For the past 10 years or so, on April 20, students, faculty, and members of the CU-Boulder community have participated in a social gathering located on the CU campus in Norlin Quad. “4/20,” as it is referred to across the United States, and even in other countries, is a day designated for marijuana users to gather and, in some areas, protest the laws against usage.
Just this past November, Colorado voted and passed Amendment 64, allowing legal recreational use and possession of limited amounts of marijuana for people age 21 or older. Alcohol is served to students, faculty and fans at sports games. As a student attending CU, it’s difficult to see alcohol being served at sports games many times a year while university officials are establishing the end of a peaceful gathering of usage on the Quad.
Starting just this last year, CU officials agreed to shut down the campus on this day and place law enforcement around every corner of campus. Not only did they bring in law enforcement, but the administration closed off Norlin Quad and applied fishy, smelly fertilizer to drive students away from this area.
CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard spoke out, saying that the event is a negative reflection on a campus that has been recognized by the White House for producing civically engaged students. “A party school is not a reputation we want to try to cultivate,” Hilliard told the Boulder Daily Camera. The administration looks at this as a party, but students from CU have voted otherwise. In a study conducted by CU Community and Culture on 4/20 and undergraduate participation, 75 percent of students claimed April 20 as either a “recreational gathering” or a “cultural happening.”
As a freshman at CU who never experienced the social gathering on April 20 on the Quad, I can say that my decision to attend CU (along with others with whom I am closely associated) was not based on this event. To have police enforcement standing prominently at almost every corner of campus is a nuisance that is atypical and takes away from daily student life. According to the First Amendment, people have the right of peaceful protest on public property. Why should our rights be taken away? Not once has there been a violent outbreak at this event. Long live tradition, as CU plans to continue its long-term goal of closure on campus for April 20.