04/18/2012 01:51 pm ET Updated Apr 19, 2012

CU-Boulder 420 Shut Down: City Council, ACLU Voice Concern Over Campus Closure

Last week, the University of Colorado Boulder announced that on April 20 it will close the entire campus to all visitors as part of an effort to stop the popular 4/20 marijuana smoke out in Norlin Quad, in what is the most aggressive move to date by campus officials to end the gathering.

And on Tuesday night, Boulder City Council adopted a resolution in support of CU-Boulder's efforts to squash the smoke out, but some council members voiced concern that the shut down could do more harm than good.

Councilwoman Suzanne Jones, who voted for the resolution, 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."

The Denver Post would seemingly agree with Jones, the paper published a persuasive and very critical editorial piece of the University of Colorado's extreme measures to thwart the marijuana event stating the paper does not support CU's decision and that the school may be "inviting a fight."

Mark Silverstein, legal director for the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, echoed the sentiments of Jones as well telling The Denver Post that closing the campus is "wrongheaded" and was a "misguided effort to thwart students' right of association and right to free expression." The ACLU has not said if they plan on challenging CU's action in court.

Read the entire editorial from The Denver Post here.

In a letter to The Denver Post, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano disagrees emphatically. He states that this event is not a protest or demonstration and goes on to skewer it saying, "If it is a protest, then every party on every college campus in America is a protest."


DiStefano made this statement last week about the reasons for employing such extreme measures to end the gathering via the school's website:

The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus. 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.

Read DiStefano's entire letter to The Denver Post here.

CU has said that the event which has grown quite large in recent years, costs more than $50,000 for cleanup and security, Fox31 reports.

Chancellor DiStefano has the support of the CU-Boulder student government who is endorsing this move to crackdown on the 4/20 festivities. Student leaders have organized a free April 20 concert on campus by hip hop artist Wyclef Jean at the Coors Event Center as an alternative to the campus smoke out. For more information on the free concert, visit the Program Council's website.

However, a free Wyclef Jean concert as an alternative to a marijuana smoke out may not be the best call. Jean, who said in 2006 that President Bush needs to "smoke more marijuana," told The Daily Camera that his concert is not anti-marijuana or anti-420 at all. Speaking about the 4/20 marijuana celebration, Jean said, "For me that's an every day holiday."

Classes will continue as scheduled on April 20 and the campus will remain open to all CU-Boulder students, faculty and staff, but they will need their BuffOne ID cards to get on, and around, the campus, a press release from CU-Boulder states.

Police will be dispersed around campus and will have checkpoints set up at all major campus entry points. Anyone who is not a student, staff or faculty member will not be permitted on campus and individuals found on campus without a BuffOne ID will be subject to a ticket for trespassing.

Norlin Quad, where the 4/20 smoke out is usually held, will be closed to all people--not just visitors--on April 20, and in order to make it clear that no one is welcome on the Norlin lawn, a fish-based fertilizer will be dispersed over the quad that day, The Denver Post reports.

WATCH CU-Boulder's 4/20 gathering from 2010 in time-lapse above, more photos and videos below



CU-Boulder 4/20 Smoke-Out