FGCU wants to ban hoverboards on campus. The Office of the General Counsel revised policy #3.038, which is the restricted use of covered walkways and mobility inside buildings, and proposed prohibiting the use of hoverboards anywhere on university premises.
“If you look, the majority of Florida’s universities and schools have banned them — University of Florida, FIU, FSU and they go on,” said Joe McDonald, the associate vice president of business services. “As well as, there’s probably more than 100 schools nationwide that have banned them because of the safety issue.”
McDonald said the policy changes come after many fire-related incidents with hoverboards have occurred around the country.
“The tracking units have not been certified by any national safety labs, like the Underwriters Lab, and also the national fire protection group has raised concerns about them,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the batteries inside hoverboards heat up, and they can melt or start a fire. Basically, one of them could explode in the middle of campus.
FGCU has already had an incident with a hoverboard fire this academic year. According to the official police report of the incident, a hoverboard that was plugged into the wall caused a small electrical fire in Everglades Hall. The fire produced a substantial amount of smoke and caused the building to be evacuated.
The hoverboard ban is not the only change proposed to the policy; the punishment can also change. As of right now, anyone who violates this rule has to pay a fine of $30. However, if the policy is approved, students will now have to face the Student Conduct Review Process, and employees will be subjected to disciplinary actions.
Regardless of the consequences, the University Police Department will still enforce the policy. McDonald said the punishment change comes because it’s easier for the UPD to enforce the policy.
“I would probably be against the policy just because I feel like they’re just like skateboards and bikes,” said Aubree Mandell, a sophomore at FGCU. “They’re just another means of transportation, and people have the right to use them.”
However, Mandell said she could understand the change in policy if people were misusing them, but she doesn’t believe that’s the case on campus.
“I haven’t really seen anybody use them under the walkway or anything that would cause commotion,” Mandell said.
Caden Cooper, a sophomore at FGCU, said she approves the policy because she believes hoverboards are too slow and “clog the hallways.”
“I definitely approve of the policy,” Cooper said. “I think the hoverboards can be kind of a pain and just generally unnecessary. They make everything a lot more difficult for people who are walking.”
The revised policy was sent via Eagle Mail to the university community on March 8, during spring break.
The university community has until March 18 to send any feedback to the General Counsel. Anyone can do this by sending an email with comments to [email protected] If any feedback is received, President Wilson Bradshaw will review it and provide any possible revisions. If not, the final draft will be sent directly to Bradshaw for final review and approval.
McDonald said the university will continue to review the safety issues with hoverboards, and if they ever come in compliance, they could possibly be allowed on campus but never under walkways.