Hands off my snowballs!
Capilano students living at Dollarton residence given firm notice on snowball fights
Greta Kooy // Campus Life Editor
Last February, the University of British Columbia was the host to one of the best campus-wide snowball fights seen in Western Canada. Hundreds of students participated, and everyone had fun. On the other side of the country, the University of Toronto holds a much anticipated annual snowball fight that brings the whole campus together for one day of bitterly cold goodness.
It doesn’t snow often in Vancouver, but when it does it can be very exciting. Vancouverites’ feelings towards snow often range from hating it because it’s too cold and a nightmare to drive in, to loving it completely and rejoicing in all the winter sports that comes with.
Snowball fights, some might say, are one of the few things that people can get excited about. As juvenile as it sounds, snowball fights are fun (if you’re a willing participant). Long gone are the days of elementary school, but that doesn’t mean university students are excluded from taking part in such activities. Or are they?
As it happens, some students living at the Capilano University residences at Dollarton Highway had a snowball fight on Saturday, Feb. 17. “It was snowing, and there [were] a lot of students that got really excited. So, we went outside, and we just decided to have a snowball fight,” said George Quintero, a CapU student living at the Dollarton residences.
Shortly after the fun began, it hastily ended. What started as a completely impromptu way for the students to have some fun and blow off some steam quickly turned into quite the disappointment. Much to their surprise, the students were approached by a resident staff member and told they were in fact not allowed to have snowball fights.
“The next day everyone got an email,” said Quintero. It was what was written in this email that shocked the students even more. In it was a statement that deemed snowballs to be considered weapons, and thus be treated as such.
“So, we’ve just gone ahead and put guns, knives, BB guns, and snowballs, all on the same page,” said Quintero. And he wouldn’t be wrong in saying that.
As ludicrous as it sounds, that is the reality. But why would that be? Doesn’t it seem odd to classify a snowball as dangerous as a rifle?
It would, yes. But in a university setting things are quite different. As residence staff explained to Quintero, the issue is not that the group had a snowball fight, but rather that the snowball fight took place on the school’s property where they could be legally liable if injury did occur.
And injuries caused by snowballs certainly do occur. It’s for that reason that so many institutions, one by one, are beginning to ban snowball fights. One school in the UK, albeit a high school took things a step further and banned students from touching snow altogether.
No one wants to see anyone get hurt, especially when playing in something as fun as snow. Snowball fights are truly a Canadian specialty, and to take part in them is a childhood corner stone for all northerners.
“A lot of the residents, they’ve never seen snow,” said Quintero, “It’s something Canadian they should be allowed to experience.”
Unfortunately for them, that’ll have to happen off university-owned property. As Andrew Willis, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) VP Academic, said in a statement, “I understand the liability and insurance reasons behind this policy. As a student, I understand how rare snow is for Vancouverites. And as a Canadian, if you’re going to make great winter memories, be a good neighbour and make sure it’s with soft, clean snow.”