Fog and rain did not prevent thousands from flocking to Porter Meadow on Wednesday.
4/20 is an unsanctioned UC Santa Cruz event where large groups of students gather on campus and smoke marijuana. It is not unlike Picnic Day at UC Davis and Floatopia in UC Santa Barbara, in that it draws students from other schools.
Floatopia is an unofficial annual student day party, which started as a gathering on the beach where students “floated” on the ocean. In 2010, the event was moved to Del Playa Drive due to Santa Barbara officials’ restriction of access to the beach that day.
After the move the event became “Deltopia,” and according to the 2011 Floatopia Facebook event, this year’s gathering had over 11,000 confirmed guests.
The official Picnic Day, UC Davis’ open-house event families and the public attend. Students celebrate with an unsanctioned day party that attracts numerous partygoers.
According to a report in the Davis Enterprise, there were 54 arrests during the Picnic Day enforcement period at this year’s event, from Friday evening, April 15 to early morning Sunday, April 17.
Crimes and injuries are common at Floatopia as well. 2009’s Floatopia resulted in two deaths, as well as 13 arrests, according to a report released by the UCSB vice chancellor for student affairs Michael D. Young.
Safety is also a concern at UC Santa Cruz’s unsanctioned day party, 4/20. Jim Burns, a UCSC campus spokesperson, said that the administration was concerned about safety this year in particular, due to the recent graffiti threats found in a men’s restroom in Porter College.
“Whenever we discover graffiti of a threatening nature — and, to be sure, some of it we probably don’t discover — we are concerned,” Burns said in an email.
Despite possible risks to safety, students continue to participate. First-year Lauren Dike attended Picnic Day and said the police and campus security presence didn’t affect her decisions to drink and smoke.
“Any security seeing me drinking out of a bottle of wine or smoking a cigarette didn’t say anything,” she said.
Burns said 4/20 brings many people with no affiliation to UCSC to the campus and is an inconvenience for those who are in the campus community and choose not to participate.
“The event impacts our neighbors,” he said. “The event impedes the ability of our students, faculty and staff to get around campus that afternoon.”
Burns said that there are numerous issues with the event besides its illegality.
“We have plenty of issues with this activity aside from the obvious,” he said.’’
First-year Alexa Romero travelled to Santa Barbara to see her friends and party at Deltopia. She was not concerned by the presence of alcohol and drugs.
“[Deltopia is] already a tradition,” she said. “You can’t put a judgment on it.”
Like Dike and Romero, who travelled to see their friends, Haley Riddle flew from Woodland Hills, near Los Angeles, to UCSC for 4/20 and to visit her friend.
Even though safety concerns have been present in the past at events like Picnic Day and Deltopia, Riddle said she wasn’t worried.
“I don’t get how it works,” she said of the relaxed atmosphere in Porter Meadow on 4/20. “It’s so peaceful.”