CUSG 4/20 forum produces heated debates

Next year, CU students heading to Norlin Quad on April 20 may be surprised to find it a little emptier than expected.

Police officers watch as the 4/20 crowd begins to leave Norlin Quad in 2011. CU spokesperson Bronson Hilliard said, "The goal is not to remove 4/20 by force" in the future. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)

On Wednesday night, the University of Colorado Student Government hosted a forum on the 4/20 celebration, in order to debate the passing of legislation that could move the event off campus. CU administrators and CUSG executives presided over the forum, which was held in an auditorium in the Visual Arts Complex.

The auditorium was nearly full, and students lined the walls to ask questions and voice their opinions on a wide variety of issues surrounding the event. There were anecdotes of students being forced to miss class due to the crowd on Norlin Quad, questions about whether force would be used to keep people away from the Quad, concerns about the reputation of the school if the event were to continue, and even an accusation from an audience member that those who support moving the event were “a bunch of rich, trust-fund assholes.”

While the specific language of the legislation has not been revealed, it will aim to remove the thousands of people from CU’s campus.

Brendan Martello, an 18-year-old freshman majoring in geology, said that he was unsure of how effective moving the event would be.

“So many people were saying that they hate having the image of being a ‘weed-smoker from Boulder’,” Martello said. “But people talk about Boulder as a party school in general, they don’t just talk about 4/20. I think it could be a good idea to try to move it, but doing that isn’t going to change the reputation of the school. And I don’t think it will work anyway, people are still going to come.”

Martello also said that he worried about the possibility of a violent reaction if police officers would not allow students onto the quad.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they started beating kids down,” Martello said.

Rainee Taylor, a 20-year-old environmental studies major and second year resident advisor (RA) at Williams Village North, attended the forum in order to represent the residential life perspective.

“It’s definitely something I really support, at least theoretically,” Taylor said, in reference to moving the event. “I think that 4/20 does degrade what it means to have a CU degree. As an RA, if I know something illegal is happening, I have to do something about or I will lose my job, so it would be nice if they could get a good plan together to move it.”

Brooks Kanski, Vice President of External Affairs for CUSG, said that he was pleased with the way the forum went.

“The forum was a great start to a long process,” Kanski said. “We were very pleased with the turnout and I guess in my mind this is a start to a much larger campaign that we want to launch across the student body. We really want to engage the students and learn how we can address this and fix it for the future.”

Kanski said that the main goal of the CUSG at this point is to have the 4/20 event removed from campus entirely.

“We want the students to see that we are taking a stance and action on this,” Kanski said. “We hope that this forum made enough of an impression on the student body that they will know what to expect from us in the future.”

CU spokesperson Bronson Hilliard said that he applauded the CUSG for taking a stance on the issue, and that he did not expect any violence to occur.

“We have a long tradition here of good relations between the police and the student body,” Hilliard said. “We don’t have the culture of law enforcement here that would support violent actions against the students. That’s not what we’re trying to achieve.”

“The goal is not to remove 4/20 by force. The goal is to achieve creative solutions to get the people that participate to go do it somewhere else.”

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Hadley Vandiver at


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