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Rego: Students should not encourage the ‘Undie Run’

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of The Collegian or its editorial board.

As the school year comes to a close and finals week approaches, students are looking for a last hoorah. Typically, this time of year would mean bringing together the student body to participate in its annual Undie Run. However, Colorado State University is literally begging students to abstain from this so-called tradition — and for good reason.

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Many students at CSU may be extremely disappointed with the University’s enforcement against the Undie Run. While many students believe that the event is a fun and harmless CSU tradition, it may be in all of our best interests to actually cease the Undie Run, especially if we really consider how it’s negatives significantly outweigh its possible positives.

The CSU Public Safety Team sent out a letter this year to faculty, staff, students and parents asking everyone to end the event, which, they stated, is causing harm to our fellow Rams. This letter addresses many safety concerns, but there are even more reasons as to why this event should not happen.

The letter mentions the unwarranted attendance of non-CSU members as well as underaged individuals. The run invokes curiosity and many observers come to view this. That being said, the event creates an easy targeting atmosphere for pedophiles and other creeps to come watch and take pictures of half-naked young men and women.

Fort Collins is home to a lot of younger demographics as well. Since this event is unregistered, there’s no way to keep track of who attends, meaning there is plenty of room for minors to prance around and display their half-naked bodies to whomever. 

The run used to be a charity event in which everyone’s clothes would be left behind, picked up and donated. This soulful meaning has become lost in the void of a desire for alcohol, partial nudity and destruction of property.

The letter also addresses the monetary costs that come with this event. It’s estimated that over $150,000 has been spent to repair property damage and pay for security over the past several years of the event.

Just so we’re clear, that money is coming directly out of our tuition and student fees. So, in an effort to lower our tuition cost, it may be in our best interests to not destroy campus property.

Aside from the monetary cost, the personal cost of this event is far greater than any other risk or concern this event brings. It’s a known fact that sexual assaults spike during the time of this event. The intoxication students partake in as well as the half-naked bodies running around in close proximity make it extremely easy for inappropriate sexual misconduct to happen. I myself have been grabbed and groped at in previous runs.

Those who still choose to partake this year also run the risk of facing legal action. CSU Police Department is asking that any illegal or inappropriate activity be reported to them and have stated that people’s descriptions or images will be shared in an effort to hold individuals responsible.

On top of it all, the run has lost its original and genuine meaning. The run used to be a charity event in which everyone’s clothes would be left behind, picked up and donated. This soulful meaning has become lost in the void of desire for alcohol, partial nudity and destruction of property.

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The University of Colorado Boulder hosts a similar event, the Nearly Naked Mile, which is sanctioned by the University and hosted by their alumni association. Their event includes safety meetings and a hosted dance party. Perhaps if CSU could come around to officially sanctioning the run like CU does, then there might be a fighting chance to create a safer and more observed environment for the run to take place.

Until there is a safer solution or alternative for the Undie Run, I believe it is in all our best interest to simply abstain from the event in efforts to protect ourselves and each other— from one fellow Ram to another.

Shay Rego can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter at @shay_rego.

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