By Zerina Bajramovic
The fall semester’s trend of students getting around campus on hoverboards was short lived after Dean of Students John T. Kirkpatrick and Chief of Police Paul Dean issued returning students an email during winter break, announcing the ban of hoverboards from all campus buildings and facilities.
Students and visitors of the campus have been complying with the new rule thus far.
“The department has not received any feedback on the ban and I am unaware of any issues or violations on campus,” Dean said.
Kirkpatrick also stated that he has not received any comments or questions regarding the ban. Not even a single phone call.
Kirkpatrick along with Dean and other campus officials debated the ban for at least a week before deciding that it was necessary and in the best interest of the university.
The original email that was sent out to students stated, “UNH wants to make every effort to protect the safety of its students, faculty, and staff. After a careful review of hoverboard fire incidents, we are persuaded that they pose a considerable risk to the campus.”
National reports of the boards bursting into flames due to their batteries sparked the concern for many campus officials at UNH.
“We’ve been monitoring this for a while and took into consideration the number of young people that might have gotten them as holiday gifts,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick agrees that the main issue with the hoverboards lies within their technology. The boards need to be recharged and this poses a fire risk inside the buildings.
According to Kirkpatrick, campus officials always worry about fire safety, particularly in the winter because that is when students are spending the majority of their time indoors throughout campus, which increases the risk of fires.
“They haven’t figured out the technology yet. The battery is just not reliable. We have to consider at what point do they threaten the health and wealth of the community,” Kirkpatrick said.
Students living on campus charge their boards in residence halls as well as academic buildings, which is the campus’s main concern. Kirkpatrick compared the boards in buildings to the usage of candles, which are another item that UNH prohibits from campus buildings due to the risk of fires.
UNH’s ban of hoverboards received local coverage quickly after students received the initial email, but UNH was certainly not the only campus that banned the boards due to their safety risk.
UNH is one of over 30 campuses that have recently issued a ban of hoverboards from their buildings for the same safety concerns.
“As the weather gets nicer we will monitor the situation further and will treat it as a violation,” Kirkpatrick added in regards to future implications of the ban.