April 16, 2001


U-M students urged not to run Naked Mile

University of Michigan President Lee Bollinger and other officials are urging U-M students not to participate in the Naked Mile on Tuesday.

The event, which began in 1986 with 12 students, has grown to include hundreds of naked runners and thousands of spectators, who watch the group run across the Diag on U-M's central campus.

In a letter to students this week, Bollinger wrote: "I realize for some this is an important spring ritual. But, as innocent as it may seem, with each passing year unintended harmful consequences have become ever more serious."

In past years, women have reported being groped by spectators, said Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Mike Logghe. Spectators also have made videos of runners and posted them on a Web site. This year, attempts are being made to broadcast the run live over the Internet, he said.

Officers from the U-M Department of Public Safety and the Ann Arbor Police will arrest students for indecent exposure if they fail to comply with a request to put their clothes on, Logghe said.

A conviction would require a person's name to be posted on the state's sex offenders registry, he said. Tapes of a person running in the event could also effect future career plans.

"The tapes can be sold and broadcast," he said. "What today seems like a harmless prank could have adverse consequences down the road."

By Maryanne George

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