By UC Santa Cruz Chief of Police Nader Oweis
Members of the UC Santa Cruz community and campus neighbors, please be advised there is the potential for traffic disruptions and hazards during the afternoon of Thursday, April 20 because of the unsanctioned gathering known as “4-20”. The greatest impact is expected from 3–6 p.m.
As the chief of police, my primary responsibility is the health and safety of our community. Similar to 2016, we will have an increased law enforcement presence with additional UC police officers, as well as allied law enforcement agencies throughout the campus conducting enforcement activities. These officers will conduct enhanced patrols throughout the day, looking for individuals in violation of the law, including the possession of and/or using marijuana and alcohol or other drugs; drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; and will enforce unpermitted vending of any merchandise, food, services, or medical marijuana on the campus. Campus parking regulations will also be strictly enforced.
In addition to these enforcement efforts, the Santa Cruz Area CHP will be conducting a DUI checkpoint near the west side of campus, aggressively seeking those who choose to drive under the influence. It is our goal to use this enforcement tool to assist with the reduction of injury and fatal collisions caused by impaired drivers. Last year there were three arrests for driving under the influence as a result of the checkpoint. Recently, we have made several DUI arrests, including an injury accident near Family Student Housing in the early morning hours of Friday, April 14.
Please plan accordingly and anticipate possible disruptions to traffic due to the large groups of people that may be present, especially on the west side of campus. Campus and Metro bus service may be delayed. 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, as well as the signage indicating the presence of the DUI checkpoint.
Last year, in addition to the DUI arrests, two others, on their way to the meadow, were arrested for felony possession of a loaded firearm and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell. We also made arrests for felony possession of a knife and club, battery on an officer, drunk in public, resisting arrests, and issued numerous citations. Many of the individuals arrested or cited for illegal activity were not campus affiliates, and had no concern for the safety of our students.
There are potentially serious consequences of choosing to attend. We ask that individuals consider the risks and possible criminal penalties. Individuals affiliated with the campus are also subject to sanctions by the Student Conduct Office or Human Resources.
As we continue to talk about the impacts of drugs and alcohol on this campus, and to the greater Santa Cruz community, it is also important to know the facts around Proposition 64 as it pertains to the recreational use of marijuana at UC Santa Cruz. You should know that:
- Possession and/or use of marijuana in any form (edibles, plant, concentrated, vaporized, etc.) on the campus, or any university property is not legal.
- Medical marijuana is not allowed on campus.
- It is not legal for any person to smoke or ingest marijuana in a public place, both on and off campus.
- It is not legal to drive a vehicle or ride a bicycle impaired or under the influence of marijuana.
- It is not legal to possess marijuana for sale, transport, import, furnish, or give away marijuana.
We are committed to the health and safety of our community. We know that this can be a challenging day for our students who are substance free or who are trying to stay away from those using marijuana. As such, the Cove and SHOP teams are sponsoring The Other 420 event at the Cove. More information can be found at shop.ucsc.edu.
It should also be noted that spring is a time of high tick activity on the campus, and throughout the county coastal hills. Ticks may carry other tick-borne diseases, so please take precautions to protect yourselves from tick bites. The risk of being bitten by tick, and the precautions you can take to protect yourself can be found here: http://ehs.ucsc.edu/programs/s
Poison Oak is across campus and avoiding contact with the plan is the best prevention. The campus community is encouraged to learn about the plant’s appearance and steer clear of it. Information from the CDC about poison oak and precautions one can take can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs
Please remember to take care of one another. As always, please do not delay in seeking assistance for yourself or another needing help by dialing 911.