Western’s Permission/Release form details the rights and responsibilities of both the student and Western and should be provided in either electronic or physical form, to Western staff, faculty, and alumni (who are not covered by FERPA) and Western students whenever recognizable images of their likeness are used for commercial or external purposes in print or electronic media. For students or community members under the age of 18, a legal guardian must complete a Release form.
In general, authorized University personnel (and the contractors they hire) may videotape and photograph events and people in public areas on Western’s campus, however, distribution of resulting materials requires sensitivity. It is important to take into consideration how public or private the environment, (dorm rooms versus library gathering spaces), the people featured (students versus administrators), how identifiable those individuals are and the intended use of the materials.
Regardless of the situation, Western asks that you take into careful consideration:
- respect for individual privacy.
- your best professional judgment.
- Western’s legal rights regarding photos, videos and audio.
Permission, Releases and Opting Out of Photos/Video
It is best to err on the side of caution with regard to FERPA requirements and photography or videography. There are a number of options for obtaining agreement from individuals when taking a photograph or video. The best approach depends on the specific scenario, the context, the intended use of the images, footage or information and the associated risk.
- Prior to taking photos or video, announce to the group verbally that photos or videos will be taken, how they will be used and state clearly that participation is optional.
- Post large, legible signs at points of entry to the event or space indicating that photos or videos will be taken, how they will be used. The sign should clearly state that participation is optional.
- Obtain written or electronic consent using the Image/Quote Release form.
- In addition, you may create a ‘no photo/film’ seating area in the back or side of a room that will not be included in the shot or photos for those who wish to participate but do not want to appear on film or in photos.
Release should be maintained for the life of the recording/image use plus 7 years. You may wish to include a time limit in promotion‐specific waivers to limit the required retention cycle. For example, if you plan to use a photo for an annual print project with a 2‐year circulation, and you note the project term on the release form, you would be required to retain the release for a total of 9 years. Please note, once the university’s digital archive system (MABEL) is live, we will have the option to archive releases digitally in conjunction with photos and may have options to set automatic retention/archive schedules.