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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Skateboarding blues

    Skateboarding blues

    While many students ride their bikes or walk to class, some choose just to skate, and face the stigma that accompanies it.

    Undeclared freshman Joey Silvestri said he has been riding a skateboard for roughly 12 years and is the treasurer of Wildcat Longboarding, a recognized UA club that focuses on reshaping the negative opinion some people have about skaters.

    “”A lot of the time (club members) do actually get stopped by just random people telling us we’re not supposed to be (skating), even if they don’t know the rules, they see skateboard and they think ‘crime’ for some reason,”” Silvestri said.

    A longboard is longer and typically wider than a standard skateboard, and is more suitable for cruising and transportation and less for “”hot dogging””, or doing tricks.

    According to University of Arizona Police Department officer Andrew Valenzuela, it’s the lack of understanding of skaters that creates their stereotype.

    “”Any time anybody sees a skateboarder they may just quickly berate them to destructive behavior on our campus,”” Valenzuela said, “”not knowing that a longboard is used for transportation and comfort, while a trick board is a lot shorter and designed differently.””

    UAPD has tried to combat the property destruction caused by “”trick boards”” by educating violators.

    “”If we see (skaters) ourselves, we’ll stop them and let them know what the rules and regulations are.”” Valenzuela said.

    After an initial verbal warning, if the person continues to violate UA skating rules, they could be charged with trespassing, criminal damage, and have their board impounded with a fine of $45 to reclaim it.

    “”Sometimes we don’t see (violators) again after the first warning,”” Valenzuela said.

    According to the UA Parking and Transportation’s non-motorized Parking and Traffic Regulations, “”hot dogging””, is prohibited on campus, as is skating in pedestrian areas, buildings, parking garages or on any UA property.

    Damage on campus is evident on “”every rail, every bench, (skaters) don’t do a lot of damage in the garages, it’s just somewhat dangerous because you’ve got cars driving in there, too,”” said Parking and Transportation enforcement supervisor Joyce Childers. “”I know on youtube.com, there are a number of videos of (people) skating in (the UA’s) garages.””

    Childers said that 27 skateboards were impounded in the 2005 fiscal year, 20 in 2006, 10 in 2007 and 2008, and since July 2008, 15 boards have been impounded.

    UA computer science senior Bill Pateracki, who has a friend who recently had his board impounded, said skateboard enforcement on campus is too harsh for all skaters.

    “”He was just going from class to class and he did one trick, a cop saw it and took his board,”” Pateracki said. “”You can’t skate for more than a minute without getting caught.””

    The struggle to create a better understanding of skaters and their culture is not going to come easy, Silvestri said.

    “”I think they have to kind of look at it kind of like a peak and valley. We’re kind of in the valley right now, we’re kind of below the belt,”” Silvestri said. “”We know it’s almost impossible to change someone’s opinion if you can’t talk to them and a lot of people aren’t willing to talk to us.””

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