July 30, 2009
The end of an era: UCLA kills Undie Run
In case you’re wondering what I’ve been working on this morning, I’ve been fielding media calls to discuss UCLA’s killing of the Undie Run.
“What started out as a UCLA student tradition to relieve stress during finals has turned into a free-for-all event attracting large numbers of people who are not affiliated with UCLA and who have demonstrated they have little consideration for the well-being of our students or the surrounding community,” Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, said in a statement. “While we regret having to call off the run in the future, we must ensure the safety of our students and the community and also look after UCLA’s relationships with our neighbors.”
Kind of odd that UCLA put the kibosh on Undie Run almost five months before the next run. Few students on campus and the Daily Bruin publishing only once a week—hmmmm. Reminds me of a politician who resigns at 7 p.m. on a Friday for “personal reasons.”
The irony is that Undie Run began as a response to UCLA’s harsh crackdown on Midnight Yell, which, to be fair, had descended into rioting. This act will return finals week to the primordial stage that gave life to our creation—and almost certainly will spawn something new, maybe even something the university would prefer Undie Run to.
In the seven years since Undie Run’s founding, the thrice-annual event had grown from our core group of 13 dudes bouncing around in their BVDs to 8,000-plus runners. Violence, mayhem, vandalism, bare cheeks—all became a part of an event started by a few guys deeply involved in the Bel Air Presbyterian college group. At least Rhetter can rest easy.
None of us ever expected the Undie Run to get as big as it did, but, once it did, we knew this day would eventually come. UCLA had threatened for years to cancel the event if the problems didn’t stop. But it’s still sad.
RIP, Undie Run.
After the jump, an LA Times video on the spring 2008 run and the origins story I wrote three years ago for UCLA Magazine: