UMass bans hoverboards from Amherst campus

By Stuart Foster

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Logan Meis, 20, balances on his hover board outside his apartment complex in Overland Park, Kan., on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Meis purchased the personal transportation device for about $330 online. (Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/TNS)

 (Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/TNS)

The University of Massachusetts announced in a community-wide email Friday that it is prohibiting the use of hoverboards on its Amherst campus, effective immediately.

David Robinson, the executive director of Environmental Health and Safety, wrote in the email that reports of fires in 12 states led to the ban on “hoverboards and similar devices,” including “self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters and hands-free segways.”

“We urge everyone, particularly students returning from winter break, to leave hoverboards and similar devices at home,” Robinson wrote.

The email stated that many retailers stopped selling hoverboards as a result of fires and explosions caused by the poor quality of lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards. The email said that these batteries are prone to overheating and malfunctioning.

UMass spokesperson Daniel Fitzgibbons said that the use of hoverboards on campus is a safety issue and is comparable to students lighting candles in residence halls.

“If there are reports of violations, we hope they would be dealt with under the current standards,” Fitzgibbons said, referring to the current UMass Community Standards.

Robinson wrote in the email, that many other university campuses, such as Emerson College and Louisiana State University, have banned hoverboards from their campuses and that multiple airlines have banned hoverboards over fire concerns.

The email also said that UMass Environmental Health and Safety staff members would follow news and regulations regarding hoverboards and would reevaluate the ban of hoverboards if they become safer.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster