Pubdate: Fri, 20 Apr 2012
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2012 The Daily Camera.
Author: Erica Meltzer


University Enacts Closure After Legal Challenge Fails

There's a visible police presence at the University of Colorado this 
morning as administrators roll out their well-publicized attempt to 
snuff out the annual 4/20 smoke-out, but, so far, students and 
employees seem to be coming and going without ID checks.

Several students -- and one unauthorized visitor -- told the Camera 
that they walked onto campus, sometimes past police checkpoints, this 
morning without being asked for ID, as CU officials had said would be 
the case today.

CU officials were, however, checking IDs at Williams Village as 
students boarded buses at the off-campus dorm. Freshman Callie Ahrens 
said the process slowed down the trip, particularly since the student 
buses are being diverted from their usual route into the heart of campus.

"It's really over dramatic," Ahrens said. "It's drastic. It punishes 
ordinary students who wouldn't participate in the event anyway."

Clifford Brice, a second-year senior, said he walked past the police 
staging area near Colorado Avenue and Regent Drive and wasn't stopped 
by police.

"It looks like they're gearing up for 'Jurassic Park' out there," 
Brice said. "For what they're trying to do, it's probably necessary. 
The question is, 'Is it worth it?' I think it's overkill."

Shortly before 9:30 a.m., police could be seen setting up checkpoints 
at Folsom Street and Colorado, as well as well as near Broadway and 
University Avenue. Officials also are preparing to rope off the 
Norlin Quad, which is being closed to everybody today.

Just after 6 a.m., the campus itself was mostly quiet aside from 
police and media; CU officials say they've credential more than 150 
journalists to cover today's unprecedented campus closure, which will 
stand after Thursday's legal challenge failed.

Around 6:30 a.m., campus workers began applying fish-based fertilizer 
to Norlin Quad as a deterrent to would-be gatherers -- and it's 
already working. One student who was about to cross the quad stopped 
in her tracks, saying, "Oh, that smells disgusting. Never mind." She 
turned and walked in the other direction.

CU officials say they're ready for whatever might happen today.

"It's difficult to know what to expect," Boulder campus spokesman 
Bronson Hilliard said this morning. "We're prepared for a lot of 
different scenarios. What we're hoping for is a peaceful afternoon."

CU plans to have officers at every major pedestrian and vehicle 
entrance to the university checking IDs. Students and employees will 
be granted access, but anyone without Buff OneCards will be 
"cordially" told the campus is closed, according to CU police 
spokesman Ryan Huff.

"People should know by now that the campus is closed," Huff said.

Throughout the day, officers will patrol campus, conducting spot 
checks to make sure those on campus are students, employees or 
pre-approved visitors. Police stressed, though, that they will not be 

"We hope it's very peaceful," Huff said. "Officers will be very 
cordial. But they will be enforcing the closure."

CU officials have not fenced off Norlin Quad, which has been the site 
of the smoke-out for the last few years. The large grassy field had a 
patrol car parked at each corner early this morning, but by a little 
after 7 a.m., they were gone. There are signs warning that the area 
is closed and "violators are subject to criminal prosecution."

Hilliard said CU puts down the fish-based fertilizer around this time 
every year, but today's application is no coincidence.

"Everything that we're doing today is to make it unpleasant to stand 
or sit or be on Norlin Quad," he said. "As you can see, it's very 
odiferous. It does not smell nice at all."

There are also large highways signs greeting commuters as they enter 
Boulder, warning that CU is closed to visitors today.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom