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UCA, Hendrix have rules for skateboarders

By Tammy Keith

This article was published August 3, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

CONWAY — More college students are coasting to class.

Bobby Holts, assistant manager at Crazy Wheels Skate Shop in Conway, said he has seen an increase in students using skateboards for transportation.

“College students use them to get from class to class,” the 21-year-old said.

The longboards and cruisers are the most popular, he said.

Longboards are just what they sound like — longer than a regular skateboard — and cruisers are somewhere in between.

The University of Central Arkansas revised its skateboard policy in February. The policy was adopted in 1993 and revised in 2013 before the latest revision.

Arch Jones, director of community services for the UCA Police Department, said the policy was changed again to make it less restrictive for skateboarders.

“The newest version is basically a less prohibitive policy than the previous policy,” Jones said.

Skateboarders on campus are allowed on the sidewalks in the revised policy, with the caveat that they yield to pedestrians.

In the agenda from the UCA Board of Trustees meeting where the policy was revised, the following note was included:

“Riding roller skates, rollerblades or skateboards on campus grounds is good exercise and provides transportation to the rider. However, it also carries with it responsibility and liability. Accidental collisions may seriously injure pedestrians or other skaters. A person riding roller skates or skateboards who strikes anyone is liable for all medical expenses of that victim and any damage done to the victim’s property,” the note states.

“This all came about due to a student approaching SGA (the Student Government

Association), and then we all worked together on creating a new policy that would be less prohibitive for our faculty, students and staff,” Jones said.

The new policy is as follows:

“Roller skates, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards and other coasting devices are not vehicles and are prohibited on roadways dedicated solely to vehicular traffic and in parking lots. Coasting devices are approved for use as transportation on university property but cannot be used in any manner that places pedestrians at risk; their use for acrobatic, racing or other stunts is strictly prohibited. Persons may coast or ride upon any sidewalk or improved surface used for pedestrian purposes, provided they yield the right of way to pedestrians on foot, and they must be walked in crosswalks, which are often filled with pedestrians.

“The use of coasting devices is prohibited within any building on the UCA campus or on any surface feature (e.g., handicapped ramps, benches or other architectural features) that might reasonably be expected to incur damage because of such use. Persons using roller skates or rollerblades must remove them before entering all university buildings.”

The regulations will be enforced by the UCA Police Department, the policy states, and students or employees violating the regulations may receive citations and/or disciplinary action.

“Any other person violating these prohibitions may be cited for criminal trespass, as well as other appropriate criminal citation,” the policy states.

Jones said students are usually given verbal warnings if they violate the policy.

“Any types of citations issued in regard to this would be UCA-type citations, where students would receive judicial-board citations, unless there is damage to property or an incident where they did not yield to a pedestrian,” Jones said. “But typically, it’s going to be a

verbal warning, unless it persists.”

Jones said he hasn’t noticed a large number of skateboarders on campus, but the fall semester hasn’t started.

“The one thing we want our students to know about this is they are welcome to use the skateboards, but along with that, they have the responsibility to yield to pedestrians and use [the skateboards] responsibly,” Jones said.

Jim Wiltgen, executive vice president for Student Affairs at Hendrix College in Conway, said skateboards are allowed on the private campus.

“We permit skateboards for our students as long as they are not damaging property or causing problems for pedestrians,” Wiltgen said. “We have quite a few students with the longboards, which are preferred for travel and less used for tricks.”

Deanna Ott, director of public relations at Central Baptist College in Conway, said there is no skateboarding policy at

the college.

“We don’t see many of our students skateboarding but do occasionally see youth skateboarding through our campus,” she said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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