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Columbia University Cracks Down on Hoverboards and Drones

By John Santore | March 11, 2016 5:12pm
 No hoverboards will be allowed on campus, while drone flights must be pre-arranged.
No hoverboards will be allowed on campus, while drone flights must be pre-arranged.
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Getty/Christopher Furlong

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Columbia University reaffirmed on Friday its existing ban on hoverboards and unapproved drone flights.  

The policies have been in place since January, according to university spokeswoman Caroline A. Adelman, but were circulated this week "to insure awareness throughout the community." 

The university's hoverboard policy states the ban is intended "to reduce risks and maintain the safety of members of the Columbia University community," specifically citing the devices' potential to catch fire. 

Hoverboards are already illegal under New York state law, according to the Department of Transportation, since they are motorized vehicles that can't be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles

The NYPD's enforcement of the ban seems to be lax, though police commissioner Bill Bratton has described those riding the two-wheeled contraptions as "quite frankly ... out of their mind."

Drone flights over university property are only permitted "for educational or research purposes," according to school policy. Drone operators must obtain prior approval from the school's Department of Public Safety, follow applicable laws — such as making sure your drone is registered with the Federal Aviation Administration — and avoid "areas of public assembly, stadium, or areas of construction," among other rules. 

Adelman said the school has yet to experience any drone or hoverboard-related mishaps that endangered public safety.