BY JILL BAKER – Assistant News Editor
In the movie “Back to the Future,” it was predicted that in 2015 there would be hoverboards, but the 2016 version of the boards have been banned on Susquehanna’s campus. According to a Jan.12 press release sent out by Director of Public Safety David Gardner, Susquehanna has joined the rising number of colleges, including Lycoming and Bucknell, in banning the operation, storage and charging of these smart scooters on campus due to fire and other safety risks associated with their use.
According to Dean of Students and Campus Life Christie Kracker, the ban was discussed by staff after they received information of the risks from their insurance company along with a recommendation to ban them due to the potential fire hazard.
Hoverboards are two-wheeled, hands-free, smart scooters powered by a lithium-ion battery. The rider leans forward or backward and shifts their feet to navigate.
The issue has been that the batteries have been known to catch fire while charging, and in some cases, while in motion.
“The decision was really the concern of the fire hazard and the safety of students in residence halls,” Kracker said.
If you have a hoverboard currently on campus, you are to store it in Public Safety until it can be taken home.
A number of students on campus owned or recently acquired hoverboards over break including junior Kevin Neal.
“I understand the reasoning behind the ban, but I would like to see Susquehanna not completely ban the hover boards but find a way to work with the students that have spent so much money on these devices,” Neal said.
Neal discussed ideas about how to accommodate for the fire hazard such as keeping hoverboards at Public Safety to be monitored when no one is using them, along with a tactic that he said Ohio and Xavier State have put in place.
“Hover boards with a UL certification are approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to run safety tests on all kinds of devices… [These schools] are letting students bring hover boards with this certificate,” he said.
Kracker said they would consider allowing boards on campus if the safety concerns were to be resolved.