UNC Housing and Residential Education sent an email Jan. 6 outlining a ban on hoverboards in residential buildings on campus.
Rick Bradley, associate director of housing and residential education, said the actions taken to ban hoverboards were not a response to an issue on campus, but were instead a preventative measure to assure student safety.
“Well it’s become pretty common in the last few weeks after Christmas, with all of the YouTube videos and news about the battery causing fires and things, that many college campuses have decided to at least ban them in residential facilities for obvious reasons of the fire safety concerns and safety concerns that it would present to students living in those buildings,” Bradley said.
Bradley said there is not yet a policy regarding hoverboards on campus as a whole.
“At this point, it’s just a housing policy,” Bradley said.
“The University has a more broad policy for consideration, but at this point, it’s just that they can’t be stored, charged or possessed in residential facilities.”
UNC spokesperson Jim Gregory said there is not yet enough information available to create a campus-wide policy based on the effects of hoverboards.
“This is more about the risk of fire,” Gregory said.
“It doesn’t have to do with potential injury while riding them. It’s completely about the potential risk of fire caused by the devices.”
Although the safety precautions have been based on fire safety regulations, first-year Olivia Park said she has seen the potential for injury when riding hoverboards and being around them.
Park said she had not yet heard of hoverboards catching fire or exploding until the email came out banning hoverboards, but said she had heard of many people getting injured while riding them.
“The owner of (the hoverboard I rode) basically insisted on me holding his hand while I rode it because he knew that if I hadn’t ridden one before, I was most likely to lose control and bang against the wall or something,” Park said.
Park said she rode a hoverboard for the first time at the beginning of fall semester in a narrow hall in Granville Towers.
“They definitely are dangerous,” she said.
“They look easy, but they are a lot harder than they look. Basically, if you shift one way too much, you’ll freak out while the whole thing spins out of control, making you fall off.”