On a Roll: Regulation to monitor the use of skateboards, similar devices

Mariella RoqueStaff Writer

A common sight on campus, the use of skateboards, similar devices and other high-risk activities will now be regulated by University administration, effective immediately.

As per FIU-115, the regulation is intended to “designate the areas and purpose for which skateboards… and other similar devices may be used… on University property.”

The regulation was initiated by the Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Kenneth Jessell, and was passed by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors last month.

“We were seeing a much greater use of skateboards on campus and usage in areas that really were not safe for skateboarders or for pedestrians,” Jessell said. “We were [also] seeing a lot of intentional damage done by skateboarders.”

Although not practiced by many skateboarders, damage to University property caused by sliding down railings or scratching wooden benches “is criminal,” Jessell said.

According to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, if an individual is caught damaging University property or  using a skateboard or a similar device inappropriately, sanctions may be imposed on the individual, including receiving a written reprimand, fees and potential expulsion.

“I have noticed ‘No skating’ signs posted in areas such as [Deuxieme Maison]… but no individual reinforcement,” said liberal studies senior Andres Wu. “I can use my board all over FIU-MMC… but do so knowing the limitations and lack of enforcement of local university laws.”

The regulation limits the use of skateboards “except as a means of transportation on sidewalks and while crossing the street at crosswalks.” Section C. (2) of the regulation explicitly bans the use of skateboards in garages and parking lots.

“The garages gave my friends and me a few scrapes, but nothing to give FIU a liability panic attack,” said senior in international relations Nick Van Halen. “The cops would tell us to leave at night in the garages and occasionally claim we were ‘banned’ from coming back, along with a bunch of bogus threats.”

FIU-115 also prohibits parkour, a sport that focuses on efficient movement around obstacles, such as jumping on walls or across buildings, “on or about University property.”

“Normally you’re supposed to respect your training area and take care of it. If you run up a wall and dirty it, you should clean it afterwards,” said international relations major Juan Navarro. “I don’t think [parkour] should be banned, just regulated.”

The University is not the only university to have regulation pertaining to skateboarding and similar activities.

“We like to be ahead of the curb, regarding policies,” said General Counsel Kristina Raattama. “Every time we look at adopting rules and regulations, we look at other universities.”

Most of the Florida public universities have rules in place restricting the use of skateboarding. The University of West Florida released a policy allowing the use of skateboards only on their main campus and only by current students.

The University of Central Florida also produced a similar regulation to that of the University’s, stating that “the use of… skateboards… or similar devices shall be allowed only as a means of transportation on… University property.”

Limited exceptions will be made to the current regulation and must be pre-approved by the President or designee.

“Skateboarding on campus has a certain allure and appeal due to the fact that most of Miami is flat and FIU-MMC  has a variety of little hills,” Van Halen said. “I don’t see why there have to be so many restrictions.”

“This is no attempt whatsoever to discourage the use of skateboards; I think it’s fantastic. I wish I could do it,” Jessell said. “We just want people to be respectful of others and to respect the property of the institution.”

mariella.roque@fiusm.com 

 

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