By Jodi Bogert

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Students who acquired hoverboards over the holidays hopefully left them at home. Recently, all students received a notice from the college about an updated policy.

While skateboards, roller skates and scooters are permitted on campus as usual, hoverboards aren’t allowed anywhere on campus. The reason is because of fire and operator safety. I think there is more to that statement than what is presented.

Hoverboards seem like a ‘Back to the Future’ dream come true.

The device is like a Segway, without the handles. However, the devices prove to cause a lot of safety issues.

The Chicago Tribune stated that the boards can burst into flames because of the lithium-ion batteries. Some riders reported falling off their devices and taking trips to the emergency room. Incidentally, KU isn’t the first college to ban hoverboards. The Tribune noted that University of Illinois and other local campuses forbid the devices as well.

Bans like these aren’t rooted in safety issues, but financial and legal issues. I imagine that a student would ride one of them, then fall over and break an arm. The next moment, the student’s parents sue the college, taking the blame off of the user of the board.

On the other hand, say the hoverboard bursts into flames? KU doesn’t want any students to literally “light

up.” Situations regarding student safety, especially with devices that have minds of their own are solved better by stopping the situation before it starts.

The solution isn’t that simple. Noting that skateboards are still allowed on campus, students would believe that if skateboards are allowed, then so should hoverboards.

College students are at an age that they will stand their ground when it comes to things like this.

It makes me think of Footloose: if the young people want to dance, they are going to party until the sun comes up. They got the hoverboards, so help them they will ride them.

Back in elementary school, sneaker skates were the hover boards of their day. My school didn’t allow them. I remember kids gliding across the pavement at recess. This isn’t a matter of safety, but a battle of wills.

My idea is taking a different approach to the situation. If students want to be adults, then they should show that they are ready to handle it.

For every student that rides a hoverboard, each should be required to sign a waiver. The document would state that the college isn’t responsible for injuries of any kind.

Additionally, taking fire safety lessons would be useful too. I think the situation would be a lot less problematic since both parties could come to an understanding of each other.


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