Boulder police broke up a party on University Hill over the weekend, and officials are bracing for more incidents as University of Colorado Boulder students have returned to campus and the St. Patrick’s Day holiday approaches.
Boulder police spokeswoman Dionne Waugh said officers were called to a complex Saturday night in the 1000 block of 14th Street to break up a party, which was first reported by Denver Channel 7.
A social media post about the party referenced by the Channel 7 report shows a massive crowd at an apartment complex with no social distancing and little visible mask wearing.
if your students keep partying like this dont even think about reopening pic.twitter.com/qNgAPKapXa
— the girl with the trashcan tattoo (@avb_54) February 28, 2021
Waugh said police are still trying to identify the hosts of the party, and no citations have been issued yet.
“As of right now, (the Boulder Police Department) and the City Attorney’s Office are investigating all possible criminal and civil violations regarding this gathering,” Waugh wrote in an email.
It has not yet been confirmed if the hosts were CU students, but the university did release a statement in relation to the party.
“CU Boulder has made it clear to our student body that following county public health directives is required under the code of conduct, and the vast majority of our students have followed these directives,” the statement read. “When health officials and police have referred cases to our student conduct office, CU Boulder has responded quickly and imposed discipline when violations were established.
“Regarding allegations of events over the weekend, we don’t have additional information to share at this time.”
Mike Stratton, a spokesman with Boulder County Public Health, said the county had already issued notices to that address on Jan. 22 for incidents at the property in November and December.
As a result, the property owners were issued a second notification of public health order violation, nuisance property designation, and potential property closure. The tenants and guarantors were also issued a notice that the property has been designated a public nuisance and source of communicable diseases, specifically COVID-19, and conditions affecting public health.
“These notices are the next legal step we can take, and if any additional public health order violations occur at the property, Public Health will be able to take additional legal action as necessary to abate the nuisance, such as, up to and including seeking a court order requiring the property to be vacated until COVID-19 disaster declarations are no longer in effect,” Stratton wrote in an email. “We do not want to go to that type of action unless absolutely necessary, and are hoping the parties involved will work with us to solve the issue.”
After remote classes started the semester, CU Boulder returned to hybrid and in-person classes in February.
Mid March will mark a full year since the coronavirus pandemic first caused shut downs and the implementation of safety and social distancing measures to combat COVID-19.
It also marks a year since properties on University Hill in Boulder have held parties in spite of health and safety orders, an issue that remained a point of discussion in the Boulder community ever since.
While CU Boulder this year does not have a week off for spring break, Waugh said police are anticipating having extra patrol units on the Hill in anticipation of any spring or St. Patrick’s Day parties.
“We definitely want the community to know we will have increased staffing in the coming weeks around this holiday,” Waugh said.
As for the health department, Stratton urged residents to continue to use caution even as the calendar comes up on one year of everyday life being altered by the pandemic.
“Obviously, we are concerned about any situation where people might gather unmasked in large groups where COVID-19 could be spread,” Stratton wrote. “People understand what they should be doing, and we know many are suffering from pandemic fatigue and want to be around others. If everyone can continue to follow the safety guidelines as they have the past two months, the impacts of COVID-19 will start to lessen much sooner for all of us.”