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“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I alone know that I am morally responsible for everything I do.” — Robert A. Heinlein
Rules of the latter variety, obnoxious, were recently announced by CU Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano regarding the upcoming 4/20 festivities. CU’s campus will be strictly closed to anyone but students and faculty, all of whom will be required to carry their BuffOne cards or else they may be ticketed for trespassing.
Yes, you may be charged for trespassing upon your own dorm! However, the real crime is for CU to trespass upon its own students’ liberties as they plan to do.
Police checkpoints will be located at all entrances to campus and nearby roads and highways will be heavily patrolled, which is reminiscent more of a totalitarian dictatorship state than an institution of higher learning.
Chancellor DiStefano said that “The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of campus” and “The size of the crowd has become unmanageable, and limits our faculty, staff and students from getting to class, entering buildings and doing their basic work.”
As a student with no intention of participating in 4/20, I think that the school’s excessive policing will create more impediments on getting to and from classes than the 4/20 festivities themselves. A slight detour around Norlin Quad will have little if any affect, but turning every campus entrance into a police checkpoint will certainly affect off-campus students. Not to mention, the fear of forgetting one’s BuffOne card resulting in being fined by an overzealous police officer.
Although the planned policing is clearly excessive, the decision to host a Wyclef Jean concert in the Coors Event Center is a much more reasonable idea. It won’t do much to curb marijuana consumption but it will most likely keep a considerable number of students off Norlin Quad, easing some of the congestion issues that the University is worrying about. If CU feels it must do something, incentivizing students to go elsewhere by offering a fun alternative is much more acceptable than using police force to prevent 4/20 from happening altogether.
It’s clear that the CU leadership believes that the 4/20 festivities tarnish the University’s reputation and inhibit future job opportunities for students. However, if they were to truly issue trespassing tickets — especially to those students who merely forgot their BuffOneCard — the cirminal charges will also inhibit job prospects.
But, that doesn’t seem to be a concern for them. Treating 4/20 revelers as criminals seems to be the University’s modus operandi this year, which is sad considering the peaceful nature of the event.
An occasional dose of civil disobedience is healthy for any community, Boulder included. 4/20 has presented few problems in the past and has unfailingly brought great fun and joy to our campus as well as business and profit to the community.
As someone who will not participate, 4/20 neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I enjoy seeing people having fun and advocating a good cause on campus, and when it comes to the number of smokers, the more the merrier.
Although the University may have cause to be concerned about large crowds, their plans to prevent them are highly upsetting. Shutting down campus and turning it into a miniature police state for a day is unacceptable.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Writer Mark Lamb at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.