Plan to cancel naked bike ride riles UVM students - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Plan to cancel naked bike ride riles UVM students

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2007 2007

Burlington, Vermont - November 18, 2011

The University of Vermont is known for many things, including the naked bike ride. Each semester on the last night of classes, students participate in a clothing-optional bike ride or run through campus. But this year the ride may be stripped away by the school.

"The problem hasn't been the nakedness or bike riding, it's been the whole scene around it," said Thomas Gustafson, the vice president of student and campus life at UVM.

Thousands of people gather to watch the few hundred students who strip down and ride around.

"It's a mass of mostly naked people on bicycles. It was a bit disorganized but looks fun," said Campbell Walker, a sophomore.

But it's not all fun and games, UVM says there are serious safety concerns associated with the event.

"This past spring we had a number of students detoxed, at least one sexual assault, a simple assault," Gustafson said.

"There's always the people with the bloody leg or something," said Connor Daley of the UVM Student Government Association.

Students say the ride lasts about 45 minutes and they just do laps the entire time.

"It's an opportunity you wouldn't normally get because most places are a lot stricter on public nudity than Vermont," Walker said.

Although the event is not officially sanctioned by UVM, the college spends $15,000-$20,000 on the event each semester to provide security, which they say is too much if they can't ensure the safety of students.

"We've even had a lot of non-UVM people come watch the event, getting drunk, groping women, etc. That's the part that worries us. If someone rides their bike naked across the campus, frankly I don't care too much," Gustafson said.

And that's what they're going to do-- with or without the school's support.

"Hopefully I'll do it this year," Walker said.

The Student Government Association says they see both sides, but want to make sure the students are safe.

"It's going to happen anyway. And it's not an excuse, but it's a real safety concern and we're most concerned on the safety of the students," Daley said.

A barely there event that UVM just can't support.

UVM is going to offer an alternative event for the kids to celebrate the end of the semester, only this one will be with their clothes on.

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