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Students question skateboarding policy

Michael Kirbie, freshmen, poses with his skateboard. He is one of the many who live on campus that own a skateboard.
PHOTO/Kate Luce

By: KATE LUCE

Staff Writer

katelucellc@gmail.com

For many students, skateboarding is not just kickflips and ollies but a way to get to and from class. But within River Crossing Student Housing, skateboarding and long boarding is prohibited.

Freshmen Michael Kirbie and Taylor Waldron have been trying to change that.

The two students have collected more than 100 signatures for a petition, including three RAs and a professor.

Kirbie also gave a speech at the last Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, providing the members reasons why the ban should be lifted.

“I think it went well. It was pretty clear than they thought the rule did not make much sense,” Kirbie said, “I just don’t know how it will precede from here, as whether or not they need to talk to Bloomington about it.”

A few members of SGA were openly supportive about their push for the end of the skateboarding ban. However, Kirbie and Waldron have yet to schedule an appointment with administration about the issue.

“I think it is a great thing that should be passed because, as an RA, I was the first line of complaint. I used to get complaints all the time about it, and then I even got complaints about longboards, which are significantly different than skateboards. I was told by my supervisor that even longboards are not allowed, when there was no explicit document stating reasons why they were not allowed,” Jesse Camper, senior SGA senator, said.

Although they have yet to get the ban taken out of effect, the two are determined to further their discussion, get more signatures and talk to more staff and faculty.

“I am going to provide a copy of petition as well as the signatures to the university. Then I will wait a few weeks to see how it all goes down, and if there is not a referendum on it, then we will go back to getting more signatures,” Kirbie said.

Skateboarding is not just banned on the IUSB campus, but all IU campuses within the state. At IUSB, it is just restricted to the housing portion on campus. On the IU website, there is little information about skateboarding on the IUSB campus and reasons why they are banned.

However, according to Director of Student Life Scott Strittmatter, skateboarding is not allowed for student safety.

“We do have a ban on skateboards—prior to me becoming director—and that was because it was becoming problematic to the point where people were getting hurt or putting people in dangerous situations,” Strittmatter said. “There is not a ban on skateboards or longboards, you can have them, but even with biking, you have to be under control. You can’t be reckless, and in all these situations, pedestrians have the right of way.”

Other IU administrators did not respond to a request for comment in time to be included in this report.

There are two signs posted on the 80-acre property of campus, but this does not stop many from doing it. Most who skateboard are unaware of the ban. In fact, in many of the other IU campuses, skateboarding is typical.

“I see people riding them once in awhile, but they are not as common as bikes,” Rachel Noll, freshman at IU Bloomington, said. If people do ride them, I find that it is usually not on the sidewalks, just the roads,”

Kirbie and Waldron are not advocating for the recreational use of skateboards, but more for transportation purposes. They argue that more dangerous transportation modes can be found on campus—bicycles, golf carts and tractors.

“We’re not trying to get ramps built. We just want to get to class,” Waldron said.

As for now, the issue on skateboarding is still on the priority list for the two freshmen, and they hope that the ban will be lifted in the near future.

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