Despite stern warnings from a campus administrator, students at the University of Notre Dame embarked on their usual yearly “Bun Run” last night, in which a group of dudes got naked and ran briefly through a small portion of campus. No one was harmed, except everyone’s eyeballs.

As we told you last week, the Bun Run involves a group of men from the Zahm dormitory running nude or in scanty, ball-supporting athletic wear through a heavily trafficked part of campus. Rector Mamie Smith, who heads a women’s dorm at Notre Dame, wrote a stern letter to the students in her care, calling the run “disrespectful” and warning them that if they showed up to watch it they could face disciplinary consequences. (Smith did not return an email from Jezebel seeking comment.)

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The run took place per usual, despite Smith’s efforts and despite a plea to cut it out from Fred Kraus, manager of The Huddle, the student center convenience store on the runners’ dick-airing path. Reports from the field suggest that there were slightly more campus administrators on-hand this year:

Everyone seems to have survived, if not necessarily thrived:

On the anonymous secret-sharing app YikYak, students barely mentioned the run at all, except one person’s impassioned defense of their right to free-ball it:

Rector Smith also sent out a stern follow-up email to her students, which was forwarded to Jezebel; in it, she apologizes if the women of her dorm, Pasquerilla East (whose students are referred to on campus by the nickname “Pyros”) felt unfairly penalized by her warning that they’d be punished for watching the run. But, she adds, “I will apologize for a lot of things, but taking a position of leadership myself, and asking you to make history by joining me there is not one of them.”

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She also vowed to continue trying to end the run. “What I am trying to do is draw your attention to the ways that being silent about this matter or tolerating it with amusement contributes to the problem. I’ve done that in the past, as a student myself. Nothing will change unless all of us... men and women of Notre Dame... actively oppose it.”

Here’s Smith’s full letter as we received it:

Ladies:

There’s been some buzz over the past day surrounding my remarks at Mass and my email on Sunday regarding the Bun Run. I would like to take this opportunity to clear a few things up. Please read this email carefully.

First, I made a remark at Mass to the effect that I know and understand that those I was addressing were/are leaders and good people who get it... who will not be part of the problem. That was directed to those present as representative of all of you. I would have made the same observation if all of you were present... I did allude to that attitude at the end of my email. If some of you felt singled out for not attending Mass, or felt like my confidence was not directed at you specifically or equally, I apologize. This was not my intention. I would like to clarify that the reason I made these remarks after Mass was quite simply because it is the largest gathering of our community between now and the end of the year. A mandatory rector meeting prevented me from attending hall council last week, and as you know there is no hall council this week. Since I want to respect your time over this busy week, I did not call a special meeting. I will work hard to make sure a misunderstanding like this does not occur in the future.

Secondly, I understand that some of you feel unfairly called out, blamed, or penalized for the Bun Run. Let me be clear that I certainly don’t hold any Pyro responsible for the improper actions of those who participate in the run. I know many people who witness it do so by accident, and of course I would not blame anyone for innocently doing so. I’d like to point out that I am not actually punishing or penalizing anyone for the fact that the run is taking place. I’m making explicit an expectation that I think has been common sense practice across campus: that you don’t attend. If you are one of the vast majority of people who wouldn’t attend or otherwise encourage this behavior anyway, I am at somewhat of a loss to understand how being made aware of that expectation would even affect you, much less anger you.

Third, I understand that some of you feel that I am creating unfairness by holding you accountable above everyone else on campus. I want to share with you that I have only taken this position after arriving at a firm understanding that the other rectors, the office of Residence Life, and the division of Student Affairs are all united on this subject. Mine may have happened to be the first voice you have heard this week, but I am confident that it will not be the last.

But even if that were not true, and if I were alone in this position, I have a lot of conviction that this is the right thing to do. And sometimes that means drawing a line, and being out in front of the pack a little bit. I know we are not “the only” but we may be “the first,” at least this year. And that is a conspicuous and lonely place sometimes, but it is where we belong. I think we are the best dorm on campus, that our women are of the very highest quality, and that this puts us in a unique position of being noticed, being able to influence campus life, and therefore being responsible for it to a higher degree. I will apologize for a lot of things, but taking a position of leadership myself, and asking you to make history by joining me there is not one of them.

It’s clear to me that a few loud voices from the outside are starting to confuse an issue on which we are actually pretty united. Please don’t let these misunderstandings undermine the consensus that I know exists across campus, that this activity needs to stop. What I am trying to do is draw your attention to the ways that being silent about this matter or tolerating it with amusement contributes to the problem. I’ve done that in the past, as a student myself. Nothing will change unless all of us... men and women of Notre Dame... actively oppose it.

I hope that even if you do disagree with me, that you will at least do me the courtesy to try to understand my position and represent it accurately in the conversations you have this week.

Finally, I would like to thank and acknowledge those of you who have reached out to me about this issue. I cannot correct or explain myself if I do not know there is a problem, and I appreciate the maturity and goodwill of those who have had the courage to identify themselves to me and share their concerns. I am disappointed that some members of our campus community have chosen not to come forward, and not to address these issues with me personally or directly. I would hope that Notre Dame would be a place where people would know how to effectively challenge authority and communicate their disagreement in a respectful manner that produces real good. To that end, I promise you that I will always try to listen to you respectfully, address your concerns if we disagree, compromise whenever I can, and correct any mistakes that I make. In the future, I hope that you will always give me a chance to do that.

Thanks for your attention, and please know that I am very willing to speak to you about this matter at any time.

Have a good week!

Mamie

The 2008 bun run. Screengrab via YouTube/Mwalk11


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

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