Eight members of the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) congregated on the main quad to arrest an alumnus for parading through the quad in his birthday suit, Thursday at 3 p.m. The man, who graduated from the College in 2003, was charged with indecent exposure and could be registered as a sex offender, according to Executive Director of the UCPD Rudy Nimocks.
The alumnus, now resides in Washington, D.C., was in Hyde Park visiting a friend and 2003 alumna, Sarah Blanken Baker. According to Baker, he had done this twice beforeduring Scav Hunt season in 2002 and 2003. "He went to the quad to streak as part of Scav Hunt," she said. "I think it's stupid that people are offended by it. He was just walking around and laughing."
Mike Kuppersmith, a second-year in the College, was talking outside with some friends when someone streaked by. "We were standing on the quad talking, just a group of us, and someone pointed out that there was this naked man on the quad," he said. "So we looked over and saw him standing around with his hands on his hips, and kind of just walking around. Someone said they saw him doing jumping jacks, but I didn't see that part."
The Maroon was unsuccessful in soliciting direct comment from Seargent Smith, one of the officers present, but heard Smith telling Baker that "a lot of people" kept calling the police and reporting her friend. She used this as an explanation for why it took three cars and eight police officers, two of which where plainclothes cops, to come to the rescue.
Kuppersmith said that the streaker immediately changed into his clothes as soon as he saw the police approaching him. "As the police walked over, he picked up a Diet Cherry Coke, and began just casually and calmly standing there and sipping it," Kuppersmith said.
Baker said she asked the police how this was different from the University's annual tradition of the Polar Bear Run, which involves groups of naked students running through the quads in the middle of winter. "They said that since this isn't organized like the Polar Bear Run, it wasn't the same kind of situation," she said.
"At one point when he was naked he just laid down on the ground like he was tanning," Kuppersmith said. "It didn't seem to be bothering anyone. He seemed like he was just having a good time." Kuppersmith added that he noticed one of the officers making jokes. "The officer told us to lighten up and kept making fun of the situation," he said.
The alumnus was literally wearing nothing for a few minutes, according to Baker. "He thought since people are doing crazy things during Scav Hunt that he would participate this way. But apparently some people were offended by it. It was just meant to be fun."
While some onlookers and, according to Kuppersmith, even an officer may have found humor in the situation, the streaker still faces a serious charge. He was initially taken to the 21st precinct, but since there was no jail there he was moved to the 1st precinct, according to Officer Pickett of the 21st precinct.
Nimocks, who had been at meetings all day, was unaware of the incident until after the Maroon contacted him, and he checked in with his colleagues. "He still has to be fingerprinted and properly identified," Nimocks said, adding that it was currently unclear when more information would be available. While Pickett refused to name the charge placed against the streaker, Nimocks confirmed that "he was charged with public indecency."
Editor's note: The arrested man's name was redacted on 3/26/15 per his request.