Another 4/20, another campus closure

Police officers stand guard on an empty Norlin Quad at 4:22 p.m., April 20, 2013, in Boulder, Colo. (Kai Casey/CU Independent File)
Police officers stand guard on an empty Norlin Quad at 4:22 p.m., April 20, 2013, in Boulder. (Kai Casey/CU Independent File)

Campus will once again be closed to non-affiliated CU visitors on April 20 in a recurring effort by the university’s administration to curb the infamous “smoke-out” of past years.

“It will be similar to last year,” said Ryan Huff, CU Boulder’s spokesman, of protocols regarding the planned campus closure.

In years past, Norlin Quad served as the unofficial meeting place for thousands of marijuana enthusiasts. Of those in attendance, some, including many non-students, protested federal and state drug laws while others used the opportunity to casually smoke on campus, creating an atmosphere many school officials wish to put in the past.

“There will be police officers stationed on campus, asking people to show their IDs,” Huff said.

But the hours of closure will be shorter this year. Rather than closing at 8 a.m., campus will remain open until noon and stay closed until 6 p.m. Norlin Quad specifically will be closed to everyone during these hours.

Huff said school officials realized there wasn’t substantial traffic before noon the past two years and, with Easter falling on the same day, students and visitors will need easier access to campus during those hours.

Another step the school’s administration will take to accommodate students with Easter plans is to designate a parking lot for student pick-up just north of the Regent Street parking garages. There, parents and relatives will not have to worry about showing the proper identification or being turned away.

This idea was proposed by CU’s student government, which also hopes to see some changes in the way the university prepares for 4/20.

“CUSG agrees that the 4/20 event is disruptive and no longer has a place at CU,” said Lauren Cross, director of communications for CUSG. At one time it did, she said, but now that marijuana has been legalized, the gathering would be inappropriate. However, Cross said CUSG believes strict regulations on campus would be too much.

“We don’t feel it is appropriate to turn [the campus] into a police state in order to mitigate some of the undesired side effects of having the 4/20 event,” Cross said.

CUSG and the administration are working together to find some common ground. Last week, a cannabis symposium made an effort to educate students about the effects of marijuana. The event focused on the effects of marijuana on driving and intelligence.

“Academic discussions like that are welcome on our campus,” said Huff, who attended the symposium. “What we have not supported are gatherings of 10,000 plus people without a permit.”

Huff said he finds this atmosphere not conducive to CU’s “active mission,” but hopes one day the closure of campus and a need for a police presence will fade away.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kevin Joyce at

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