Potentially explosive hoverboards banned from on-campus housing

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Hoverboards, glider boards or Segway thingys: whatever you call them, they have been banned by Dixie State University campus housing for explosive reasons.

The university followed at least 20 other U.S. colleges in banning hoverboards from campus housing because the electronic, self-balancing scooters have a tendency to burst into flames. Students are still allowed to use their hoverboards as long as they are outside the on-campus housing facilities.

Seth Gubler, director of student housing, said the change began during winter break when he and housing directors for several states in the region began emailing back-and-forth regarding fire-safety concerns surrounding hoverboards and similar devices.

“I then began discussing the issue with the DSU fire marshal,” Gubler said, “We both felt that it would be best to implement a temporary rule prohibiting the storage and possession of hoverboards inside on-campus housing facilities.”

Malik Akbar, a freshman biology major from Riverside, California, said he was upset when he heard about the new hoverboard ban. Akbar said he bought his hoverboard before Christmas so he didn’t have to walk to class anymore because classes can be far away from each other.

“It’s just a hoverboard,” Akbar said. “To me, it’s the same thing as a bicycle or scooter.”

In an interview on WIRED magazine, Jay Whitacre, an expert in mechanical science and engineering said a lot of it has to do with the quality of the lithium battery used in the scooter. Less expensive brands of the scooter tend to have a cheap battery.

Bedrooms and even homes have been destroyed due to the hoverboards starting fire, according to CNET.com.

“Mine’s not going to explode because I paid top dollar for it,” Akbar said.

Gubler said if a hoverboard is discovered in a student’s room, the rule would be explained to them and they would be allowed to keep it in a car, or ask a friend, who does not live in on-campus housing, to store it for them.

Jared Spencer, a senior communications major from Derby, Kansas, who is a resident assistant at Nisson Towers, said he supports the new rule.

“I would rather the dorms don’t burn down,” Spencer said.

Although hoverboards are no longer allowed in student housing, Gubler said a campus-wide rule or policy has not been implemented at this point in time. This means you will still be seeing the devices rolling around campus.

Spencer said besides some models being explosive, he doesn’t think they are dangerous for campus use.

“I don’t think they are dangerous traffic-wise,” Spencer said.  “But I do believe the inexperienced rider could get hurt pretty bad.”

Update on Feb. 3, 2016:

Josh Thayn, director of event services and risk management, sent an email to all DSU faculty and staff Feb. 3, announcing his decision to ban hoverboards in all buildings on campus until “a time in which safety standards can be developed and implemented.”

To continue to be an alternative transportation friendly campus, hoverboards when outside will be treated like other similar modes of transportation,” Thayn said in the email. “They will be allowed as a means of transportation only on designated roadways, but not allowed for recreational use on campus.”

Thayn said anyone who is caught with a hoverboard on campus will be asked to take their hoverboard home. Further infractions to the new policy may result in the hoverboard being confiscated.