The University of Colorado Set to Trample All Kinds of Rights Tomorrow

April 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM Leave a comment

UPDTATED @9:04 ETBoulder judge denies request to block CU from closing campus on 4/20.


The University of Colorado at Boulder (a public university paid for by Our Tax Dollars) is literally going to be on lock-down tomorrow to try to keep its annual “4/20” celebration from happening.  The “4/20” event is a marijuana smoke feast held for years on April 20 that last year drew 10,000 people.  Check out the purple haze hanging over the crowd at last year’s “4/20:”

(Image via Colleen Whitfield)

Thin skinned CU administrators hate the smokeout because they say it’s “ruining” CU’s reputation so the public space that is the university campus will be shut down tomorrow in an effort to put an end to it once and for all.  Actually, much of the city of Boulder will be affected.  This is how CU police spokesman Ryan Huff described what’s going to happen:

“We’re going to have electronic message boards at all major thoroughfares that lead into campus, so people will have plenty of warning that the campus is closed to visitors on Friday. And we’ll have officers at all the major entrances to the campus — both pedestrian and vehicle entrances. They’ll be checking IDs and educating people about the closure, and if people don’t have IDs, they’ll be asked to turn around. They won’t be ticketed at the edge just because they approach the campus, but if those people who don’t have IDs do not leave, that’s when they could face a ticket for trespassing.”

I read somewhere too that the grounds people are going to spread stinky fish emulsion fertilizer on the lawn of the Norlin quad (the area in the photo above) so people won’t want to hang out here.

The CU campus is essentially in the middle of town.  I live in South Boulder and on Friday morning I volunteer at a food bank in North Boulder and I snake through campus on my way.  I called the CUPD earlier today and asked if I would be able to take my usual route tomorrow and they “strongly suggest” I not, even though I pay taxes that fund and maintain the university.  Again, it’s a public space.

In what seems to me to be a bone the administration is tossing to the kids who might otherwise attend the smokeout, Wyclef Jean will headline a free, students-only concert tomorrow night at the largest event venue on campus, the Coors Events Center.  (Yes, paid for by the radically conservative, ALEC-member Coors family.)  But there’s a catch:

The contract between the University of Colorado and Wyclef Jean — the former Fugees member who is headlining a free, students-only concert at the Coors Event Center on Friday — prohibits the performer from mentioning marijuana or 4/20 during the show.

The agreement, dated March 1 and released today by CU’s student government, directs Jean to avoid “making direct references to marijuana and other illegal drugs or make 4/20 related remarks as this is a university sponsored event.”

Exactly.  This is a university in the United States of America for God’s sake.  A university is leading the way in restricting the movement of the public onto land and into spaces the public owns, and a university — a public university! — is restricting what a person can and cannot say.  I thought universities were all about freedoms and the exchange of ideas.

What is happening to our country people?!

Oops…I just saw this headline:  Hearing set for 3 p.m. in lawsuit to block CU-Boulder from closing campus on 4/20:

A Denver attorney active in marijuana issues this morning filed a request in Boulder District Court for an injunction to stop the University of Colorado from closing the Boulder campus to visitors on Friday in its efforts to prevent the annual 4/20 smokeout from occurring there.

A hearing has been scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Boulder County Justice Center in front of Judge Andrew Macdonald.

They are represented by Robert Corry, a Denver attorney who has been a prominent voice for marijuana legalization and the rights of medical marijuana patients.

“First and foremost, I’m not aware of any case where a public university has shut down its entire campus for a peaceful protest that takes place on 2 acres of that campus,” Corry said in an interview. “It’s an extreme overreaction to this protest. Second of all, it’s important that this protest continue. It is a peaceful protest on an important issue of the day.”


“Not all learning takes place in the classroom,” he said. “Squelching the marketplace of ideas hurts the university. This is far more important than marijuana.”


Corry notes that he can find “no reported cases from any jurisdiction permitting such a closure.”

Even during the “darkest, most violent days” of the Vietnam War era, campuses weren’t closed, Corry said, though the National Guard was deployed at many public universities.

I will update this post when I know more.


Entry filed under: Musings.

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