Use of skateboards and longboards not prohibited at UNA

by Staff Writer John Ed Dearman

There is no rule restricting the use of skateboards and longboards on campus, said Deputy Chief of Police Mark Parker.

“What we have to act on would be each individual case on whether they were causing an inconvenience to people using the campus, whether it is a safety issue or if they were possibly damaging property,” he said

Chief of Police Kevin Gillilan said via email that even though skateboarding is not specifically mentioned in campus policy, any use of a skateboarding activity that causes destruction or harm to other people would be a direct violation of policy as outlined in the student handbook.

If those individuals were causing problems, then they could ask them to leave, or under certain circumstances, those individuals could possibly be trespassed from campus, Parker said.

“I wouldn’t want to outright ban that kind of stuff,” he said. “If they’re not a danger and they are not a hindrance to someone else, I don’t think there should ever be a need to completely prohibit it.”

However, there are several signs posted around campus saying the use of skateboards on campus is prohibited.

“There has been no rule prohibiting the use of skateboards since I’ve worked here,” Parker said. “They may have been prohibited years ago when cars were able to drive through campus.”

Police only confront the longboarders if they are being carless, he said.

“We take a (discouraging) view of the guys on the skateboards if they are an endangerment to others, and we also take a (discouraging) view of it when they are damaging property,” he said.

Parker said he used to go out and tell longboarders to be cautious.

“Back the past couple of years when I was on night-shift, I would actually try to find those skateboarders in the parking deck,” he said. “I would go up to them and say ‘hey guys, let’s be a little more careful. It’s your life you’re dealing with, but I don’t want this other person to feel bad because they ran you over.’”

The police department receives complaints from students every now and then about the longboarders, Parker said.

“One of the primary complaints we get is people complain about (driving) in the parking deck and meeting someone on skateboard,” he said. “They’re in a car, and they’re afraid that they are going to hit somebody.”

Longboarders, as well as drivers and pedestrians, need to be cautious of each other while in the parking deck to avoid collisions, Gillian said.

Freshman Connor Bryant said he does get annoyed sometimes while driving through the parking deck.

“Whenever I make a turn around the corner, sometimes I’ll see someone flying by on their longboard, and I’ll have to slam on my brakes just so I don’t hit them.”

“It’s kind of neat to see them ride through campus really fast, but at the same time, they do tend to get in the way,” he said. “If I’m walking to class, I have to stop just to let them pass.”

Other students like freshman Ashton Bailey do not mind the longboarders on campus.

“I know a lot of people get annoyed with them, but they really don’t bother me at all,” she said.

Sophomore Brandon Rylant said he thinks the longboarders need to be cautious.

“I was walking through the parking deck one day and I saw someone backing out of a space and a longboarder came around the corner and hit the back of their car,” he said.

Sophomore and longboarder William Ballard said he often hears students complain about the longboarders skating in the parking deck.

“The only time I’ve ever hit a car was when I was coming around a turn in the parking deck and there was a car coming up in the wrong lane,” he said. “So that was totally their fault. (The longboarders) up there know what they’re doing.”

Ballard said the longboarders know enough about the sport to stay injury-free.