Published: May 11, 2021

Students who receive University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD) tickets for lower-level offenses or first-time infractions have traditionally faced a potentially long road to get past their mistakes. But that will soon change thanks to a new program the department will roll out in May. 

A CU Police Department vehicle on CU Boulder's campus.

A CU Police Department vehicle on CU Boulder's campus. (Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)

Compared to a traditional criminal summons––which could tie up students in both the city of Boulder Municipal Court and the CU Boulder student conduct process––new administrative citations will make it easier for students to make amends, save them a trip to court and save them money.

“Late in 2019, we started looking into this type of program, similar to what CSU has been doing for many years,” said CU Boulder Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst. “We’re looking forward to incorporating this into our approach to public safety.” 

CUPD officers and residential service officials (RSOs) will be able to hand out the administrative citations starting May 17. Infractions that could receive the new administrative citation can include minor in possession of drugs or alcohol, fake identification, unlawful conduct on public property, consumption of alcohol in public and other nonviolent or first-time offenses. Some minor traffic offenses will be included as well.

After receiving an administrative citation, students will be referred to the CU Boulder Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (SCCR) for completion of a student conduct process, including possible participation in restorative justice programs or substance abuse programs. Students who complete the CU Boulder student conduct process have a good chance of staying out of trouble in the future, according to Holly Nelson, director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. 

“Our data shows that students who participate in a student conduct educational program or restorative justice program have lower recidivism rates than traditional disciplinary programs,” Nelson said.

The new citation program also has community law enforcement support.

“This program is a positive, progressive move for CU Boulder,” said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty. “It will lessen the criminal justice footprint in the lives of students while still allowing CUPD to keep this beautiful campus safe for everyone. I applaud Chief Jokerst and CU Boulder for this innovative and important reform.” 

A key component, Jokerst said, is the citations will allow the department to utilize a less punitive and more educational approach to address first-time offenses of minor crimes that occur on campus.

“I am a firm believer that education is a strong deterrent to repeated criminal offenses, and this program does that without involving the court system,” Jokerst said.

Instead of a potentially hefty fine, the fines for the new administrative citations will be half of what a criminal citation would carry.

The money from the fines will go toward supporting campus safety.

“CUPD will not keep any of the funds that are collected,” Jokerst said. “That money will be dedicated to programs and initiatives which will make our campus community a safer place to study, work and live.”

The fines will be directed toward restorative justice and transformative justice programs through SCCR, health and wellness initiatives, as well as bicycle and pedestrian safety around campus.

Read more about administrative citations here