Florida A&M University offers facilities to accommodate students and their extracurricular activities, however, recreational skate boarding does not seem to be one of them.
Skateboarders on campus have been told that they are no longer able to skate for recreational purposes by the Florida A&M University Police Department. A couple of students feel that this is a violation of their rights. Protesting their unfair treatment these students continue to skate, despite being told that it is prohibited.
Darryl McGowan, a second-year electrical engineering student from Chicago, happens to be one of those students.
“I think the biggest concern is the liability associated with our on campus skating. They say that we’ll hurt a pedestrian, but we have never done that,” said McGowan. “I don’t understand how the police department can try to stop us from doing something that we’re passionate about.”
Chauncey McKinney is a 20-year-old, second-year graphic design student from Miami. McKinney is also a frequent campus skater.
“We haven’t seen any consistent enforcement of the rules by Florida A&M police department. Some officers tell us not to skate and others don’t seem to care. There are also no signs on campus that enforce the rule,” McKinney said. “Were not doing a lot of X-Game stuff (referring to risky stunts and tricks), we’re just doing this for fun.”
Although skating may not seem to be too much of a harmful threat, the police department argues otherwise in more ways than one. Lieutenant Rollins of the Florida A&M police department disagrees with on campus skating, despite its recreational nature.
“Once we see something that is unsafe we have to take action to make sure that accidents don’t occur,” Rollins said. “Skateboarding is problematic because it can often lead to serious injuries.”
Rollins said a skateboard is considered a coaster and university has rules and regulations regarding bicycles, roller skates and skateboards.
“A lot of municipalities in parks and recreation have created skating parks, however, FAMU does not currently offer a facility such as that,” Rollins said.
Skate boarding is also prohibited as the university said it destroys the university’s property.
“When they skateboard and try to do tricks, it destroys property. For example, going down rails causes the paint to chip and then the university has to call in painters to repaint the rails,” Rollins said.
University officials said they have the best interest of the students at heart by prohibiting skaters from utilizing the university for their own pleasurable purposes.
The skaters think differently.
“Although I was raised to follow the rules I will not allow FAMU police to separate me from doing something that I love. They will not break us,” said McKinney.