Skateboard and long board policy upsets students
Barger, an FSU junior in business administration, said one reason it’s become popular in the last two years is because it’s fun, easier and more convenient, while being a quick means of transportation. Barger recently started an open Facebook group called FSU Longboarding in which students can get together and ride.
However, there is a policy banning skateboards and longboards on campus. According to ordinance 5.4a, “The use of any skateboard, rollerblades, roller skates, coaster, scooter, or similar wheeled device is prohibited.” The law regarding skateboarding and longboarding on campus is fairly straightforward and has been in effect for over 20 years to help minimize the danger to those on campus.
Louis Kostielney, an FSU junior in political science, feels the policy is completely unjust.
“The policy should be changed immediately for such a blatant infringement onto our rights,” Kostielney said.
Longer than a skateboard and loosely akin to a surfboard with wheels, the longboard is an increasingly popular transportation choice for students on campuses nationwide.
Kostielney said there is no difference between a bike and long board or skateboard as both are means of transportation.
“This policy is de facto and it violates the 9th Amendment of the United States Constitution which clearly states, ‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,’ Kostielney said.
Students feel walking around campus, and to class, takes up a majority of the time spent on campus. Students often want to cut that travel time in half in order to make time for different activities around campus. To make travel faster around campus, students buy longboards or skateboards.
On behalf of FSUs’ Department of Public Safety, Captain Jim Cook said that besides safety reasons, there have been problems with damage to property such as benches due to skateboards. However, Barger disagrees in which the view on skateboarding needs to change.
“We must differentiate the skateboarding and longboarding styles. Skateboarding is associated with the misconduct of vandalism, such as grinding rails. This is not the case with a longboard. Longboards are longer and heavier, which means more stability and control,” Barger said.
Barger said longboards shouldn’t be looked at as a threat because you are able to jump off, slowdown with and maintain control.
“Longboarding isn’t the issue when it comes to accidents. It’s a means of transportation on campus,” Barger said.
Sheldon Eustice, a junior in plastics engineering, was stopped by public safety for longboarding on campus.
Eustice said, “I was told I had to pick up my board or they would have to take it.”
Barger said there are areas on campus that have space for employee longboards and there is no issue of having boards carried into classes. The school seems not to mind, yet the police have to enforce the rules, though they don’t have a negative view on the matter either. In Big Rapids, the only area that is prohibited is Zone C2, the downtown area.
With over 13,000 students enrolled at Ferris, Barger feels the best solution would be creating lanes on the campus, allowing bicyclists and longboarders to travel and be separated from those walking.
“This would be a great way to decrease the rate of injuries and putting students out of harm’s way,” Barger said.
Barger suggested adding time frames for longboarding. For example, longboarding could be allowed after 2 p.m. to avoid mid-day crowds. However, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety states no longboarding, skateboarding or any device with wheels is allowed on city sidewalks. This is a city ordinance.
“It’s all about cruising and having fun.Riders don’t want to bother anyone,” Barger said. n