When walking around the university at night or during the weekends, you’re bound to see skaters taking advantage of Chapman’s very skateable campus. Some may be Chapman students indulging in their favorite hobby, while others are high school students coming to have their own fun.
You may hear the loud crack when a board hits the floor, a skater or scooter may cut in front of you, almost hit you or even fall with a loud thud right in front of you.
“He just flew flat on his back on the ground. It looked super painful… he definitely hit his head,” sophomore Isabella De La Torre described of one such skater.
While students who walk go about their day normally, skaters often come to Chapman to take advantage of all the university concrete. Most students don’t mind, but others are almost ran into, have practices interrupted and are even witnesses to a bad wipeout.
For De La Torre, it was hard to witness an accident happening on campus to someone who didn’t even go to Chapman.
“I can tell he was equally embarrassed but also trying to play off the pain he was in because it obviously hurt,” said De La Torre.
Shocked in the moment at hand, De La Torre didn’t know what to do — help the skater up or leave him to his own embarrassment to get up on his own.
“I didn’t go up to him because I would be so mortified if that was me that I wouldn’t want anyone to check on me,” explained De La Torre.
While injuries like these are few, skaters and scooters still can cause a ruckus on campus. However, that doesn’t mean all of them are disrespectful and rude to those around them. Most genuinely want to take advantage of Chapman’s open campus policy to skate in one of the only skateable areas around Orange.
We’ve all seen them around Chapman at one point or another, most likely ollieing down the stairs at various places around campus or outside of Beckman Hall’s “perfect” skating surface.
Chapman sophomore Sean Iritani skates on campus often, and isn’t trying to be disrespectful to anybody. For him, skating is something fun to do, and a good stress reliever.
“We’re just trying to have fun like other people,” said Iritani. “Skating is just a means for us to have our fun. Whatever that may be for other people, we just choose to do it on the piece of wood.”
Iritani does recognize that skating can be a nuisance to others on campus. However, he tries his best not to bother others when he is skating on campus and tries his best to avoid people.
“I understand it’s pretty loud, it’s pretty dangerous and if we eat shit and the board hits someone, then it’s pretty annoying. But we try not to do that… and we try to skate away from people. So, we keep that into consideration when we do skate on campus.”
Most people don’t seem to care too much about having them around campus. In fact, most are like Iritani and are respectful. They recognize when and where to skate around campus. However, there are some students that don’t attend Chapman who go out of their way to cause trouble simply because they can.
Senior soccer player Mia Fowler was a part of a practice that was interrupted by two “high school aged” students on electric scooters that came into the field. This practice was crucial because it was right before Chapman’s first playoff game. According to Fowler, the scooter-wielding students were on the field for about four whole minutes, taunting the women’s soccer coach and even riding on to the field where the players were.
“We want to have a professional environment at our soccer practices as much as possible,” said Fowler. “So when kids are flying around yelling and screaming and distracting all of us it takes away from our goal and it’s annoying.”
The students reportedly rode around the track, and when the soccer coach stood in the way of them, they’d turn around and go the other way. The “little menaces” did not leave until the soccer coach got on the phone to call the head of the athletic department.
As for Fowler, she was annoyed that this was allowed to happen with Chapman’s open campus policies.
“I wish there was a way to draw a line between that (prospective students and parents) and having random high school kids just walk the campus. Especially with skateboards and bikes… it just gets in the way and clutters up an already cluttered up campus,” said Fowler.
When trying to reach out to the Orange High School skateboarding and scooting students for comment, they had nothing to say. They’d either skate away or say something along the lines of “Nah, bro I’m good” and go about their business.
Public Safety Chief Randy Burba explained that students can be kicked out of campus for trespassing or vandalism if they are damaging school property or if they are endangering themselves and others. However this only applies to people who don’t go to school at Chapman. If students from Chapman are caught “damaging school property” disciplinary action may be taken if they don’t stop after they’re told.
“The challenge is obviously we don’t want to give some juvenile who’s just skateboarding or riding a bike a criminal record or file charges against them,” Burba explained when talking about high school skaters.
Burba explained that while Chapman is an open campus, public safety can tell students to get off campus because they are not invited to skate on campus. But, if they want to ride a bike or skate through campus while not damaging anything or endangering themselves, they are welcome to do so.
“It really comes down to what are they doing, what’s the activity, how disruptive is it and we just kind of address it on a case by case basis.
During senior Jaylene Capinpin’s new music class, skateboarders sometimes cause distractions during rehearsals.
“Because of COVID we have to keep the door open because there’s not a lot of ventilation,” said Capinpin. “They’ll do kick flips and stuff but fall over so it’s super loud. Sometimes we’ll lose our place in the music because they’re right there.”
Capinpin rehearses in Crean Hall, which is directly connected to the infamous Oliphant Hall steps where many skaters go to ollie off of. While Capinpin doesn’t usually mind skaters, the noise they cause distracts from precious rehearsal time she only gets once a week.
“We only rehearse in 30 minute increments… they’re usually there the entire time I am,” said Capinpin.
Senior Parker Johnson skates on campus and enjoys the skaters that come to campus. Johnson does appreciate what students on and off campus bring to campus and how they continue to inspire him to skate.
“From my perspective, it was always to seeing people skate out and about. It’s definitely like a drive thing, it’s like ‘okay you guys are able to skate while dealing with classes so I can too,’” said Johnson.
Johnson said the skating community around Orange was “on the friendlier side or more approachable” when compared to the Los Angeles skating scene. While Johnson doesn’t agree with outside students being disrespectful to people around campus, he does raise a good question.
“If there are so many places we’re not allowed to skate in, there should be more places to skate in,” Johnson explained. “Why is there no skate park in Orange?”
Evan Raymond is a sophomore vocal performance major with a journalism minor. When Evan isn’t writing, he enjoys singing with the Men of Harmony a cappella group, listening to his “Vibes” playlist on Apple Music and eating endless amounts of Chick-Fil-A without deterrence.