After a substantial effort conducted by the University and the Ann Arbor Police Department, this year’s Naked Mile drew far fewer participants and spectators than it had in previous years, leaving the future of the annual event in question.
Only “a couple dozen runners actually ran,” Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said. Estimates from last year pegged the number of runners at 400, while about 800 students participated two years ago.
The number of spectators also dwindled to about 7,000, down from the estimated 10,000 audience members that came for last year’s run, Brown said.
The AAPD arrested a total of four people for indecent exposure and four others for disorderly conduct. DPS also made one arrest for indecent exposure, one for a minor in possession of alcohol, one for interfering with an arrest, and one for possession of marijuana. Though Brown said she was not aware of any incidents being reported, the Ann Arbor News reported that a sexual assault was filed.
AAPD Sgt. Michael Logghe was unavailable for comment today.
“We are also going to be seeking warrants for four other folks that may include indecent exposure,” DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said. In addition to the increased number of arrests, police officials also escalated efforts to prevent students from participating in the Naked Mile.
Around 11:50 p.m., one participant tangled with an AAPD officer who attempted to prevent him from continuing the run.
In protest, the surrounding crowd began chanting obscenities and approximately 100 students organized an impromptu sit-down in the middle of South University Avenue, clogging the street.
The officer managed to put the runner in a squad car. The sit-down inspired LSA freshman Adam Lowenstein, who said he had not anticipated running, to strip down to his shoes and sprint off.
Lowenstein said he was approached by a police officer before he reached the end of the route.
“He said, ‘If you don’t put on your underwear’ which I was holding ‘you’re going to get arrested,’ Lowenstein said. “I put on my underwear.”
LSA sophomore Michael Simon, chair of the Michigan Student Assembly’s Student’s Rights Commission, said student volunteers did not predict this year’s event would be as problematic.
Simon, who supported the sit-down, said police actions were overly forceful.
“Things went 100 times worse than we thought they would,” he said. “The reactions of the crowd to these arrests were really strong. I was just completely shocked and outraged. (the runners) were not hurting anyone.”