The annual “Undie Run” at
Colorado State University — like similar events at other schools — features students stripped to their skivvies and sneakers as they jog around campus as a way to blow off steam and allegedly have some good, clean fun before finals.
However, the Undie Run ain’t no fun for administrators — and they want to shut it down, Inside Higher Ed reported.
The outlet said participants, particularly women, have reported being sexually assaulted during the run and after parties.
But on the other side are students and supporters who argue that pointing the finger at college students in their underwear is akin to victim blaming, Inside Higher Ed added, and they want the Undie Run to take place Friday as planned.
Still, school officials are saying they will ask police to monitor illegal activity, the outlet said, and they’ve also emailed parents why they want the event stopped.
“If there is an indication that there will continue to be plans to assemble, there will be a heightened police presence on campus and off campus,” Jody Donovan, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, wrote on the Undie Run Facebook page from her personal account, Inside Higher Ed said. “If there are plans to assemble off campus, police and university volunteers will also respond. If people assemble, police will take video of the area. Images will be used to follow up on complaints and potential criminal incidents to identify individuals who behave inappropriately.”
More from the outlet:
An identical message was sent to students and their families — as well as other colleges in the area, said spokeswoman Dell Rae Ciaravola. This detailed how students could report sexual assaults.
In addition to concerns about sexual violence associated with the run, administrators said they have observed outsiders photographing or filming the run, and they have posted those images online or used them without students’ consent.
Colleges should inform students about potential risks outside sexual assault, said Jess Davidson, the executive director of advocacy group End Rape on Campus. Administrators can flag the potential for students’ pictures to be taken, but ultimately, they’re making the decision, Davidson said. She also said that she thinks the focus on photo taking is a bit of a red herring.
“Most students know if they’re running around in their underwear outside, people are going to be posting it to social media,” Davidson told Inside Higher Ed. “There will be friends taking pictures and putting it up; Instagram stories are going to be happening with the Undie Run. Students are aware of that.”
The university told the outlet it estimates the Undie Run costs about $150,000 for security and property damage coverage.
What did one student have to say?
One student ripped administrators for wanting to shut down the Undie Run, according to Inside Higher Ed, which added that the event apparently has happened without a hitch in previous years.
“My favorite part is when they said it makes it easier for girls to get groped by men when rapists literally hurt women fully clothed,” student Andrea Goff wrote on Facebook, the outlet said. “It’s not about what you’re wearing, and that’s just another excuse. Don’t blame the victim because they wanted to participate in a tradition where we should all be respectful of each other, regardless of how much or little we’re wearing. Underwear doesn’t change that.”
Inside Higher Ed said Undie Run organizers didn’t respond to its request for comment.
Students at other schools such as the University of California, Los Angeles; UC Irvine; Oregon State University, and Northeastern University put on similar events, the outlet said.
Davidson added to Inside Higher Ed that Colorado State shouldn’t ban the Undie Run but rather teach students about “bystander intervention” — i.e., stepping up when witnessing sexual violence and helping intoxicated students get home safely.
Here’s a news report about the 2016 Undie Run:
CSU warning to not participate in Undie Run does not deter students