Faculty Rights Tip: Advice on audio/video recordings without faculty consent

Q: Can students legally record audio or video in my classroom without my consent?

A: You have the right to be free from unauthorized recordings in the classroom. Instructors may be required to allow for recordings if they are connected to disability accommodations. Such recordings are for the accommodated student’s personal use only and may not be distributed or used for non-course related purposes. If you have questions or concerns, contact the disability resources center on your campus.

Many faculty have strict policies about phones being off and stored away in order to facilitate focus and learning. Given the political environment in which we find ourselves, or in order to maintain a classroom in which everyone feels free to express themselves in a collaborative learning environment, you may wish to disallow recordings outside of the context of disability accommodations. It is your right to do so.  

We encourage faculty to provide a very clear statement in your course syllabus about your classroom recording policy with clear limitations on use and distribution.

Here’s an example: 

Students may not record (audio or video) in this class except in accordance with ADA accommodations. Any recordings made in connection with a disability accommodation are for the student’s personal academic use only and may not be distributed in any manner to any other individual.

You may feel otherwise and take a different position. In fairness, your students should understand and know your position, as they may be recorded during class discussions if someone records a class session.

Here’s a link to an informative piece on this topic by the San Jose Mercury News.

  • If you have questions about a Faculty Rights Tip or would like to suggest a tip, please write us at cfa@calfac.org with the subject line “Faculty Rights Tip.”
  • Click here to find faculty rights advocates on your campus.