Every year, on the relief that is the last day of classes, students crowd the sidewalks of South University Avenue in voyeuristic anticipation of witnessing their peers streaking in the Naked Mile. But, recently, the only parading to occur is courtesy of the local police and their threats to potential runners.

Jason Pesick
<p>The Naked Mile: We will remember you fondly</p>
<p>File photo</p>

Ironically, the most lauded tradition on campus also happens to be the most consequential. What used to be an annual act of uninhibited exhilaration is now a mere memory to many students and an urban legend to those who have only heard stories about the event. While the Naked Mile garnered top honors in the Best Tradition category this year, it has inched near mythic status as a result of increased warnings and arrests by the University and Ann Arbor police.

“The Naked Mile has grown to such a large number, we couldn’t wait for tragedy to occur,” said Lt. Michael Logghe of the Ann Arbor Police Department. “People were highly intoxicated and women were being sexually assaulted.”

Indeed, the Naked Mile, which started in 1986 as a proclamation of liberty by members of the crew and lacrosse teams, has exploded to such immense notoriety that the University administration began to worry about the safety of its students. As a way to prevent streaking, which is illegal, administration and the police issued warnings of ensuing arrest to those who dared to run in the buff. However, the arrests proved not to be strict enough.

The current policy stands as follows: Those who run will be arrested and possibly be charged as a sex offender, which means that one prosecuted accordingly will be required to register as a sex offender. Imagine having to admit that you are a sex offender during a job interview. But the police need to realize that the real sex offenders are the gropers who attempt to take advantage of the runners.

Even though the number of participants has plummeted, students still have a deep respect for the Naked Mile. This year, students can only hope that this great tradition of exuberant nudity is not forgotten and shelved away as a fable.

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