As of January 14, Hover Boards have been both prohibited from possession and use on the Rowan University campus.
According to an email all students received from Travis Douglas, Assistant Vice President for Residential Learning & Inclusion Programs, students who are found in possession of the item will be in violation of the list of prohibited items on campus, and the Hover Board will be confiscated.
Though some students may view the ban as unfortunate, it was implemented for practical reasons.
“Back in December, the university was made aware that there were many Hover Boards across the nation which were resulting in fires,” Douglas said.
The case is so severe the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (U.S. CPSC), a federal organization which oversees product safety, is investigating these incidents and their causes. Engineers from U.S. CPSC are currently investigating what specifically causes these fires to occur, confirming that there is an unknown defect on at least some models of Hover Boards.
Despite the evident safety hazards associated with possessing Hover Boards, Douglas also said the university prohibited these items due to other safety concerns.
“Hover Boards are used differently than, for example, bikes. They require a different kind of balance,” Douglas said. “There have been many incidents reported by national news services where riders of Hover Boards have been involved in injuring pedestrians.”
Both of these concerns together indicated to the university that there is a very serious safety concern involving Hover Boards, so the decision was made to restrict their use on campus. Douglas noted that most New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic region colleges have also taken similar restrictive actions. Fortunately, no accidents having to do with Hover Boards have been reported on the Rowan University campus.
“We didn’t want to wait for an incident to happen at Rowan, so we decided to move forward with the restriction,” Douglas said. “It became necessary to restrict them for now as even national organizations struggle to figure out the causes of the defective models specifically.”
At the present moment, there is no end date to the ban on Hover Boards, but the university may revisit the policy if they begin to better understand the problem.
“The ban could possibly be lifted if we learn that some models are safer in the future,” Douglas said.
U.S. CPSC has detailed an official report on their concerns and research on Hover Boards, and the organization even urged customers to avoid buying Hover Boards during the holiday season back in December 2015.
“The U.S. CPSC’s report was to be taken seriously,” Douglas said. “Therefore, this is a fairly straightforward policy and for now, it’s going to stay in place. We really do have the student’s safety at its heart.”