4/20 at CU-Boulder: Is it dead yet?
Yesterday, CU-Boulder Police spokesman Ryan Huff called 4/20 on the campus, which was closed for the second consecutive year, a "non-event," and the description is apt. As a huge crowd gathered at Denver's Civic Center Park for a rally marred by a shooting, CU-Boulder, which once drew 10,000-revelers-plus on 4/20, saw zero protests or arrests and just two pot citations.
Big photos below.
But the university's official spokesman isn't ready to declare the event dead yet.
"The nothing that was going on was just the regular something that happens on a springtime Saturday," says CU-Boulder's Bronson Hilliard (disclosure: a longtime friend of yours truly). "People were going in and out of the library and there was the normal amount of foot traffic in and out of area buildings on the quad" -- meaning Norlin Quad, the traditional home of the 4/20 event. In addition, he goes on, "we had some recreational things going on in the rec center, some cheerleader tryouts in the Coors Events Center -- and it all came off without incident."
This normalcy didn't come cheap. Five law-enforcement agencies assisted the CU-Boulder Police Department in making certain that only authorized students, staffers or visitors had access to the campus grounds. And while total costs for these efforts won't be determined for between four and eight weeks, the effort was similar to the one last year, when the price tag was a little under $125,000.
A photo posted Saturday on the CU-Boulder Police Facebook page.
Is the university ready to spend a similar amount to close the campus next year, too, even though this year's shutdown prompted no demonstrations and April 20 of 2014 falls on Easter Sunday? At this point, Hilliard is noncommittal -- and he declines to read the event its last rites.
"All we can say with certainty is that it was dead this year," he points out. "We don't know what next year is going to hold. We don't know what movements there might be to return the event to the campus, and we certainly need to debrief. So we'll be sitting down in the coming days -- looking at the results of this year and do an initial calculus on next year. And that could take some time."
After all, he continues, "there are lots of things that can change quickly in the digital age. It doesn't take much to start up a crowd, whether it's a small flash mob or a larger crowd. Social media can form a crowd very quickly."
If another closure is announced, does Hilliard anticipate complaints about the six-figure expense?
"Some might be tempted to make that argument," he concedes, "but there are counter-arguments."
Continue for more about 4/20 at CU-Boulder.