In a surprising and aggressive move last week, CU campus officials decided to close the entire college campus to visitors Friday in hopes to put an end to the popular annual gathering. In addition, officials also decided to completely close its Norlin Quad where the smoke-out is usually held each year.
The now famous Quadrangle will be off limits Friday to everyone, including students.
Students, faculty members and staff will still be permitted on the majority of the campus, although officials say “unauthorized non-affiliates” will not be allowed access to the grounds.
University Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano told the press
: “The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus. Adding, “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. It needs to end.”
The annual pot-fest has drawn up to 15,000 people to the university in recent years enthusiastically partaking in the festivities and as Robert Lodding of Chicago put it at last year's event:
"I am smoking weed like it's oxygen."
According to campus officials the ever-growing event costs the university more than $50,000 each year to cleanup and secure the grounds
The university's decision was backed-up Tuesday night when Boulder City Council adopted a resolution to support the closure of campus grounds, although, a few council members voiced some concern.
Councilwoman Suzanne Jones told The Daily Camera
, "Heavy-handed measures like closing the campus and issuing trespass tickets seem like a cure that might be worse than the disease." Jones ultimately voted for the resolution making the final tally 7-2 in favor to adopt.
The American Civil Liberties Union also voiced an opinion about the university's move to close the campus. ACLU Colorado legal director Mark Silverstein called the move
"wrongheaded" and a "misguided effort to thwart students' right of association and right to free expression." So far no word on if the organization has plans to challenge the school's action in court.
CU warns that those who choose to ignore the school's decision and sneak on to campus without the proper ID will be cited for trespassing and may face punishment of up to six months in jail and a $750 fine.