CU Boulder is America's druggiest campus? Spokesman offers rebuttal & 4/20 move update

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Last week, in a post about the CU Boulder student legislative council passing a resolution to move the annual 4/20 event off campus, we noted that the university had topped a survey by Newsweek and the Daily Beast of the nation's druggiest colleges. But CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard -- who lauds the student government's 4/20 resolution -- suggests that this designation was based on flawed data.

According to Hilliard (a longtime friend of yours truly), Newsweek and the Daily Beast based their rankings in part on figures submitted by schools under the Clery Act, a 1990 law that requires institutions "to do things like issue a timely warning when there's a threat to public safety and requires us to provide crime statistics for a range of crimes, from burglary to sexual assault to drug arrests."

Photo by Hunter Stevens.
CU Boulder 4/20 2011.
Problem is, the folks at the CU Police Department made a mistake when compiling the figures, listing each criminal count as a separate arrest. As a result, a single bust in which a person faced four drug-related charges was inadvertently quadrupled, boosting the figures considerably. The Newsweek/Daily Beast survey showed 801 drug arrests at CU in 2010, but after crunching the numbers, the CUPD discovered there had actually been 351. The last number is still up from 2009 -- something the university expected, since it had instituted a new residence-hall policy that had increased the number of police contacts -- but only 43 percent of the digit the study conductors used.

Hilliard adds that the CUPD had also reported some drug crimes not specifically required by the Clery Act, which could have also inflated the figure.

Because the study used other information to arrive at its ranking in addition to the Clery Act submissions, there's no telling where CU would have scored if accurate info had been utilized. But in Hilliard's view, "it doesn't much matter whether you score number one or number ten. Nobody wants to show up in a survey like that in the top twenty -- and nobody has any illusions at CU Boulder that this isn't an issue. We're doing more things at more levels to cut down on alcohol and drug use and abuse than at any time in CU's history" -- tactics outlined in this item about Michael Hoffman, CU's first drug-and-alcohol overdose victim in seven years.

Photo by Hunter Stevens
CU Boulder 4/20 2011.
At the same time, Hilliard isn't overly impressed by the druggiest schools survey, or other pageview-generating projects like it. "There's this proliferation of lifestyle rankings: Playboy, the Princeton Review, number one party school, reefer madness. Somebody two or three years ago ranked the douchiest schools. And then other media pick up on these polls, and they get spread throughout the digital media world, and then you're off to the races. But when you're looking at these things, you sort of have to ask, 'What value does this add to anyone making a decision about where to go to school?'"

Page down for an update about 4/20 on the CU Boulder campus.

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Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

The CUPD must have borrowed the playbook from Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.  That guy lied his ass off to get the MMC ban to pass.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It is obvious that telling the CU police department to deflate rather than inflate arrest statistics would be far more productive than trying to remove the 4/20 celebration from campus, so this may be taken as a measure of the incompetence of CU's administration and Hilliard.  Their central assumption, that 4/20 represents CU in a bad light, is erroneous -- what the school should be doing is examining its relationship with alcohol-peddlers and attempting to discourage them from injuring students.  If enhancing its reputation is the goal, CU cannot back off its stupid attack on 4/20 fast enough.


I dont know about that but they have continually fired professors who threaten the power structure in Colorado.

Rocky Flats for instance, is off limits at CU, even though the campus lies directly within the path of numerous instances of fallout dating back to 1959. 


Alcohol abuse isn't Marijuana abuse, lumping them together really fucks up any point he was trying to make. 

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