Jeremy Papasso / Colorado Daily
Jeremy Papasso / Colorado Daily
Good to know
Eight things you need to know about Amendment 64: colorado.edu/node/1915971
Office of Student Conduct: Regent Administrative Center Room 206, 303-492-5550, colorado.edu/studentaffairs/studentconduct/
CU Police Department: 1050 Regent Drive
Non-emergency phone number: 303-492-6666
Boulder Municipal Court guide to MIP:
Behave yourselves, Buffs!
The CU Code of Student Conduct follows you for your entire time as a student “whether you are on campus, off campus or even out of state,” CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. “So if you go on spring break in Florida and get in a fight on the beach, you can be held accountable for that here.”
Contrary to its “party school” reputation, CU-Boulder takes substance abuse issues very seriously. Students caught violating campus policies and city, state and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol can face very real consequences from the university and beyond.
“Anyone coming to CU thinking it’s a great party school better rethink the proposition,” said CU spokesperson Bronson Hilliard. “We expect a standard of self-control and self-discipline, whether a student is 18 or 22.”
Hilliard said that throughout orientation, CU stresses to new students and parents that there can be consequences to use of drugs and alcohol.
“We urge them to make intelligent choices,” Hilliard said. “We urge them to understand very keenly their personal limits of consumption, and we go over the penalties that can accrue if they violate the rules.”
Marijuana and alcohol are both illegal for people under 21, with the except of people who hold medical marijuana cards, and people under 21 caught with either substance can get a Minor in Possession ticket from either university or city police.
Marijuana: Know the law
Colorado’s Amendment 64, passed in 2012, legalized marijuana possession and use, but marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Amendment 64 permits people 21 and over to “cultivate, consume and possess limited amounts of marijuana” privately, according to an FAQ released by University Communications. Amendment 64 still prohibits all public consumption of marijuana.
Despite these changes to state law, CU must abide by federal law, which classifies pot as an illegal substance. Thus, the university forbids marijuana possession and use on campus, regardless of age.
“Marijuana is not legal on the CU campus under the [federal] Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act,” Hilliard said, adding that institutions receiving federal funds are required to knowingly fight illegal drugs.
Though students 21 and older will no longer receive a criminal citation or have to appear before a Colorado court if caught possessing less than an ounce of marijuana on campus, they could still face Office of Student Conduct discipline.
Students facing a violation of the Student Code of Conduct will receive a hearing wherein a university conduct officer reviews the facts and decides whether the student should be held responsible. Unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal courts, Student Conduct proceedings use a less-stringent burden of proof.
“The majority of the evidence must indicate the student is responsible” for the actions of which he/she is accused, Hilliard said. “Each case is decided on its unique merits, and students can face very harsh penalties,” he said, including suspension and expulsion.
In addition to Student Conduct proceedings, people under 21 can face consequences from the courts for marijuana violations. A ticket for possession of marijuana, the most common drug-related citation at CU, is a petty offense. Underage students can receive a fine of up to $99.
“There are still misperceptions on Amendment 64,” said CU spokesman Ryan Huff. “If you’re under the age of 21, nothing has changed about marijuana use.”
Alcohol: Know the law
Minor in possession (MIP) is the most common alcohol-related citation issued at CU. Students under 21 can be cited for MIP if caught “holding a drink or [an officer finds] they have been drinking,” Huff said.
Along with an Office of Student Conduct referral, students who receive an MIP will have to appear before the Boulder Municipal Court. For a first offense, students can expect to pay a $50 court fee and attend alcohol classes at their own expense.
“As you get more MIPs, the consequences from a criminal standpoint get worse,” Huff said. “Students’ education and careers won’t be ruined by one mistake, but consistent behavior can cause consequences in the courts, at school and in your career.”
What to do when approached by police
“Cooperate, tell the truth, don’t run,” Huff said. “[Good behavior] doesn’t mean you’ll get out of a citation, but being truthful and cordial can go a long way when dealing with police.”
Despite policies and laws combating substance use, CU still wants students to seek help if a party situation goes south. Due to a Good Samaritan provision in the Code of Conduct, underage students trying to help a friend suffering the ill effects of alcohol won’t be subject to university disciplinary proceedings.
“Our number one priority is keeping everyone safe,” Huff said. “Regardless of who’s intoxicated and their ages, we want students to call 911.”