By Ivy Sellers
Packing fresh snow into a ball and ambushing some unsuspecting victim is just one of the many activities students enjoy following a winter snowstorm.
Sounds harmless right?
In the city of Provo a snowball fight could result in a misdemeanor charge.
Listed under “Miscellaneous Safety Provisions,” chapter 9.14 in the Provo City Code classifies a snowball as a “missile.”
The code states that anyone throwing snowballs, sticks, stones or “other missiles” at people or windows or other forms of property in order to injure, destroy, frighten, or annoy is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Provo city spokesman Michael Mower said the codes were instituted as a precautionary measure.
“We have ordinances about it [snowball throwing] because sticks and stones can break people”s bones and sometimes we need to be able to prosecute that,” he said.
In the past the city has used the code to prosecute those who have thrown water balloons and eggs causing personal injury or property damage, Mower said.
Throwing snowballs doesn”t seem to be as big of a deal.
“We rarely prosecute because seldom do people call and complain about snowball fights,” he said.
Mower said that as far as he could tell, no complaints have been made in the last year concerning snowballs but the policy has been enforced in the past.
Paul Janda, community-policing officer for the lower campus area, said the missiles code is helpful when snowballs and other objects are thrown in a dangerous manner.
But when it comes to throwing snowballs in a friendly manner, he said students shouldn”t be concerned about getting into trouble.
“There”s absolutely no problems with that,” Janda said. “[It”s] only the extreme cases that we worry about.”
Tony Archibald, 22, a sophomore from Tobytown, Maryland, majoring in accounting, has been in trouble more than once for throwing snowballs.
He said he and his friends often throw snowballs at passersby as they are walking home from school.
“[When we throw them], most people throw them back,” Archibald said. “We all laugh about it and move on.”
One time the boys hit their neighbor and she wasn”t too happy, he said.
“She called the cops,” Archibald said.
He said an officer showed up at their door later that evening and when no one admitted to having thrown the snowball; he demanded their ID”s and threatened to take them downtown.
The girl they had hit was right behind the cop, throwing a fit, Archibald said. After a half hour, the cop left and told them to work it out themselves.
Archibald said he doesn”t feel much pity for those who get upset when hit by snowballs.
“It”s [just] throwing powder balls at people” he said. “It doesn”t hurt them and even if it does offend them, I don”t care. I kind of like to offend people like that.”
Archibald said he throws snowballs to get a reaction out of people.
“I like to see the look on their face when I hit them in the larynx,” he said.
Overall, students don”t seem too concerned about the possible consequences of throwing snowballs.
Laura Roberge, a 21-year-old senior from Englewood, Colo., majoring in international politics, said she doesn”t think twice when throwing snowballs because it makes for a good time.
“I think it [the purpose of throwing snowballs] is just to have fun – a lot of fun,” Roberge said.
Roberge”s roommate, Callie Vessels, a 20-year-old junior from Redding, Connecticut, majoring in special education, agreed and also said memory making is a big reason she participates in snowball fights.
Both Roberge and Vessels recall being told in the dorms they couldn”t throw snowballs.
Mary Hokanson, secretary for Helaman Halls, said its true that students are encouraged to go to the Deseret Towers” field for snowball activity, mainly for reasons of safety.