Policy permits skateboarding at designated times
September 28, 2006
In the 1970s, urethane wheels, pool riding and the Zephyr team turned skateboarding from a forgotten 1950s fad into a leading force in the world of extreme sports.
What began as a pastime for California surfers became a popular activity for teenagers and young adults across the country, bringing with it a world of ollies, kick flips and skinned knees.
UW-River Falls is no exception, as skateboarding has a strong presence on campus, despite restrictions placed on the activity.
While in previous years skateboarding was confined to "limited times and limited areas," UW-RF skateboarders now have more freedom than ever before.
Although the current policy states, "skateboarding is prohibited from 7:45 a.m. through 3:35 p.m.," Public Safety Director Mark Kimball said the major change for this year is that the entire campus is open for skateboarders during the allowed time period.
"There is a reason to the limit," Kimball said. "After 3:30 p.m., there is less class activity. All through the day, there are too many people. We don't have room."
Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Mary Halada shares Kimball's opinion on limiting times for skateboarding.
"Safety is our first priority," Halada said.
In his first semester at UW-RF, freshman Andrew Carstensen said he thinks the campus has enough room for skateboarders and pedestrians to coexist.
"It's not a nuisance," he said.
While 19-year-old Carstensen may not agree with the skateboarding policy, the possibility of a ticket found him "not as likely" to skateboard, even though he "was thinking about it."
Although the entire campus is open during the 16-hour time period when skateboarding is allowed, those wishing to emulate Tony Hawk or Shaun White may find themselves facing a $186 fine.
According to the administrative policy on skateboarding, tricking, such as a nose grind or a heelflip, is prohibited at all times.
In banning tricking, skateboarders may feel that their sport has been reduced to a mode of transportation on campus, but the administration sees it differently.
"There is good reason for that from a facilities point of view," Halada said when speaking of prohibiting tricking.
Using Rodli Commons as an example, Halada said anyone practicing tricking on campus can cause harm to buildings.
"It cracks the stone," she said. "We want to preserve the facilities."
Tricking is not the only area where skateboarders can get fined.
For anyone who is caught skateboarding between 7:45 a.m. and 3:35 p.m., the $186 fine also applies.
Sophomore Leah Iverson does not skateboard, but the 20-year-old student has noticed something she found unfair during the daytime hours.
"People can bike and rollerblade," she said. "Why can't you skateboard?"
Although rollerblading falls under the same policy as skateboarding, Iverson's question of bicycles on campus is valid.
The answer is that UW-RF has no local policy on bicycles.
A system policy prohibits bicycles from being parked on campus sidewalks, but says nothing about when or where a person can use them.
According to Halada, there is a reason skateboards and bicycles have their own policies.
"The most obvious difference is that skateboards can leave a person more quickly," she said. "It is a control issue."
Along with the safety of pedestrians, Halada also said there is no problem with bicycles on campus.
As far as adopting a bicycle policy for UW-RF, Halada does not think such measures are necessary.
"I don't know that it is needed," she said.
While the difference between bicycles and skateboards may seem unfair to students like Carstensen and Iverson, the current policy is allowing skateboarders more liberties than before.
"Before, skateboarding was banned," Kimball said. The changes now promise that "you can skateboard all night."