Brief Notes: UCLA Drops Underwear Run

UCLA has stripped another tradition from Academe, one started way back in 2002: the Underwear Run. Is nothing sacred?

Seven years ago, on the Wednesday before final exams, 13 students in boxers and briefs ran across campus, from the corner of Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Place to the intramural field. This has been repeated every trimester, three times a year, and become a popular tradition. Too popular, say school officials.

The last UCLA Underwear Run, a herd of bra-and-panty and négligée- and skivvy-clad runners, numbered 7,000, many from other colleges. School officials are pulling the plug, citing reports of injuries, alcohol-fueled fights, and vandalism. A smaller Undie Run at Chapman University (which seems older than the UCLA trot) resulted in $19,000-worth of damage to an Orange, California fountain.

According to the UCLA student newspaper, the “quasi-sacred Undie Run” replaced an earlier finals week tradition that was banned, the Midnight Yell. Harvard  has analogues to both traditions, the Primal Scream and Naked Mike.

There are Underwear Runs at other schools in the USA and Canada, and an Underwear Run preceded this year’s New York Marathon. The University of Kentucky is one of the schools that give the Underwear Run a good will twist: students donate the duds they doff to charity.

 The Orange County Register compiled a handy reference guide, “Students who run naked, or almost naked: Page of links.”

Hat Tip: Under Inside Higher Ed

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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