Police boost presence after skateboarders damage Tempe campus

ASU has spent $250,000 to repair building damages caused by skateboarders on the Tempe campus. The University has begun implementing a stronger police presence to prevent further harm to the structures. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Police are increasing officer presence around newer buildings on the Tempe campus because of damage caused by skateboarders and bicyclists.

ASU Police Assistant Chief Jim Hardina said students and other Tempe residents have broken concrete, busted glass and scuffed paint.

“We are losing police aides and other resources that could be used for more important things such as bike theft,” Hardina said.

Carpentry Supervisor in Facilities Management Robert Backus said about $250,000 has been spent repairing reckless property damage from fall 2011 to September of this year.

“It’s hard to quantify the exact number of costs in the past year, but you also can’t know how many potential students and parents turn away (from ASU) because of damages,” Backus said.

Hardina said the ASU Police Department receives several calls each week regarding campus damages.

Backus said broken glass and chipped concrete benches that create sharp edges can be hazardous to other students and faculty.

Facilities management considered installing security cameras when construction began, but it never implemented them.

Caution tape and fences deter skateboarders and bicyclists at buildings currently under construction, Backus said.

“Potential students come to ASU because of the way it looks,” Backus said, “People are blatantly destructive and should use their skateboards wisely to respect the University.”

ASU provides the repair money based on a capital budget request. Projects are then prioritized, leaving some of the damages unrepaired, Backus said.

The buildings with the most recent construction, such as the Memorial Union and the Nelson Fine Arts Center, have the most reported damages.

“The sculptures and shaped structures around the fine arts building are being used as skate ramps,” Backus said.

Staff had just finished construction on the newer buildings in late spring, and damages were first reported by summer.

Students who are caught skateboarding around the property can be arrested for criminal damage and then referred to Student Rights and Responsibilities for further review.

People who aren’t ASU students can be cited for trespassing and possibly not allowed back on campus.

Hardina said the University could restrict skateboarding on campus if the damages continue.

Chemistry sophomore Lisha Coleman uses her long board as transportation to and from campus.

“It’s not fair to students who actually use (their long board or skateboard) for transportation,” Coleman said. “Skateboarding is a hobby for some people, and the tricks are cool to watch; but if there is a way they can do it without causing trouble, then it’s an easy compromise.”

 

Reach the reporter at mkthomp5@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @mariakthompson