By Shapleigh Webster, Casey DiBari, & Brian Ives – Copy Editor, 1851 Staff, & Contributing Writer
On January 15, just before the spring semester started, an email was sent to the student body stating, “[t]he possession and use of hoverboards, self-balancing/battery-operated scooters, and hands-free segways is prohibited on Lasell College and Lasell Village property and/or in any College or Village owned or operated buildings.”
According to the email from Vice President of Student Affairs Diane Austin, “Retailers across the country have been removing these items from their shelves as a result of poor-quality lithium-ion batteries, which are prone to overheating and malfunctioning,” adding that they would continue to be banned until manufacturers can prove they’ve become safer.
Some students were disappointed about the decision to ban the boards. “I was mad the banned [hoverboards] because I wanted to ride mine to class and I don’t think they should have banned them because other places did,” said sophomore Dannie Moore, “I have other friends with [hoverboards] and they don’t have problems at all.”
Like Moore, many students students received their hover boards for the holi- days. According to Medill Reports Chicago, sales of hoverboards in Chicago continue to climb even with the major safety concerns associated with the units. “Sales of hoverboards in Chicago have not gone down even as safety concerns are being investigated,” the report said.
It’s not just Chicago, the sale of hoverboards has continued to grow all over the country. Although Online retail giant Amazon has agreed to refund customers’ purchases of the potentially hazardous hoverboards, according to the Huffington Post.
Lasell is not the only school that has banned hoverboards and similar transpor- tation devices. According to USA Today, more than 30 schools across the country have banned the use of hoverboards, including local schools Boston College, Emerson College, and Brandeis University.
According to Austin, when she and other staff returned to work in the beginning of January, hoverboards were popular in conversation among college administrators.
The problem lies in the quality of the hoverboards, specifically the batteries; rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Found under the footrest of the board, they are the same kind of battery found in laptops and phones, and are prone to defects. Because of this, boards have been setting fire, even when they are not plugged in. According to CNN, there have been 22 reports of fires related to hoverboards.
Austin said her fear is students leaving the hoverboards unattended in a dorm, and subsequently catching fire. Austin raised this concern to the senior management team of the president and vice presidents, and they agreed on a policy that would not allow the boards on campus.