U.S. colleges: get your hoverboard off campus

It looks like many schools across the country are banning hoverboards. And while some haven't, the future doesn't look bright for the fun device.
Jan 09, 2016

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  • Like the neighbors telling young kids to get off their lawn, colleges students are being told to get off their hoverboards.

  • Schools across the United States — from ones near Boston to others on the California shores — are calling for students to leave their hoverboards, one of the most popular Christmas gifts of 2015, at home.

  • Schools like American University and George Washington University have banned the device, where as schools like Louisiana State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Arkansas have created policies that forbid the self-balancing device from dorms or other buildings on campus, Mashable reported.

  • Back in November, the University of California-Los Angeles banned hoverboards from walkways, hallways and anywhere pedestrians walk, The New York Times reported.

  • Many schools also consider hoverboards to be contraband, specifically because they often lead to falling, collisions and sometimes fires (thanks to some of the devices' batteries).

  • "It's clear that these things are potentially dangerous," Len Dolan, managing director of fire safety at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, told Mashable. "These things are just catching fire without warning and we don't want that in any of our dorms."

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  • Much of this concern also comes from a Consumer Product Safety Commission report that cited about 28 hoverboard-related fires in 19 different states and more than 70 separate injuries that sent people to the emergency room, Inside Higher Education noted.

  • "Some of these injuries have been serious, including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions and internal organ injuries," CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement. "CPSC engineers in our National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Maryland have tested and will continue to test new and damaged boards in search of an answer for why some models caught fire during the charging stage and others caught fire while in use."

  • But not all schools are turning away from the device. Some schools are fine with hoverboards as long as basic security measures are met. For example, Ohio State University and Xavier University students were told it's OK to bring hoverboards on campus if they can prove the device meets safety standards, Mashable reported. And Amazon recently stopped letting vendors sell the devices on its website if they fail to meet safety requirements.

  • Students seem to be on board with keeping hoverboards on campus. Allyx Teel, a sophomore at the University of California-Berkeley told The Times she wanted to buy a device with her friends through GoFundMe, hoping to buy a low-end one to use on campus.

  • And some, like MarketWatch's Kathleen Burke, feel that colleges may be "the last safe heaven for hoverboards." Though at least 20 schools have called for bans on the device, the majority of colleges are allowing the device on campus.

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  • But this may not be forever, especially if colleges follow in the footsteps of airlines and a number of cities.

  • "The campus police at Marquette University in Milwaukee told the student newspaper they don't have regulations for hoverboards, and a spokesperson for the University of Michigan says the school also doesn't have a policy regarding the devices," MarketWatch reported. "However, if campuses follow the lead of airlines and cities, hoverboards could become the most popular transportation device you can't ride."

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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