However, the university is encouraging students not to take part in the run, which is described as both a pre-finals stress reducer and a fun way to donate clothing to charities — and so is the now-graduated organizer of the past two runs.
The Undie Run has drawn large and enthusiastic crowds in the last couple of years, as documented in numerous YouTube videos.
Here's one clip from 2015....
But the university is not a fan.
An e-mail sent under the auspices of CSU's public-safety team and Dean of Students Jody Donovan and shared by the Rocky Mountain Collegian (see it below in its entirety) spells out numerous reasons for non-participation.
For one thing, the letter notes, "the students who were trying to organize the run this year chose to pull out because they were unable to get insurance for this activity."
Moreover, CSU maintains that the clothing left behind after the run, which was supposed to be donated to the needy, will be "diverted to the landfill," based on what happened in 2014 and 2015. The first year, the university notes, 7,745 pounds of clothing were left behind, but only 1,683 pounds worth was actually donated; the rest wasn't in good enough shape. And in 2015, the run took place in the rain, and the clothing became so moldy that it had to be discarded.
Also noted is the cost to the university (an estimated $15,000 for cleanup) and the fact that "participants are photographed and videoed by onlookers and other participants, and these images can live forever on the Internet."
And that's not to mention "real concerns about potential sexual and physical misconduct and other negative behaviors during and after the run."
This last issue helped inspire Deep Badhesha, the CSU student who helped oversee the 2014 event, to rebrand the 2015 edition as B.A.R.E., an acronym for "Body Acceptance Run Extravaganza."
In a March 2015 Collegian article, Badhesha stressed that "don't assault" signage would be on view throughout the 2015 kickoff.
“We want to lead with the message ‘Don’t touch a body that’s not yours,'” he told the publication.
But Badhesha, who graduated in 2015, isn't involved in the 2016 version. In a long explanation that also suggests that current CSU attendees not take part in what is still being called BARE (it, too, is shared here), he touches on many of the points made in the university letter — and comes to the same conclusions.
"In knowing the organizers this year," he writes, "I admittedly tried to help them because I think some organization and accountability is better than none. However, following [the] e-mail from the Dean of Students I have realized that the proper steps have not been taken to ensure the success of the event and the safety of CSU’s students.This event was once a great load of fun and had positive impact on those in need. I openly admit there are some large issues associated with this event and the pros no longer outweigh the cons, if they really ever did.
"This event may have been once seen as a great tradition for CSU students, but its time has come to an end. I urge that all CSU Rams and the community no longer participate in this event."
We won't know until tonight how many CSU students heed the words of Badhesha and CSU's Dean of Students. But it's forecast to be a beautiful evening.
Look below to see a CBS4 report about the university's stance, followed by the CSU e-mail and Badhesha's post.
The past few years, some students have participated in the BARE run (previously called the undie run). The run is not authorized, sponsored or supported by the University. The students who were trying to organize the run this year chose to pull out because they were unable to get insurance for this activity. We want to share concerns about past issues with the run and inform you that it lacks organization. Anyone who seeks to participate this year takes a significant risk.
All clothing left behind will be diverted to the landfill. It will not be donated. The run has been touted as a clothing drive for people in need. Rarely does the clothing "donated" benefit anyone. Last year, almost all of the clothing left behind was wet due to rain and became moldy — it had to be thrown out. In 2014, 7,745 pounds of clothing were left behind from the run and only 1,683 pounds were donated because most clothing wasn't in any condition to be accepted by charity. About seven tons of clothing in the last two years ended up in the landfill at the expense of our environment.
The cost to the University each year for this unsanctioned run is about $15,000. This includes repairing damage to campus property, paying for extra security and police support and clean-up. Because BARE is not sanctioned and no student organization is sponsoring it, the University is left to pay these expenses. This means your tuition and fee dollars ultimately pay these costs.
Participants are photographed and videoed by onlookers and other participants, and these images can live forever on the Internet.
But the most serious issue is safety. Extra security and police support will be present because of real concerns about potential sexual and physical misconduct and other negative behaviors during and after the run. Many participants risk being negatively impacted by the actions of others. Law enforcement will intervene if there is any criminal activity. This includes any incidents of groping or inappropriate touching during, before and after the run.
The University cares about each and every one of you, and we want you to finish the semester in a positive way. If you experience any form of unwanted sexual touching any time, on or off campus, CSU has confidential resources through the 24-hour Victim Assistance Team at (970) 492-4242. Call 911 if you believe you or another person are in danger. It is never okay to touch someone without his or her clear consent and such conduct will be addressed by CSU.
CSU police will disperse any crowd that assembles on campus following BARE. Students who are dressed inappropriately and who are off campus, including on Laurel Street or any other streets surrounding campus, will be subject to interactions with Fort Collins Police.
BARE tarnishes the University's reputation and puts participants at risk. Please be respectful of the University and our Fort Collins community and choose not to participate in this event.
Public Safety Team and Jody Donovan, Dean of Students
Deep Badhesha post:
Dear CSU students, staff and Fort Collins community,
As the lead organizer of the 2014 "Undie Run at CSU" and 2015 "BARE run", I want to make a public statement that I condemn and denounce this year’s “BARE” as well as any subsequent “undie run” type events at CSU in the future.
Again, as the guy who helped make this event possible in 2014 and 2015, I fully condemn this event and actively advocate that all my friends and the CSU community that they do not participate.
This will be a long statement and I hope that I can explain everything. I know many people will not have time for it, but if you would like my full reasoning please keep reading. If not I please ask you to share this message.
Listen, I LOVE CSU. I graduated in May 2015 and CSU was easily the most incredible and life changing 4 years of my life. At my time at CSU I was actively involved with many different jobs and organizations as a display of this love and passion. The only reason I got involved with "BARE/Undie Run" was because I love the students, the university and the community.
Many of you probably don't remember but the 2013 event was quite a disaster. As far as I know there was no chief organizer of that year or no organizer came forward to take responsibly after the fact. As a result the run unexpectedly went through Laurel Street of Fort Collins, caught the university and law enforcement off guard and left thousands of pounds of clothing stuck in trees.
During finals of 2013 I remember seeing clothing on the LSC plaza trees for days. When I ran for ASCSU President in 2014 I included on my platform the following message:
"Without proper organization this rather new CSU Tradition might cease to continue. Clothing last year were left in the plaza and trees that ended up costing the University time and money to donate the clothing. This needs proper organization to continue its rapid growth. We have connected with past CSU Undie Run organizers and obtained their permission to move the Undie Run as a sanctioned student program through ASCSU. The event would be the exact same. ASCSU would just provide the volunteers for collecting the donations, informing Fort Collins and CSU to close certain streets and provide accountability if anything goes array."
I did not go on to win so the event never was able to be organized by ASCSU. I was however approached by CSU administration, who requested that I organize the 2014 run to make it better, safer and more positive. That year I met with countless admin staff and helped the event happen in a more controlled manner. We successfully kept the run off Laurel, moved the starting location and were better able to facilitate a clean up.
Going into 2015 I made it a goal to create a student organization to organize 2015 and all future runs. I recruited several student leaders to join me and we officially created "BARE - Body Acceptance Run Extravaganza."
In 2015 we as an organization put in hundreds of hours to make the event safe and more appropriate for CSU’s image. We saw this event as a way for students to destress before finals and donate to charity. We met with countless admin staff again and even had full time staff as advisors. We actively fundraised and researched ways to buy insurance to protect students and the university.
Ultimately I think the 2015 event was semi-successful. We included consent messaging. We actively organized clean up and patrolled the route which made the event much cleaner and less costly. 90% of the participants did the run and left without harm. There was a portion of students who lingered and ultimately tarnished why the event existed in my opinion.
After graduating in May 2015 the BARE student organization was left in the very capable hands of student leaders. After discussing the 2015 even those student leaders determined they did not want to continue organizing and planning of the event, thus disassembling the student organization known as BARE. From my perspective that is where the organization I founded ended. When those student leaders chose not to help facilitate the 2016 run, "BARE" no longer existed.
I realize that this year's event is being called "BARE" but I want to segregate this year and all future year's event from the organization my team helped create. So if you can help it, please do not call it BARE but this point is minor.
I realize this might be an undesired history lesson but let me also explain my philosophy behind this event now:
In 2013, the event happened as far as I know without proper organization or responsibility. Realizing that this event could happen with no one in charge I knew it could be chaotic and cost the university thousands to control. In my mind, without proper organization the event could eventually become comparable to CU's 420 event: uncontrolled, limited student involvement, cause thousands of dollars in damages, create an unsafe place for the community and ultimately tarnish the school's reputation. I thought a student organization could prevent these issues. However, this is no longer my mindset.
To me this event was about fun, de-stressing and donating to charity. The first several events were small and did a great job donating to people in need, having many students de-stress before finals, and have simple plain fun. As the event grew though it has simply become chaos.
I truly thought I could help create an organization to control that chaos. Being only slightly older I will try to blame that on young naivety and an optimistic view of large crowds of college students. I do not believe it is possible to achieve a desired level of safety. I want to clarify that the event's in 2014 and 2015 were much more successful than they would have been without organization.
In knowing the organizers this year I admittedly tried to help them because I think some organization and accountability is better than none. However, following today's email from the Dean of Students I have realized that the proper steps have not been taken to ensure the success of the event and the safety of CSU’s students.
This event was once a great load of fun and had positive impact on those in need. I openly admit there are some large issues associated with this event and the pros no longer outweigh the cons, if they really ever did.
Many of you might criticize me for being a person trying to shut down something that I had a lot of fun in. Looking back… I don’t think I had that much fun. I did not run or participate in 2014 or 2015 as a participant in my underwear. Instead I stood by and tried to control a wild chaotic group of students. I lost countless hours of sleep in 2014 for the event and my entire team did in 2015.
This event may have been once seen as a great tradition for CSU students, but it’s time has come to an end. I urge that all CSU Rams and the community no longer participate in this event.
Please message me if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
The Former Founder and President