CSUN police and the skaters around Manzanita Hall have been playing cat-and-mouse for years. The police show up, and the skaters scatter or sit down.
“Sometimes I’ll put my skateboard in the trash and act like I don’t skate,” said Charles, a 19-year-old sophomore English major. Charles requested that his last name not be used.
The police make rounds around Manzanita Hall a few times a week.
Charles said the police drive by and check on them, but sometimes they get out of their cars and issue citations or handcuff people.
“Lately I’ve been on edge, but I don’t think cops will prevent me from skating,” Charles said.
Most of the skaters doing tricks around Manzanita Hall said the same – they will not allow the police to prevent them from skating.
“The cops have to respond to faculty calls,” Charles said.
He said he believes the faculty calls are why police keep coming out to check on them.
“(Skating) is pretty minor in the scope of things,” said Christina Villalobos, special assistant to the chief of police.
There are more important things to worry about, but she said that skating could be dangerous too.
“What’s really enforced on campus is trick skating,” Villalobos said.
She said that all skating “is not allowed on campus.” However, the students who are using skateboards to travel from class to class aren’t focused on as much.
Christoph Nersalas, a 20-year-old philosophy and biology major, said police don’t bother skaters using their skateboards to travel.
“I’m sure they’re okay with it, they don’t stop the long-boards,” Nersalas said. He said the longer-style skateboards are mostly used to travel.
“(Trick skating) is a safety hazard,” said Villalobos.
When these skaters are doing tricks around stairs, benches, people or other obstacles, there is a potential for skaters and innocent bystanders to get hurt.
There is also the potential of property damage, she said.
When people grind on stair rails or wax-up benches to slide their boards on, there is a possibility that CSUN property will sustain damage.
If there is property damage, the skaters can be charged with vandalism on top of the other charges they would incur for skating, she said.
Charges for skating on campus fall under the California Vehicle Code in section 21113 under the heading “Local Regulation.”
The code states that vehicles cannot be driven onto public schools, state universities, and other property mentioned in the section.
Villalobos said warnings are given out initially, but if the skaters don’t stop skating, then they will be issued citations.
“I heard (the citations) are really high,” Nersalas said.
He said he has never been cited, but his friends have. One of the skaters has received at least five citations.
Police drove down the sidewalks by the skaters Sept. 25. They didn’t get out of their car right away. The first couple of times they drove by they stared at the skaters. One of the police officers pointed to his own sunglasses, and tapped on them.
Charles said he understood the officer’s gesture as a reminder that the officer had his eye on the skaters.
Later that day two skaters were issued citations.
Last week there were multiple instances where cop cars were parked next to the Manzanita building.
The first time there were three cop cars, one of them being a K-9 unit.
Some of the skaters scattered, and some sat down on benches. No citations were issued at the incident.
A couple of days after that, two cop cars with three officers spoke with the skaters, again with no citations being issued.
When police confront skaters, Nersalas said, “We try to be courteous, amiable and friendly.”
After discussing the laws regulating skating, Nersalas stood up, got on his skateboard, and said, “Now check out this 360 flip.”