The Naked Truth: An Investigation of Stanford’s ‘Clothing Optional’ Policy

Posted by at 4:39PM

Stanford students conduct a mass mooning in May 1995 to protest censorship in the mass media. (Photo cred: Wikipedia)

Stanford has a thing about birthday suits.

From the rogue body-painters at FMOTQ to the scantily-clad (if clad at all) party-goers at Synergy‘s infamous Halloween party, it seems that many Stanford students’ clothing preferences consist of, well, none at all.  Chi Theta Chi’s special dinner showers are common knowledge, featured among other Stanford traditions here in Stanford Magazine.  With Foam Party and Exotic Erotic on the horizon, it might seem that there’s more than enough substantiation for the rumored “clothing optional” policy at Stanford.

But as a fact-guzzling and info-spewing tour guide, I found myself determined to find the truth about this mythical policy.

And let me tell you, the truth is hard to find.

There’s no explicit “rules” page on the Stanford website.  Anywhere.   After about ten minutes of Googling, I came to a bizarre realization: I have no idea what rules actually dictate my behavior at Stanford.  Beyond the relatively vague Honor Code and Fundamental Standard (both important and relevant, don’t get me wrong), I had to sift through a quagmire of outdated webpages, UAL newsletters, 404 Not Found’s, and bizarre CollegeConfidential threads to find any actual rules.  Call me naive, but something about that seems wrong.

Anyways.  NUDITY! The reason you’re reading this post!

Technically, nothing in the Honor Code, Fundamental Standard, or the University Code of Conduct, explicitly says that you must wear clothing.

I can almost hear the cheers from Synergy in the distance.  But before you start shedding your clothing and forming jam circles, let me warn you: Stanford still has to adhere to state and federal laws.  And indecent exposure is no laughing matter.  Beyond fines and imprisonment, indecent exposers often must register as lifetime sex offenders.  And though not explicitly banned, nudity at Stanford treads a fine line between goofy Stanford antics and the very serious issue of sexual harassment.

In 2007, students bared all to protest Stanford apparel produced in sweatshops.

So we’re not clothing-optional after all?

Yes and no.  Leniency on the part of law enforcement in recent cases such as the Sweat-Free sit-ins indicates that, when not conducted disrespectfully or with violent intent, nudity on campus usually can slide.  And sometimes, it can even be used to promote social causes.  The Sweat-Free students weren’t wearing anything because they vowed not to wear clothing produced by sweatshops.  None of the naked students were arrested.

So, Stanford students, the choice is yours.  Bare all if it pleases you to do so.  Whether clad or not, it is ALWAYS your responsibility to behave towards those around you with respect.

I have but one request for the clothing-optional among you:

Please wear sunscreen.


2 Responses to “The Naked Truth: An Investigation of Stanford’s ‘Clothing Optional’ Policy”

  1. Kappa Sig Fo’ Lyffeee says:

    Isn’t foam party not happening this quarter due to Kappa Sig losing party privileges?

  2. Jim says:

    Mere nudity under the law does not mean indecent exposure. Only if you are behaving in a sexual manner can you be arrested.


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