And it shuts down the entire campus.
To: UC Santa Cruz Community
From: Nader Oweis, UC Santa Cruz Chief of Police
Re: Public Safety Alert for April 20
This notification is being provided to advise members of the campus community, others with valid reasons for visiting the UC Santa Cruz campus, and campus neighbors of the potential for disruptions and hazards associated with an unsanctioned gathering known as “4-20” during the afternoon of Sunday, April 20. The nature of the annual gathering may involve a large number of individuals in or near the Porter Meadow smoking marijuana, and the greatest impact is expected between 3 and 6 PM.
Obviously, a large-scale event based on the consumption of marijuana has the potential to impact campus safety. The fact that this event attracts many unaffiliated people to our campus adds to my concerns.
Among the unaffiliated people that UC Santa Cruz officers contacted at this event in 2013 were parents with young children, vendors operating without a permit, and people interested in selling marijuana and other illegal drugs on campus. In the past, our officers even identified a registered sex offender among those present, as well as a runaway juvenile from out of state.
The UC Santa Cruz Police Department and local law enforcement will be present again this year, with a priority of addressing public safety needs and providing emergency response. Police officers will conduct enhanced patrols throughout the day, looking for individuals in possession of and/or using marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs and drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Police will also enforce laws and policies prohibiting unpermitted vending of any merchandise, food, or medical marijuana on the campus. Last year, several individuals received medical attention after consuming cookies and brownies laced with an unknown substance; two had to be hospitalized.
We are also concerned about fire danger. With the current drought and moderate weather conditions we are experiencing on our campus and throughout the state, please be aware that those smoking marijuana or using flammable substances put us in danger. In fact, California Fire Code section 310.8 strictly prohibits this type of gathering, where the ignition or use of smoking materials is utilized within the wild land and forest areas. Extreme caution must be exercised to avoid a devastating wild land fire and possible injuries to those who may be present.
Please respect the rights of others. This unsanctioned event significantly burdens the operations of the campus. It threatens the health and safety of the community, imposes unnecessary expenses, and taints the reputation of UC Santa Cruz for its students, staff and faculty.
As we get closer to April 20, I want to share additional information that may be helpful to campus safety that afternoon:
• Please remember that all members and guests of the UC Santa Cruz community are expected to comply with University policy and federal and state laws. At a minimum, those smoking or in possession of marijuana may receive a citation resulting in a $100 fine.
• Individuals identified as being affiliated with the University (students, staff) who are found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in possession of drugs or alcohol, or participating in activities that are either illegal or in violation of University policy or regulations will be subject to disciplinary sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct or appropriate Human Resources process.
• Because of this expected activity, you should anticipate possible disruptions to traffic due to large groups of people, especially on the west side of campus, and plan accordingly. Campus and Metro bus service will be limited.
• Campus parking regulations will be strictly enforced. Sections of Empire Grade will be designated as a tow-away zone, and vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owners’ expense.
• Traffic and transit flow may be highly impacted throughout the campus, especially along Empire Grade, and on Heller Drive from the West Entrance to McLaughlin Drive. Traffic diversion measures may be instituted if needed to alleviate impacted areas. If driving a vehicle, be alert for increased pedestrian traffic on all roadways.
• Because this activity attracts people who are unaffiliated with the campus, please make an extra effort to be aware of suspicious activity — and please don’t hesitate to immediately alert the UC Santa Cruz Police Department to such activity. If you are ever in doubt, it is always better to ask authorities to investigate, rather than risking potential harm to you or someone else. Please call 911 or 831-459-2231.
• Those who live and work in the areas around Family Student Housing, Porter College, and College Eight are advised that smoke may remain in the area throughout the late afternoon. Those with children, respiratory problems, or other medical conditions should use precautions.
• In addition, on April 20, there are several sanctioned events taking place, including the Healthy High Festival at OPERS from 2pm-6pm. This event is designed to provide healthy physical activities including a 5k run, a fun run for children, Easter activities, and other sporting activities. Officers will be present to assist organizers of the event.
Please support us in the effort to protect the campus community. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
Nader Oweis, Chief of Police
University of California, Santa Cruz Police Department