Late last month, representatives of Colorado State University announced that the school would not allow the 2019 CSU Undie Run to take place and hinted at a secret plan to squelch it should would-be revelers gather for the event, which has taken place annually for at least a decade and has recently drawn crowds estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 people.
These warnings didn't completely eliminate the gathering, but it reduced its size in a major way. Initial reports about attendance at this year's edition, which took place on May 10, estimated that between 1,000 and 1,300 people stripped down to their skivvies and raced around CSU's Fort Collins campus.
However, Jody Donovan, the university's dean of students, has revised these digits downward.
"From images taken by police," Donovan notes via email, "the crowd was not as large as we initially estimated. It was about 800."
If that's the case, the number of participants at the Undie Run was down significantly, possibly by 80 percent or more.
Of course, 800 people is still a lot, as is clear from this video of the festivities....
...and a second clip:
Prior to the run, Donovan had expressed concerns about potential injuries associated with the run, as have occurred in the past, not to mention groping and sexually inappropriate behavior.
In response, a spokesperson reached through the 2019 CSU Undie Run Facebook page offered this statement: "No one's forcing students to go to this event. It's their own responsibility to not put themselves in a situation that could cause harm to themselves. Also, with the sexual misconduct talk, yes, of course, sexual misconduct is bad and I do not condone that kind of conduct. But like I said, it is their choice if they want to attend this event. It's always recommended that you stay with a group and watch over each other."
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This same message was reinforced on the Facebook page itself — and thus far, no details about either accidents or impropriety have surfaced.
Organizers haven't responded to Westword's inquiries about this year's Undie Run or the lower attendance. But according to Donovan, the university isn't disappointed that hundreds still participated.
"We knew from the outset that we wouldn’t end the run in a single year, but we have been clear that ending it is our goal," she allows. "We sent a strong message, and as you’ll also see in that message, we anticipated that some individuals would disregard our concerns. Our police and volunteers were ready to take action against inappropriate behavior, and we made an impact."
She adds: "We’ll continue to send a strong message and adapt our approaches for next year, because ending the run is our goal, and we’re serious about that."