By Alexis Schulz and Theresa Evans
The only droning on campus this semester will be in lecture halls. Students are grounded following a ban on hoverboards and restrictions on drones by the administration.
Some students were just finding their balance when Dean of Students Anthony Campbell informed the community via email on Jan. 12 of Rider’s decision ban the use and storage of hoverboards on campus and restrict the use of drones.
“As you may have been reading or seeing in the news recently, there have been many reports of fires caused by hoverboards overheating while being charged,” Campbell wrote. “We are prohibiting hoverboards from being present, stored or charged in our residence halls. Additionally, hoverboards may not be charged in any other university building.”
Rapper Wiz Khalifa tweeted, “I stand for our generation and our generation is gonna be riding hoverboards.” But Wiz is getting knocked down by over 30 college administrations around the country that are placing bans on the two-wheel electric boards including Rutgers, Montclair State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Kean, Drew, Seton Hall, Rider, Stockton and Rowan.
Similar to the levitating board seen in the Back to the Future movies, hoverboards are trending nationwide among college students but are simultaneously facing elimination. The self-balancing boards have been known to ignite during use or while charging, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC is also investigating 28 fires in 19 states caused by hoverboards, and there have been at least 70 related injuries.
Privacy, safety and weaponry concerns also prompted the banning of drones on college campuses. Most recently, the University of Arkansas and the University of North Carolina prohibit flying drones without administrative consent. This has created backlash after a journalism professor from the University of North Carolina requested permission to fly a drone to get aerial footage for his department and was denied. Some are questioning how authorizations are being handled.
Nicholas McManus, a junior information systems major at Rider, said he thinks drones are primarily a safety hazard.
“I think that a lot of irresponsible people are using drones,” he said. “I’m not sure how they would go about authorizing someone to fly one; seems like a process lined with red tape.”
Other schools have embraced drone technology for the benefits provided to students. According to dronelife.com, “researchers with Oregon State University are measuring atmospheric temperatures with fiber optic thermometers suspended from unmanned aircraft thanks to the National Science Foundation.”
At Rider, the new regulations are being immediately enforced and will remain so until proper “safety standards for hoverboards [and drones] are developed and implemented across all makes and models,” according to Campbell.
Arrangements will be made for safekeeping of hoverboards with Residence Life until students get a chance to take their hoverboards off campus.
Students responded to the restrictions, some siding with Campbell and Rider’s approach to protecting residents from possible harm.
“I feel that it makes sense to ban hoverboards because the batteries cause them to catch on fire,” said Robby Pastrana, freshman general liberal arts major. “Until they are perfected and proven to be safe, then we can have them on campus.
“In reality, hoverboards are not that necessary. I have one, and I definitely can live without it.”