Last fall, a new policy was implemented at UCR to prevent the reckless riding of skateboards, bicycles or wheeled vehicles around campus. However, according to a campuswide survey released by the Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR), 87 percent of the student population are apathetic toward the ongoing effort.
“It’s a stupid policy, really,” said second-year history major Jerry Serrano. “No matter how much administration or other campus entities try to enforce it, people are still going to do whatever they want while riding. I sure am.”
The policy is part of a campus-wide safety and security program developed by the Campus Safety Task Force. Measures that have commenced include bicycle security gates and lockers to reduce bicycle theft, as well as a campaign to raise student awareness on issues relating to thefts of student property and other criminal activity.
Under the policy, “reckless” is defined as using a wheeled vehicle on campus property “in a manner that endangers public safety, threatens university property or disrupts university operations.” It does not prohibit the use of skateboards, scooters or bicycles as general transportation. Staff, faculty and students who violate the policy will be reported to the Student Conduct and the Office of Academic Integrity. Violators not affiliated with the university will be asked to leave the premises.
“We just don’t want students to break their heads, that’s all,” said Chancellor Kim Wilcox. “The last thing we want to see is a poor kid spewing blood all over a bench. It would upset our morning stomachs. Students wouldn’t want to eat my pancakes.”
Complaints have increased more dramatically since the policy’s implementation as most protests are aimed at removing it. The survey demonstrates that only 3 percent of students are in favor of the policy, while 10 percent see cell phone use as the real issue. In Serrano’s argument against the guidelines, the 28 incidents reported between Jan. 2012 and July 2013 are a result of what he says is “idiotic” behavior that should not stress campus officials.
“With all due respect to those in charge, students don’t really give a shit about this policy,” said Serrano. “Most of us are concerned about the grades we receive and the amount of financial aid we have to get us by. I understand keeping us safe is a priority, but it’s a matter of boneheads just being more careful when riding a bike or a board and pedestrians not texting while walking to or from class. There are more serious issues.”
The Bell Tower, a popular hangout for skateboarders to perform tricks, has needed over $110,00 in repairs since 2005, due to the damage caused to its tiles. But to fourth-year beekeeping major Hugh Janeus of nearby Moreno Valley, enforcing such a “reckless riding” policy is a waste of time. He believes that locations like the Bell Tower are meant to exist for what he says is the “art of skateboarding.”
“I love skateboarding. To me, it’s fulfilling, but to some it’s like psychopathic activity,” he said. “Just like these people invest time into their laboratories and libraries, we invest time into this concrete jungle. No matter how much you invest in replacing benches and tile, we will continue to come back in greater numbers. What’s more better than chilling with my dudes and having some laughs? Isn’t that what you want from us youth?”
For Serrano, riding at excessive speeds is a risk he is willing to take. “If I get hurt, it’s on me. As a skateboarder or cyclist you have to fall some time. It’s like Jake Phelps said in John Cardiel’s “Epicly Later’d,”: ‘if skateboarding ever gets too scary for you, then you were never meant to skate in the first place.’”