SUNY Cortland bans 'hoverboards' over safety concerns

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that hoverboards would not be allowed on the SUNY Cortland campus. Students will be allowed to use them on campus but cannot take them inside buildings, according to college spokesperson Fred Pierce.

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – SUNY Cortland is the latest U.S. college to ban hoverboards on its campus.

The college told students in an email Tuesday that the devices would not be allowed to be used or stored in any buildings on campus.

Hoverboards, also called self-balancing smart scooters, caught the attention of federal officials last month after consumers reported that the devices unexpectedly combusted. The source of the problem appears to be cheaply made rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and, in some cases, a defective charger.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement promising to investigate the reports. Officials have also received dozens of reports of injuries due to falls.

"We're concerned about both fires ... and falls," college spokesperson Fred Pierce said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Until they come up with better guidelines or we're assured that it's safe, we think it's better to err on the side of safety and not allow them."

Pierce says the devices will be treated as a fire hazard and will not be allowed in any building on campus.

At least 20 colleges and universities have chosen to ban the devices, according to the Associated Press.

“We are taking this important step to ensure the physical safety of all members of the SUNY Cortland community. Safety is the #1 priority for our campus,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said in a statement.


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