Last month, we told you about CU student government leaders calling for the 4/20 celebration to be moved off-campus. Now, a new survey of CU students shows that the vast majority of them didn't "partake," according to vice president of internal affairs Carly Robinson -- and she feels that result, plus the incorrect perception that the bash is backed by the university, underscores why it needs a new location.
The survey, which was conducted by CU and first made available to the Boulder Daily Camera, was sent to students after this year's bash, around the time when officials like CU regent Michael Carrigan were calling for it to be relocated due to high security costs and low participation among those actually enrolled at the university. Of the 3,478 undergrads who responded, 24 percent admitted that they'd either smoked weed or consumed a marijuana edible at 4/20. Another 11 percent observed the bacchanal but didn't actually use pot, while 48 percent said they avoided taking part, period. And while 65 percent said the spectacle didn't affect their classes, as opposed to 9 percent who skipped classes because of it, 28 percent complained about it making crossing the campus tough. And precisely half thought CU sponsored the happening, even though university officials have been denigrating it for years.
Note, for example, the lack of enthusiasm in this item about CU placing fourth on the Princeton Review's latest "reefer madness" list, which topped by another local school, Colorado College.
Robinson's take? "We're not sure we can completely extrapolate the results to the whole student body, since grad students weren't part of the survey," she notes. "And it may be that students who are more interested in the event may have taken the survey over students who aren't interested in it. But it seems that students hear about it when they get to campus in their first year, and they're interested to see what it's all about, even though they may not necessarily partake. But I think academics become a little more time-consuming as you get further into your studies, and that probably becomes more of a priority than this event."
The way Robinson does the math, the 65 percent of respondents who said 4/20 didn't impact their studies means 35 percent feel it did -- and she thinks the latter total may actually be lower than it should be.
"I worked in a building that's right off the field where it takes place," she points out, "and it is incredibly difficult to work on that day. This past year, because the smoke and the smell is really overwhelming in the surrounding area, I chose to work from home during that time period. So it's hard being on campus and trying to work, and it can be difficult to get on campus or leave -- like at the end of the work day, when you're trying to go home at five o'clock. And I know a lot of grad students in the building had a really difficult time, too."
Overall, Robinson sees the survey as confirming suspicions about the large percentages of 4/20 revelers who come to the campus from outside the CU campus on the big day. And she's very concerned that half the students thinks the university is a 4/20 sponsor. "We really want to work on communicating with students about that," she says.
That's not all, of course. Robinson and fellow CU student government leaders Brooks Kanski and Andrew Yoder are planning to meet with university officials in the next few weeks to brainstorm how to move 4/20 to another location in Boulder. "I know the university administration has a lot of ideas about how we could approach this," she says, "and we're going to give some of our suggestions. So we'll start to work on that very soon -- probably as soon as school starts back."
Look below and page down to see photos of this year's 4/20 event at CU.
More from our Marijuana archive: "4/20 in Boulder preview: 'An orgasm of cannabis consumption.'"
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