- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 March 2016
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI | NEWS EDITOR
The use of hoverboards within University buildings and University-sponsored housing was banned on Jan. 7. Students and faculty were notified via email from Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne Nagy.
Hoverboards are transportation devices. They are two wheel self-balancing scooters powered by an electric motor. They become popular last semester and were a prominent gift over the holiday season, according to USA Today.
The New Jersey Department of Fire Safety cited the hoverboards as a fire hazard while they are being charged. This was due to multiple reports which involved fires starting while the hoverboards were being charged. The boards are not permitted to be charged or utilized in any University building. Students were given until Jan. 24 to remove their hoverboards from their resident halls. However, they may be used outside in public areas and may be brought inside the buildings as long as they are not in use.
William McElrath, Chief of the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD), provided an example of an acceptable use of the hoverboards on campus, “An example would be that a student could use a hoverboard to travel to the library. They could then carry the hoverboard while in the library conducting their business, but they could not charge it, or use it, in the library.”
“We decided to ban the hoverboards after multiple reports came out, both in this areas as well as nationally about the fact that the hoverboards were catching fire. We considered the fact that the rooms for residential students are relatively small,” said Nagy. “Their living space, their sleeping space, and their relaxation space is all in one place. We were concerned about the safety of these students,” she said.
This issue was discussed at the cabinet level, including President Paul Brown, PhD. The discussions took place after the holiday break.
Students have been cooperative in removing the boards. “I believe students have been cooperative in removing hoverboards from the residence halls. I have yet to see any hover boards since the spring semester began,” said Caitlynn Fiol, a junior Residential Assistant (RA) in Mullaney Hall.
Emma Stowell, sophomore RA in Cedar Hall, explained that students in the building have been cooperative regarding the issue and while there were a good amount of hoverboards on campus last semester, she has not seen any this semester yet.
Some students do not find the hoverboards necessary. “Personally I think they look like they could be fun, but when people ride them around campus all the time it’s kind of ridiculous. I’ve even seen people ride them inside of academic buildings [last semester] which I feel is extremely disrespectful and immature, you wouldn’t ride a bike inside so why is a hoverboard any different?” said Stowell.
“I’m anti-hoverboard. I personally have a fitbit, all those people riding hoverbaorders are missing out on steps,” said Denver George, head RA in Mullaney Hall.
If a student is discovered using or charging a hoverboard within University buildings, “The hoverboard could be confiscated and the student charged with Student Misconduct,” according to McElrath.
Fiol also pointed out that she has noticed the use of hoverboards on campus gone down significantly since last semester and that many students agree with the decision. “I haven’t encountered any students who are genuinely upset by this ban on hoverboards. I’ve talked to quite a few students who agree with the ban,” she said.
McElrath explained how the University has planned to react to an emergency regarding the hoverboards, “As with any emergency on campus, the University Police should be immediately contacted. We would then contact the Fire Department, First Aid Squad or whomever we need to contact to remedy the situation,” he said.
Nagy pointed out that the banning of the devices is not necessarily permanent and that members of the University Cabinet will continue to monitor the situation. “If somehow they are able to come up with a way that the battery, which seems to be the biggest issue, can meet appropriate safety standards, I am always open to that conversation. I don’t think that we will never have them again, but if we are going to have them we want to make sure that it is safe. It really always comes down to safety,” she explained.
Other NJ colleges and universities that have banned the boards from their campuses include Kean, Rutgers, Rowan, Montclair, Fairleigh Dickinson, Stockton, Rider, Drew and Seton Hall. This list continues to grow.
The company Amazon has recently acknowledged that these devices are a fire hazard and has offered customers who bought the product on their website a full refund in order to keep customers safe according to a report from USA Today. The report also states that, “The flammability of the lithium-ion batteries used to power the popular devices is a serious concern to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is currently investigating them.”