Photos: CU-Boulder's 4/20 closure guards against "chaos," spokesman says
Yesterday, we told you about the decision by administrators at CU-Boulder to close the campus on 4/20 for the third consecutive year; see our previous coverage below.
Big photos below.
Presumably, there won't be much going on in the buildings near Norlin Quad (longtime ground zero of 4/20 at CU) on the date, given that April 20 corresponds with Easter Sunday this year -- and last year's closure was a non-event. So why go through the motions again? A CU-Boulder spokesman explains.
"This year, with all the attention on the law in Colorado and retail marijuana becoming legal here, we wanted to continue to secure the academic space against the kind of chaos the event brings," says Bronson Hilliard (disclosure: a friend of yours truly). "And regardless of what happens in the external environments around Colorado and Denver, I think the general feeling is that it's going to take some time to die down completely as something students think about -- and something people from outside the community who come here for 4/20 think about."
A photo from the pre-2012 era of 4/20 gatherings at CU-Boulder.
At the same time, he continues, "the baseline reasons for doing this really haven't changed. We have faculty using the academic space seven days a week. Laboratories are right nearby and faculty regularly comes in over the weekend to work, to meet with colleagues and many other things. And that's what we're trying to secure without disruption."
The first year the campus was closed on 4/20, opponents reacted with a court fight in which the university prevailed -- and on the day itself, the boundary was breached and a handful of protesters were arrested. Year two, in contrast, went without incident.
A 2011 shot from the campus.
"The officers who've secured the campus have been great," Hilliard stresses. "We haven't received any formal complaints about their conduct. They've been polite and professional, and so have the other agencies we've partnered with."
As such, a major confrontation this 4/20 seems unlikely, "but just in case, we will be prepared for a number of different scenarios," Hilliard says --including protests from people unhappy about the university enforcing a new no-smoking policy. The latter "has nothing to do with 4/20," he stresses. "We've been working to get no-smoking regulations for ten years, and we're one of the last major universities in the country to come up with this."
Hilliard declines to go into detail about law-enforcement plans, but acknowledges that "the general philosophy is the same as last year.
More from 2011.
"It's always been part of our strategy on 4/20 that this would be a multi-year process," he continues. "We want to make this thing go away permanently on campus, and we haven't defined how long the horizon is on 'multi-year.' But we always knew it would be three or more years moving ahead."
Continue for our previous coverage of the upcoming campus closure at CU-Boulder, including a gallery of photos from the last big 4/20 event at the university.