Students petition to allow skateboarding on campus

Credit Amy Woods

Western Carolina University students are petitioning to revoke the policy that bans all forms of skateboarding on campus.

Amy Woods, sophomore at WCU, created the petition to provide a voice to the skaters on campus.

“The goal of this petition is to give freedom to our fellow students. They should have the choice to skateboard to class without the fear of getting a citation and having to pay a fee,” Woods said.

Earlier this month, WCU Parking Services sent out a safety concern message via campus update email to all students. It stated that they have received “multiple concerns about the number of skateboards on campus.”

The email also reminded students that Title IX of the Official Parking Regulations states that “the use of skateboards, roller blades, or roller skates upon the streets and sidewalks of campus is prohibited.”

Assistant Chief of Campus Police Brian Thomas provided additional information on the reasoning behind the policy.

“Our biggest concern is the risk of injuries to both the skateboard rider and others in the area. Should the rider lose control of the skateboard, it becomes a projectile which could easily injure others in the area,” Thomas said.

He added, “If someone calls us, they expect us to respond and take some sort of action, our preferred method is to educate the individual rather than cite them for a violation.”

Skateboarding violations are $50 and are paid to Parking Services, while citation appeals are handled at Campus Police.

This violation fee has caused many students to feel like skateboards are singled out.

“I want some sort of amendment to the policy that legitimizes riding a skateboard as a form of transportation. We can ride bikes and scooters on campus, but it seems like cops feel the need to treat anyone riding a board as a lawbreaker,” Neil Chugh, WCU alum, said.

Students also feel that they are being deprived of an important part of their culture.

Pat Rushton, WCU senior, said, “Skating is not only a means for transportation. It’s a form of self-expression. Where does the university want us to skate? On highway 107?”

The petition has a goal of 1,500 signatures and Woods is currently working with the Student Government Association to create a lasting impact with the petition.

Woods said, “Our big picture dream is to get all kinds of skateboarding allowed on campus. We realize that that idea will not be achievable right away, but for now we think a good starting place is to change the rule to allow longboards on campus.”

She added that “longboards are not used for grinding or tricks” and that it would allow students to still ride around campus without causing damage.