Banning the board

Skateboard and long board policy upsets students

Cruising Together: FSU student Scott Barger Jr. and fellow longboarding students are a part of the group FSU Longboarding. The students are passionate about changing the ordinance which bans skateboarding or longboarding on the Ferris State campus. Photo By: Kate Dupon | Photo Editor
Scott Barger’s need for speed began 10 years ago. He has since gotten involved in both skateboarding and longboarding throughout the years.

Barger, an FSU junior in business administration, said one reason it’s become popular in the last two years is because it’s fun, easier and more convenient, while being a quick means of transportation. Barger recently started an open Facebook group called FSU Longboarding in which students can get together and ride.

However, there is a policy banning skateboards and longboards on campus. According to ordinance 5.4a, “The use of any skateboard, rollerblades, roller skates, coaster, scooter, or similar wheeled device is prohibited.” The law regarding skateboarding and longboarding on campus is fairly straightforward and has been in effect for over 20 years to help minimize the danger to those on campus.

Louis Kostielney, an FSU junior in political science, feels the policy is completely unjust.

“The policy should be changed immediately for such a blatant infringement onto our rights,” Kostielney said.

Longer than a skateboard and loosely akin to a surfboard with wheels, the longboard is an increasingly popular transportation choice for students on campuses nationwide.

Kostielney said there is no difference between a bike and long board or skateboard as both are means of transportation.

“This policy is de facto and it violates the 9th Amendment of the United States Constitution which clearly states, ‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,’ Kostielney said.

Students feel walking around campus, and to class, takes up a majority of the time spent on campus. Students often want to cut that travel time in half in order to make time for different activities around campus. To make travel faster around campus, students buy longboards or skateboards.

On behalf of FSUs’ Department of Public Safety, Captain Jim Cook said that besides safety reasons, there have been problems with damage to property such as benches due to skateboards. However, Barger disagrees in which the view on skateboarding needs to change.

“We must differentiate the skateboarding and longboarding styles. Skateboarding is associated with the misconduct of vandalism, such as grinding rails. This is not the case with a longboard. Longboards are longer and heavier, which means more stability and control,” Barger said.

Barger said longboards shouldn’t be looked at as a threat because you are able to jump off, slowdown with and maintain control.

“Longboarding isn’t the issue when it comes to accidents. It’s a means of transportation on campus,” Barger said.

Sheldon Eustice, a junior in plastics engineering, was stopped by public safety for longboarding on campus.

Eustice said, “I was told I had to pick up my board or they would have to take it.”

Barger said there are areas on campus that have space for employee longboards and there is no issue of having boards carried into classes. The school seems not to mind, yet the police have to enforce the rules, though they don’t have a negative view on the matter either. In Big Rapids, the only area that is prohibited is Zone C2, the downtown area.

With over 13,000 students enrolled at Ferris, Barger feels the best solution would be creating lanes on the campus, allowing bicyclists and longboarders to travel and be separated from those walking.

“This would be a great way to decrease the rate of injuries and putting students out of harm’s way,” Barger said.

Barger suggested adding time frames for longboarding. For example, longboarding could be allowed after 2 p.m. to avoid mid-day crowds. However, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety states no longboarding, skateboarding or any device with wheels is allowed on city sidewalks. This is a city ordinance.

“It’s all about cruising and having fun.Riders don’t want to bother anyone,” Barger said. n


I think it is completely wrongful to take away the students’ rights to longboard on campus. Not only is the act of pushing a piece of wood with wheels on it harmless, but it also a great mode of transportation, especially on a college campus. I am a CMU student and my friends and I have never been questioned by authorities about riding our boards. It is an old ordinance that is obviously out of date and needs to be  revised immediately.

louis makes all the poli/sci kids look bad. he should know better than to nonsensically quote random amendments of the constitution, Paulism at its best. Also, this article fails to mention the high speeds and complete lack of protective equipment. I know a kid who fell last year and is lucky to be alive with only personality changes and loss of smell and taste. As for the suggestion that a bike and a longboard should be classified in the same category, where exactly are the brakes on a longboard? 

Best comment ever. How a poly sci student could be a junior and so ludicrously incompetent is beyond me. Do you even have to take basic government classes as a poly sci major? Constitutional study should be an important part of the curriculum, and the way he puts it its saying “oh the 9th amendment allows me to do anything.” 

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