CUPD working to make it a safe event; students will not be photographed
With 4/20 drawing near, CU officials are gearing up for the annual marijuana-smoking convention that the day has become notorious for.
Officials representing the CU administration and the CU Police Department were reluctant to get into details of their plans for monitoring the event, but CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard did say that techniques from past years would not be used.
“We have some public-safety plans and personnel ready, but certainly nothing like what people have seen in the past,” Hilliard said. “I think the general consensus on campus is that the things that were done in years past — things like photographing students — were not really effective, and we certainly don’t plan anything like that.”
CUPD spokesman Brad Wiesley was similarly cautious about divulging information about the department’s plans for Friday, but did say that the department did not plan on taking a heavy-duty role with things.
“We’ve worked cooperatively with groups on campus to devise a plan that will hopefully make it a safe and productive event for everybody,” Wiesley said.
Wiesley said that though the department supports the right for people to organize, they do not condone illegal activities, such as marijuana use.
“We absolutely support people’s right to free speech and to make whatever point known that they want to make known,” Wiesley said. “What we don’t support is people breaking the law while they are doing that.”
Officials from the Boulder Police Department declined to comment on the issue, saying the issue was within CUPD’s jurisdiction.
Farrand Field, home to the 4/20 congregations in past years, is out of commission because of construction this year. The popular replacement choice is the Norlin Quad, according to the Facebook group “4/20 Norlin Quad.” As of Sunday evening, the group had 1,045 members.
Both Hilliard and Wiesley declined to comment on whether they expected students to assemble on the Norlin Quad on Friday.
However, Hilliard did express concern over what sort of impact the annual event had on CU’s reputation.
“I think it’s important that students realize that the external public doesn’t look at this as an expression of students’ issues with drug laws,” Hilliard said. “They look at this as just another example of their stereotype of CU students, which is that they don’t ever study, they party all the time, they are not serious and focused and they are just looking to have a good time. That’s not a reputation that our campus or student body deserves.”
Hilliard cited the University of Vermont as an institution that had a similar problem every April, but managed to ultimately eliminate the problem through intensive work by the administration, student body and overall community.
“The University of Vermont actually had some great success with closing down its 4/20 event, and it took them about four or five years,” Hilliard said. “There have been some campuses that have made some headway, and we are certainly open to those discussions and to thinking about that.”
The maximum fine for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is $100, Wiesley said.
Additionaly, students given the $100 fine will most likely lose any federal or state
financial aid under the Higher Education Act Drug Provision, said Britta Stunkard,
co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Brian Beer at firstname.lastname@example.org.