By the University of Colorado Student Government
Since April 2012, the University of Colorado has taken decisive and deliberate actions to enforce a complete shutdown of the highly attended 4/20 event and protest that convened on the CU-Boulder campus over the past generations. The administration has cited the disruption the gathering causes to the academic mission, safety concerns for students, faculty, staff and visitors, and health issues for members of the campus community as primary motivations for the campus closure, and three years later continue to lock down Norlin field for the duration of the event.
We agree that the CU Administration is founded in their that belief that the 4/20 event, focused on the active consumption of marijuana, has no place on our campus due strictly to the inherent safety concerns and academic disruption the massive gathering causes.
However, we continue to disagree with the tactics used to shut down the campus for the 2012, 2013, and the upcoming 2014 event. As student leaders, we are responsible to our peers who have voiced concerns regarding the negative impacts the massive police presence on campus has imposed on residents and students seeking to utilize their CU facilities.
The CU administration has extended participation in the discourse and planning of the 4/20 shutdown procedures to CU student leadership as a step to mitigate negative impacts unique to students. In order to best serve the voices of our peers, CUSG orchestrated an official “4/20 Task Force” of student activists from across campus to discuss and develop ideas for short-term and long-term structures of this highly contentious event. The conversations this task force had with administrators and students were productive and established long-term working relationships that we believe will serve students in the future.
They have actively begun to address some of our concerns, which is highly appreciated. However, the CU Administration has to do more to minimize the identified negative impacts of the temporary police state our campus turns into every April.
This year, the 4/20 Task Force, under the directive of CUSG, hosted a pilot “Cannabis Symposium” where panels of industry and academic professionals discussed the rhetoric, culture, health, and economics of the cannabis culture salient to our generation and uniquely tethered to the state of Colorado.
We look forward to continuing work with students and administrators to develop a long-term, sustainable solution for 4/20 that actively includes more students in future 4/20 campus policies. Our hope is that this permanent solution will keep campus open, remove ID requirements, and foster open dialogue about drug policy and related issues within our community.
For questions, contact Lauren Cross, CUSG director of communications, Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org, (719) 930-0610.