA membership and registered with the FAA.”
The announcement was also maligned by faculty. Dr. Xavier Zehn, a professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was particularly outspoken.
“I have grants from fucking DARPA, dammit,” Zehn explained. “This is bullshit. So many faculty and students across multiple departments use UAVs for research and now we can’t do anything until we get Barchi’s permission through some process yet to be developed. Rutgers pays for this; it makes no sense to ban it.”
Faced with this backlash, Barchi told reporters that he would not retract the email. “My word is law. And it applies to everyone. If you’re playing basketball and you jump with the ball, it’s manned. Once you shoot the ball, it is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and will bring consequences. So slam-dunks only.”
“It’s the same with those dang geese,” continued Barchi. “They shit every seven minutes and are not welcome. I’m building a wall. Geese are technically UAVs and may not be airborne, so this wall is perfect. This policy is perfect. I made it up in under a day, but it’s really well thought out.”