4/20 at CU: University on possible lawsuit to block campus closure and more
While speaking about CU-Boulder's plan to close the campus again on April 20 in an effort to end the 4/20 event there, spokesman Bronson Hilliard stressed the need to communicate clearly about the university's rationale, and he wasn't kidding. After we published posts about a threatened lawsuit to block the plan and a chat with a student leader who opposes the closure, Hilliard called to reiterate, tweak and/or expand upon prior statements or respond to comments that may strike others as utterly noncontroversial.
Let's take the topics one at a time, shall we?
The Possible Lawsuit:
In our Wednesday post, we reported that attorney Rob Corry and possible plaintiff Rob Smoke had floated the possibility of taking court action to stop CU-Boulder from closing the campus on grounds pertaining to free speech and expression related to political protest. "Personally, I don't view it as them stopping someone's party, even if the media wants to paint that picture," Smoke wrote via Facebook. "Myself, others, have had friends die in prison on an MJ sentence. 4/20 is a global protest/political event for reform, but also against imprisonment. Social action -- gathering for redress -- is essential in a free society and guaranteed under the Constitution."
The item pointed out that Corry, with Smoke as a plaintiff, had taken this same tack last year, but a judge sided with CU-Boulder. Hilliard (disclosure: a longtime friend of yours truly) stresses the university's confidence that it would prevail again should another complaint be filed.
"The university feels like it's on pretty strong legal grounds, and not just because of the decision last year by the Boulder court," he says. "In general, there is no First Amendment right to come onto the campus' property to engage in something that's prevented by both Amendment 64 and federal law," meaning smoking marijuana in public. "So we feel like we're on strong footing. We think Pat O'Rourke and John Sleeman" -- the attorneys who handled the case last year -- "made a compelling argument that the university's grounds are a limited public forum."
For example, he goes on, "They don't meet the same public-forum standards as a park. And the court ruled that the university can take reasonable measures to protect its mission of research and teaching."
Continue for more CU-Boulder responses about the plan to close campus on April 20.