Video: Large group hits drivers with snowballs on UO campus

EUGENE, Ore. -- A video posted after Friday's snowstorm shows a group of college-aged people throwing snowballs at drivers making their way through the heart of the University of Oregon campus.

The footage, posted by The Daily Emerald, generated some controversy over social media sites as it shows the group continue to hit a driver after he's stepped out of his car.

University of Oregon dean of students Paul Shang said there were two large snowball fights that erupted on campus after classes were canceled Friday.

One was sparked when the Oregon Duck football team challenged the University of Oregon student body to a snowball fight.

"For the most part, they appear to be student athletes and a large number of U of O students," Shang said of the video. "We know initially the thing was organized by football players."

Jacob Ryan, a UO Junior, heard about the impromptu snowball fight through a tweet sent out by Ducks football player Josh Huff.

"Everybody was in a great mood. How can you not be when it just snowed 6 inches and classes are getting canceled?" said Ryan.

Snow ball fight by the EMU @ 12:40

Huff 2Live (@Huff_Era_1) December 6, 2013
Some people are saying that it got out of control when cars and a driver were hit with a barrage of snowballs.

  • Statements from Paul Shang and Ducks Head Coach Helfrich

Krysten Mayfair says she was driving the gold SUV seen in the first part of the video.

"It was scary because it was very much a mob mentality. Our car was stopped by several students and they proceeded to pelt the car with snowballs that were packed very hard," Mayfair said.

Mayfair said there were over a hundred students near the EMU when she tried to drive down University Street. She was just one of several cars that were stopped.

"Because of the sort of way they were approaching us, being so aggressive, I definitely did not want to confront anyone," said Mayfair. "They were clearly trying to goad us out of the car to hit us with snowballs."

"Personally, I think it's pretty disgusting that students could do that," said Ryan. "It's super embarrassing that we are getting represented by these few individuals that are doing stuff like that."

Mayfair said she's just happy no one got hurt.

"They are just students. We have to keep that in mind. They are very young adults and they make stupid decisions."

KVAL News reached out to the man in the video, a former professor. He declined to publicly comment on the incident.

Statement from Oregon Football Head Coach Mark Helfrich (Released Sunday night):

"On Saturday, I was made aware of an incident that occurred Friday afternoon during the snow day involving multiple Oregon students including members of the football team. The behavior exhibited in the video is completely unacceptable and dangerous. We take this matter very seriously and disciplinary actions have begun."

Statement from Paul Shang, the UO Dean of Students :

The University of Oregon Police Department is investigating an incident, captured on video, in which a passing vehicle was the target of snowballs thrown by young people in an area on the UO campus. Police hope to determine the identities of those who were throwing snowballs, whether they are UO students and whether their actions constitute a criminal act.

The University of Oregon takes the conduct of its students seriously. Consequences are clear for those whose actions reflect poorly upon the university or violate its standards for student behavior. However, until the facts of the snowball-throwing incident are sorted out, it would be premature to speculate about any potential outcomes in this case.