Public Safety Alert for April 20

To: UCSC Community

From:  UC Santa Cruz Chief of Police, Nader Oweis

Members of the UC Santa Cruz community, others with valid reasons for visiting the campus, and campus neighbors are advised there is the potential for disruptions and hazards during the afternoon of Monday, April 20 because of an unsanctioned gathering known as "4-20". The annual gathering may involve a large number of individuals in or near the Porter Meadow smoking marijuana. The greatest impact is expected between 3 and 6 p.m.

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. I ask for your help in discouraging non-affiliates, including students from other UC campuses, from attending.

Among the unaffiliated people that UC Santa Cruz officers have contacted at this event in recent years were parents with young children, vendors operating without a permit, and people interested in selling marijuana and other illegal drugs on campus. For example, last year we arrested a Watsonville resident for carrying a 19-inch machete. Also, several individuals had to be treated for hallucination and sickness from ingesting "edibles," such as cookies and brownies, laced with marijuana and other substances. At least one individual was hospitalized.

Recently, UC Santa Cruz Police have responded to several drug and alcohol poisonings and overdoses in the colleges involving students and non-affiliated individuals.

UC Santa Cruz Police and local law enforcement will be present again this year, with a priority of addressing public safety and providing emergency response. Police officers will conduct enhanced patrols throughout the day, looking for individuals in 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 or medical marijuana on the campus.

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, its students, staff and faculty. There are also potentially serious consequences of choosing to attend. I ask that individuals consider the risks and possible penalties of coming to UC Santa Cruz this year and decide to stay away for their own safety and protection.

As we approach 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. The sale, furnishing or distribution of marijuana and other illegal drugs are felony crimes. Most misdemeanors, such as public intoxication, along with felonies, will mean spending at least one night in the Santa Cruz County Jail. At a minimum, those smoking or in possession of marijuana may receive a citation resulting in at least a $100 fine. Students who are arrested or receive citations may also receive sanctions by the Student Conduct Office.
  • Live or pre-recorded amplified music is not allowed.
  • Vending of edibles for consumption, merchandise, liquids or other items is strictly prohibited.
  • 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. Campus and Metro bus service may be delayed so plan accordingly.
  • 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 UC Santa Cruz Police of 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.

Please support us in the effort to protect the campus community. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Report all in-progress crimes by calling 9-1-1. Anyone with information about criminal activity is encouraged to call the UC Santa Cruz Police Department at 831-459-2231. Tips may also be made anonymously by calling 831-459-3TIP (459-3847) or submitted online via

This Bulletin is in Compliance with 20 U.S.C. Section 1092 (f), the "Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act" ("Clery Act"), and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).