High Noon

In the early 1970s small groups of Carolina students began gathering at the bell tower at noon to smoke marijuana —they called it High Noon. The location was likely selected because of its central location and also due to the tall hedges that used to surround the bell tower. Their meetings were an open secret on campus and a source of concern for university officials. After the Daily Tar Heel and other statewide newspapers began writing about the gatherings, parents and others contacted the university to express their displeasure. The publicity led to more students participating, with as many as 300 joining in by early 1975. While there were no arrests, repeated threats by university administrators —including the use of photographers on top of Wilson Library taking pictures of the smokers —helped discourage most students from joining in, though smaller groups would continue to meet and smoke for many years.