4/20 at CU-Boulder: Is it dead yet?

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In Hilliard's view, it would have been fiscally irresponsible "to have continued to have let the crowd get bigger and bigger on the campus grounds, to risk a lawsuit from an injury that could have been in the millions, to continue to spend what we were spending to accommodate that crowd, which was in the $50,000 to $60,000 range and would probably have grown as the crowd grew."

In addition, he goes on, the money for the closure "comes from insurance rebates to the campus, so no one's tuition goes up as a result of it. It's in the campus safety budget, and it would have been reinvested in the safety mission of the campus anyway; it's not money we would spend on academics. And strictly speaking, if we have to spend that kind of money in the future -- if it's deemed necessary -- we're able to do it if it means the event stays off-campus for some time to come. So there are lots of things to think about as we move into next year. And I don't have a sense of what direction we'll go in."

Did the gunshot wounds suffered by three attendees of the Denver rally offer more reasons why CU needs to take whatever measures it can to make sure the 4/20 event never returns to campus? After expressing sympathy for the victims of the shooting, Hilliard notes that the university has long said "a crowd of ten-to-twelve thousand people in a confined space is not conducive to safety, and all kinds of things can happen -- and that was certainly demonstrated in Denver. When you get a large, mixed crowd like that, the assumption that everyone who is there has good intentions is just that -- an assumption.

"We've been more concerned about someone being hit by a car crossing Broadway, or someone falling out of a tree, or someone stoned or drunk slipping and falling down some stairs. But within any population of people, there are some bad eggs, and given the right set of circumstances, bad things can happen. And it's very, very unfortunate that they happened in Denver."

In contrast, CU-Boulder made news on Saturday for making no news at all.

Continue to see images of 4/20 at CU-Boulder last year by photographer Britt Chester.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts