UF bans hoverboards

Emsweller says there are too many safety concerns

Jordyn Willis
@willisjordyn

The University of Findlay sent a UF Update over winter break informing students that hoverboards will be prohibited on campus.

These new hoverboards don’t actually hover, they are self-balancing, two-wheeled scooters.

According to the Wired.com’s “Why Hoverboards Keep Exploding,” incidents of hoverboards exploding have occurred in places like Lousiana, New York, and Washington, and they have been banned from use in major airports.

Nicholas Ruthsatz, a sophomore marketing major, currently owns a hoverboard. Ruthsatz used his hoverboard almost every day to go to and from classes before the weather started to get cold.

The email that Dave Emsweller, vice president of student affairs, sent out said that the University was banning them due to safety reasons.

“I found out from the multiple people who texted me about the email being sent out by Findlay,” said Ruthsatz. “I heard of a couple cases from people over charging them for multiple days and them overheating.”

According to the NY Post’s “Hoverboard Fires, Injuries Cause Safety Concerns,” the fires appear to be caused by the lithium-ion batteries, which had similar issues in laptops and cell phones.

However, the batteries do not seem to be the only thing that causes fire dangers with the hoverboards. Wired.com wrote that it has also been found that defective chargers could cause problems as well.

Ruthsatz said that he has owned a hoverboard for six months and has not had any issues concerning safety.

“I can see where they could be cautious about the situation with some overheating. At the same time I don’t see the difference ton — for example leaving a curling iron on,” said Ruthsatz.

According to Emsweller, anyone who currently owns a hoverboard, or received one as a gift over the holiday break, will need to make arrangements to store and use it off campus.

“Four other kids on the basketball team also have them and I have seen other kids on campus with them before Christmas,” said Ruthsatz. “I’m guessing more received them as a gift over Christmas break.”

The University is, however, willing to look into the new hoverboards rule if it should be found that they are no threat to students’ safety.

“Should there be significant improvements in the design of hoverboards that completely eliminates the risk of fire, The University of Findlay will re-evaluate its policy,” wrote Emsweller in his email to the UF community. “In the meantime, we hope everyone can understand that our main goal is to ensure proactive measures are taken to reduce a known fire safety risk.”

Ruthsatz is hopeful that they will not be prohibited from use on campus permanently.

When asked if he thought the rule would change in the future, Ruthsatz said “I’m not sure if the rule will change but I sure hope so. Anyone who has rode one will tell you they are extremely fun.”

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