Skate or Fine

FSU has banned skateboards for 18 years, but students still skate at their own risk

“It’s ridiculous a ban has been set for skateboards,” said Ian Smith, graphic design major and skateboarder, about the skateboard ban on Ferris State University’s campus.

Skateboards, along with roller blades, roller skates, coasters, and scooters, have been banned from the FSU campus since 1991. The ordinance, which is listed in the student Traffic, Pedestrian, and Parking ordinance handbbok, was placed to keep pedistrians safe. Captain Jim Cook, assistant director for Department of Public Safety (DPS), is currently rewriting the ordinances to comply with new state laws concerning traffic code.

“We’re not out to get skateboarders,” said Cook. “We’re just trying to keep everyone safe.”

The board of trustees will review the new oridanace and continue the skateboard ban. Cook is unsure when the rewrite and review will be complete, or if the new ordinance will include roller blades. Although bikes can be equally dangerous, bikes are not included in the ordinance because they have breaks.

The basketball courts between Bond and Cramer halls and the West campus apartment area are the only designated locations skateboarders can travel without consequence. Skateboarders are not typically fined for their first offense; however, persons caught repeatedly disobeying the ordinance will be ticketed. The fine amounts vary depending upon the severeity of their actions.

In addition to pedestrian safety, skateboarders performing tricks or “grinding” can cause damage to university property. Although skateboarders can causes damage to property, Smith feels that the students pay enough in tution to cover the cost and should be allowed to skateboard.

Legal actions are another concern for the university. If a student was injured on campus, the student could sue the institution. Smith also feels this argument is absurd.

“We assume all risks and responsibilities for our actions when we skate,” said Smith. “If we get hurt, it’s our own fault.”

Although some skaters are outraged, others find the ordinance reasonable.

“I understand the safety issue,” said Kevin Pulaski, pre-pharmacy major. “But it’s a tough call when so many people use skateboards as transportation.”

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University also placed skateboard bans on campus in 1991. U of M still fines skaters $25, who according to officials during 1991, caused nearly $105,000 of damage annually. Unlike U of M, FSU prefers to educate skaters on the dangers instead of punishing them.

“We talk to skaters and advise them of the ordinance,” said Cook. “We try to get them to tell each other about the ordinance.”

DPS is not planning to increase enforcement against the ban on skateboards.

<span class='credit'>Photo By: Kristyn Sonnenberg | Photo Editor</span><span class='description'>A ban set in 1991 turns skateboarders, as well as roller-bladers and scooter enthusiasts, into outlaws on campus.</span>
Photo By: Kristyn Sonnenberg | Photo EditorA ban set in 1991 turns skateboarders, as well as roller-bladers and scooter enthusiasts, into outlaws on campus.

Skaters are not the only students concerned with the ordinance, many non-skaters do not view the ordinance as necessary.

“I don’t mind the skateboarders,” said Kyle Strickland, pharmacy major. “I could get just as hurt if a bike hit me.”

Eric Andrews, mechanical engineering major and Kappa Alpha Phi fraternity member, agrees that skaters are harmless and should be allowed to skate.

“If skateboarding is what they like to do, that’s what they like to do,” said Andrews. “They’re not hurting any one.”