UConn's ban on hoverboards is reasonable, uncontroversial

On Jan. 7, UConn’s Department of Residential Life sent an email to students updating the housing contract with an amendment essentially banning the popular “hoverboards” from all campuses in the University of Connecticut system.

These widely used electronic transportation devices have proven to be a fire hazard, having caused fires across the United States. Just this week, two dogs were killed and a house was severely damaged in a Santa Rosa, California house fire, thought to be caused by a hoverboard malfunction, according to the local Fox affiliate, KTVU.

The UConn Department of Residential Life expressed concerns regarding the potential fire hazard, saying, “There have been several very concerning incidents in which hoverboards have ignited fires, whether during normal operation or charging." Hoverboards are a non-essential item.

Given the reported dangers, with over 40 fires reported across the United States, UConn is acting in the best interest of faculty, staff and others on the UConn campuses. To continue to allow hoverboards to be used without recognizing the clear risk would be foolhardy. 

As the email noted, “The National Association of Fire Marshals has issued a warning” and the U.S. “Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is in the midst of a massive investigation” regarding hoverboards and the reports of fires caused by their operation and storage.

Though students may have received hoverboards as holiday presents, UConn is simply following the national trend and common sense. According to a report from the Associated Press, at least 20 colleges and universities have already banned hoverboards. Though the AP report did note student dissatisfaction with the decisions from various colleges and universities to ban hoverboards, logic and confirmed fire reports back UConn’s decision to place an outright ban on these products.

Fire hazards as serious as these cannot be taken lightly, especially when thousands of students occupy closely packed dormitories on campus, greatly increasing the danger involved with such a hazard. The “proactive” approach by the university is the correct approach.