Sherwin Simmons the retired University of Oregon professor, who was pelted by students with snowballs on Friday, told The Emerald that he is not pressing charges today.
“I have confidence that the reaction of the university given what has happened will be proportional,” Simmons said. “It will consider these young people and their futures and will also, I hope, suggest to them that they need to rethink behavior like that.”
Simmons was on his way to the campus museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art around 3 p.m. on Dec. 6 to donate several of his own paintings to the museum’s collection. As he drove north on University Street, his car was blocked by a group of students who were participating in a UO football team organized snowball fight.
“Someone started banging on the car and it was like the snowballs were fists hitting the car,” Simmons said. “Then I was blinded by people both tossing snow on the window and racking snow off the roof. They were out of control.”
Not wanting to injure any surrounding students by driving any farther, Simmons put his car in park and got out.
“I decided maybe if I get out, they’ll see that I’m 60 years old and I’m a human being,” Simmons said. “I was disoriented and all I wanted to do was ask why they were doing this and to please stop.”
Immediately after Simmons opened the door of his car, somebody dumped snow out of a bucket into the driver’s seat. He expressed his belief, however, that these actions were a reflection of mob mentality, not individual character.
“People were cheering when snow was thrown into my car,” Simmons said. “I don’t think people do that except under some sort of psychological mechanism that comes with people feeling they have permission because other people are doing it, and to act in a way they maybe wouldn’t act individually.”
Simmons spoke with several students who he says denied having been a part of the snowball attack on him and his car. He returned to his car and proceeded to the museum where he alerted security to call the University of Oregon Police Department to monitor the situation.
As Simmons left the museum and proceeded back up University Street, three cop cars and about six UOPD officers had arrived at the scene of the snowball fight.
“I just rolled down the window and said, ‘Thanks for coming here,’ because I was hoping no one would have happen to them what happened to me.”
Continuing coverage of the snowball fight and its consequences can be found on our topics page.
Follow Julianne Parker on Twitter @julianneparker