CU-Boulder closes campus to non-affiliates on April 20 for third straight year

By Staff

The University of Colorado Boulder announced it will be open to students, faculty and staff on Sunday, April 20, but for the third straight year will be closed to unauthorized non-affiliates.

“As we have said for years now, the 4/20 gathering is not welcome on our campus and has caused serious disruptions to our mission of research, teaching and learning,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “This campus closure continues a multiyear plan to eliminate this gathering.”

The main campus will be closed to non-affiliates from noon to 6 p.m. The Norlin Quad will be closed to everyone throughout the day. Even with the passage of Amendment 64 two years ago, state law does not allow pot smoking in public or possession of marijuana by those under 21.

CU-Boulder began these campus closure actions in April 2012. A Boulder judge upheld the university’s right to take reasonable steps to avoid disruption of the university’s academic mission. In 2012, the closure reduced a traditional 4/20 crowd of about 10,000 to 12,000 people to a gathering of several hundred. April 20, 2013, was a quiet day on campus with no arrests and no one entering the Norlin Quad.

A campus committee, whose members include leaders of the CU Student Government, has met for the past several months to discuss this year’s 4/20 operations. CUSG members have said they want the spontaneous 4/20 gathering to end, but have also expressed concerns and provided input on the planning process. CUSG also wants continued academic dialogue on drug policies and is planning a symposium on those topics for March or early April.

“With the passage of Amendment 64 and now the launch of retail marijuana sales, we believe there is plenty to discuss and debate about drug policies,” said Chris Schaefbauer, CUSG’s president of student affairs. “But that should take place in a thoughtful, academic setting – not among thousands of disruptive people on the Norlin Quad.”

DiStefano said the CU administration supports the students’ efforts to spur debate on drug policies.

“CU-Boulder is a place where academic debate and the free exchange of ideas have always been welcomed and encouraged,” he said. “I applaud the students for continuing this dialogue.”

This year on Sunday, April 20, the following measures will be in place:

  • Students, faculty and staff are all welcome on campus and invited to make use of university facilities as they always do.
  • Students, faculty and staff will be asked to present their Buff OneCard IDs at campus entrances and other areas.
  • Consistent with prior years’ protocol, law enforcement officers will politely and professionally engage those wishing to enter the campus to ascertain if they are affiliates or approved visitors. This will involve checking Buff OneCards for students, faculty and staff and credentials for registered visitors. Those unaffiliated with CU-Boulder, or who are not approved visitors, will not be permitted on campus.
  • Visitors who have official business, meetings or other officially sanctioned activities on the CU-Boulder campus will need to obtain a visitor’s pass. More details on that process will be announced soon.

Funding for the campus security measures comes from insurance rebates to the campus, not from tuition, student fees or taxpayer funds.

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