The Associated Students Commission on Public Safety took the first step in a proposal to ban skateboarding on campus after hearing several complaints from students and community members.
At a meeting held this Wednesday, COPS wrote a letter to Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Donna Carpenter asking that she gather faculty, staff and student opinions on whether skateboarders endanger others on UCSB’s busy walkways. In addition, the group considered conducting surveys to determine how many accidents are caused due to skateboarders.
In an interview Thursday afternoon, professor Francis Dunn, chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Student Affairs, said a ban would be the last resort in resolving any problem with skateboarders. He recommended education rather than draconian measures.
“I live in the faculty housing past I.V. so I walk or bike everyday to campus,” Dunn, an associate professor of classics, said. “I know how difficult it is to get from one class to another or to campus. Not everyone has a bike, so skateboarding is a legitimate form of transportation. However, just yesterday I saw a skateboarder slam into a woman.”
According to the minutes of Wednesday’s meeting, Student Health sees 25 to 30 injuries per month from skateboard-related accidents.
Currently, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz have a complete ban on skateboarding on campus. UC San Diego prohibits skateboarders during peak hours, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., a policy some committee members found favorable.
UCSB’s present skateboarding rules and regulations require skateboarding be done in permitted areas at a reasonable and safe speed. Skateboarders must yield to pedestrians and motor vehicles. The rules prohibit stunt skating.
In a recent incident, a skateboarder hit a blind woman and her guide dog, said Sam Marks, A.S. rep-at-large and chair for the A.S. Commission on Disability Access.
Marks said he is against the possible ban of skateboarding, but would like skaters to be more responsible, especially when skating around the hearing and visually impaired.
“I hope skateboarders can continue, or start, acting responsibly and steer clear of people and not treat the sidewalk as an arena or playground and be mindful that not everyone around them can see them coming,” said Marks, a fourth-year film & media studies major.
In addition to sending the letter to Carpenter, the commission wishes to organize a town hall meeting and focus groups over the issue. It would also like the UCSB Faculty Legislature to weigh in on the perceived problem.
If a ban is selected as the best solution, commission members said they would like to instate it this summer before the incoming freshmen arrive in the fall.