By Braden Clark
Utah State University could be the next institution to ban hoverboards, following a meeting involving campus safety, risk management, police, student services and housing officials about the popular two-wheeled device.
“We want to insure student safety, and the safety concerns from the hoverboards are high,” said Tim Vitale, the executive director of public relations and marketing at Utah State University.
Among other concerns, the batteries on some hoverboards have been known to catch fire due to the poor quality of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in some of the vehicles.
As of yet, a new policy for the vehicles has not been officially agreed upon, and there hasn’t been a date set to when exactly the decision will be made, but some Aggie hoverboard owners are worried their money will be wasted.
“I think it’s stupid, because the more expensive ones don’t explode,” said Braxton Moon, a Utah State student and hoverboard owner. “Are they going to put sanctions on the cheaper ones?”
Moon defended his choice of on-campus transportation as “different from a longboard or a bike, because it’s slower and a better form of commuting.”
Hoverboards were one of the most sought after items this last holiday break, and the recent boom of Facebook videos, Tweets and Vines show the popularity of the device is increasing. But the fire concerns have prompted several Utah universities to issue bans.
A similar meeting to the one recently conducted at Utah State was held at Southern Utah University, which then restricted the use of hoverboards from all main campus buildings on Dec. 28.
Southern Utah University’s policy banned hoverboards from campus “until safety standards for them can be developed and implemented.”
Students have taken to Twitter to argue for the right to ride with trending hashtags like #LetMeBoard and #HoverboardBan.
But Ellen Treanor, the director of marketing and communication at Southern Utah, noted the policy might be temporary.
“It’s important for students to realize this isn’t a permanent ban, and frankly it isn’t a ban at all, but a restriction,” Treanor said. “We are doing this because we are looking out for the safety of our students, and because the hoverboard has been known to catch fire and cause injuries we had to put some restrictions on the device.”
Dixie State University has banned the use of the hoverboard from all campus buildings, and will include student housing in the future.
“The temporary ban will be in place until safety standards improve, specifically when manufacturers of various brands of hoverboards receive approval from national certification boards and the National Fire Protection Association makes recommendations and sets standards,” said Jyll Hall, the director of public relations and marketing at Dixie State.
Dixie State has continued to allow the vehicles to be ridden on campus as a mode of transportation, Hall said, but she noted recreational use was forbidden.