Student Guide 2010: Meet CU’s alcohol and drug policies


Welcome to campus. For you freshmen in the audience, you now have more than 20,000 new neighbors, and you’ll be spending the next nine months (at least) in each others’ back pockets. To make sure life goes as smoothly as possible for everyone, CU’s Office of Student Conduct has created the Student Conduct Code, which includes a few policies you might want to think about before you get too smashed.

What about marijuana? Isn’t it OK in Boulder? Aren’t there medical cards for that?


The policy freshmen most often run afoul of is alcohol. It’s simple, really. If you’re under 21 years old, you can’t drink. If the police catch you drinking or even holding an alcoholic beverage, then it’s a “minor in possession” summons, or MIP for short. The legal consequences can be severe, including fines, community service and, most importantly, a permanent record. And that’s before the university has its say.

According to CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard, the university has stepped up both its punitive and preventative measures concerning alcohol infractions.

The Office of Student Conduct carries out its own investigations into suspected incidents, and if they find out a minor has been drinking, consequences can range from suspension to mandatory alcohol education classes to a call home to your parents, depending on the circumstances of the case. Oh, and those mandatory classes aren’t free. They’re more than $100 for a first-time offense, and the cost only goes up after that. Beer is cheap. Drinking isn’t.

Don’t think you have to drink to fit in, either.

According to Hilliard, roughly 30 percent of incoming CU students reported that they don’t drink and don’t want to. And with the university providing so many alcohol-free activities, often for free, they don’t really have to.


Obviously you can’t do meth, cocaine or heroin on campus (or anywhere in Boulder), but you knew that, right? But what about marijuana? Isn’t it OK in Boulder? Aren’t there medical cards for that?

Not on campus there aren’t. Even students who have a legitimate medical marijuana card can’t light up on campus. For freshmen, who are normally required to live on campus their first year, exceptions can be made that allow those with a medial marijuana card to pursue off-campus housing when necessary. We can hear you asking it now: But what about 4/20?

The infamous “smoke out” event, which draws some 8,000 people to Norlin Quad each April for a mass toke, is not legal. It’s definitely not CU-sponsored and, according to Hilliard, it’s not even that popular with CU students.

“Unless CU students have magically aged into their late 20s and 30s, most of these people aren’t CU students,” he says.

Many people on campus, faculty and students alike, complain about the traffic, the smoke and the mess left behind, Hilliard says.

(If you want to read about how the 4/20 tradition reportedly started, check out our April 15 story at


Current legal wrangling over the constitutionality of gun bans on campus notwithstanding, CU’s policy on weapons has not changed: The answer is no.

No guns, no knives (hunting, pocket or otherwise), no swords, no stun guns and no other weapons are allowed on campus. End of story. Not even replicas of weapons, by the way. Everyone has a right to feel safe on campus, so leave your arsenal and ammunition at home with mom and dad.

All of these rules might sound like a buzz kill, but remember: These rules are here to keep you safe and sane. Do you really want some drunk, naked guy tearing around your dorm at two in the morning with a loaded gun and a spliff?

For a complete list of things not to do, advice on what to do if you do them anyway, and things you can do instead, visit the Office of Student Conduct website at