University of Maryland Bans Hoverboards

Hoverboards were a burning sensation during the 2015 holiday season. Literally.

This week, the University of Maryland decided to ban them from being used in all university residence halls and The Courtyards apartment complex in reaction to the dozens of fires and injuries caused by these machines.

In an email sent to students on Tuesday, the university cited reports of intense fires engulfing as a result of charging the device or even “when the devices were in use or simply at rest.” Keira Martone, assistant director of Resident Life for Student Conduct, also says that the university is following the lead of major airlines who have also banned the machines due to fire hazards.

According to the Associated Press, at least 20 other universities have also banned hoverboards. American University and George Washington University recently joined that list last week as the federal government begins to investigate the cause of these hazardous fires.

Here is the full email sent to students below:

Dear Residence Hall Students:

The Department of Resident Life has a commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment for all resident students.

After reviewing advisories from the University Fire Marshal’s Office and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we have made the decision to prohibit the use, possession, charging, and/or storage of electronic skateboards including self-balancing hover boards/scooters and other similar equipment in all university residence halls until safety standards for them have been further researched and addressed.

These devices, which are known and sold under such brand names as “Phunkeeduck”, “IO Hawk”, “Swagway” and “Skywalkers”, have brought about reports of intense fires that resulted not solely from charging the batteries, but have also been reported to have occurred when the devices were in use or simply at rest.  The resulting hazard has prompted multiple airlines to ban bringing the devices aboard, and the fire hazard implied for high occupancy residence halls makes it imperative that we prohibit their possession, storage or use in residence halls at this time.

Please leave hover boards and other similar items at home, and if you are currently on campus and have one please make arrangements to remove them from your residence hall room as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this and have a safe and happy winter break. 

Sincerely,

Keira Martone

Assistant Director of Resident Life for Student Conduct

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