The University Record, April 9, 2001

Provost informs community of “Naked Mile” dangers

An Open Letter to Faculty and Staff:

Most of you are aware of the upcoming campus tradition known as the Naked Mile. I am writing this letter to keep you informed of our growing concerns about this event, which has evolved into a dangerous experience for our students.

The run, which began in 1986, has grown out of control in recent years. Thousands of spectators gather, many of them with the intent of videotaping the participants or grabbing at runners as they traverse what quickly becomes a narrow gauntlet. Many runners who were motivated by the enthusiasm of the moment, further fueled by alcohol, later expressed regret at having participated.

Participants are subjecting themselves to potential assault, arrest and serious physical harm; and there is the very real likelihood that the consequences of their actions will come back to haunt students far into the future. Arrests for alcohol violations and indecent exposure are a matter of public record and may affect their career prospects. In addition, videotapes and photographs of the student participants appear widely on the Internet and may prove to be of considerable embarrassment to them down the road.

While we are always very concerned for the safety of our students who participate, this year, there is an added danger. Construction activity and fencing in the Diag area increase the potential for injury.

As in previous years, we are engaging in an information campaign with the intent of educating our students about the dangers. President Bollinger has sent a letter to seniors, and all other students are receiving a letter from Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs, and William Bess, director of public safety. We also have distributed a number of educational posters and fliers on campus.

I hope that if students come to you to discuss the Naked Mile, you will share with them the nature of our concerns and provide them with information that will help them make a responsible choice.


Provost Nancy Cantor