Campus / Flunk Day / News / April 20, 2011

Report card out on Flunk Day

As students of every year celebrate Flunk Day, faculty of varying seniority use the day in different ways.

For the first year professors, like Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jaime Spacco, the day is somewhat of a mystery. Spacco hopes to “see what the students are up to.”

Spacco understands that students should be given space during the day.

“I don’t want to see students in compromising positions,” said Spacco. However, he still hopes to see the mud pit if he can make it to campus on time.

For Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, Todd Heidt, his second year of Flunk Day comes with a stronger understanding of the day.

“I’ve heard it’s most wild really early in the day and late at night,” Heidt said. “I will be right here [in my office] grading, then I will drift out around lunch time.”

For the veterans of Flunk Days past, ritual ways to celebrate have arisen.

Assistant Professor of Economics Jonathan Powers, a 10 or 11-year veteran, participates in the traditional “Flunk Day Fifty,” a 50-mile bike ride with Associate Professor of Mathematics Andrew Leahy.

The 50-mile bike ride might not happen this year, however.

“Unless it’s in late May, I will avoid his call,” Powers said, admitting he is likely too out of shape to be able to handle the ride.

Since his first Flunk Day in 1973, Instructor in Art Michael Godsil has seen a total of 28 Flunk Days. He has seen things change over the years.

“Alcohol and drug use is more underground and subdued now,” Godsil said. “There was a ‘live and let live’ mentality.”

Godsil thinks this is better for the day and the students.

“Its safer and fun now. There are more social interactions among students,” he said.

Faculty traditions

Some of the faculty have started traditions for the day.

A small group of professors has a Flunk Day golf tournament out at Bunker Links Golf Course. Teams of professors vie for the Jim Sheehan Flunk Day Memorial Open Trophy. This trophy features scrap parts from other trophies, including a chicken.

“It’s a fun social event. No one takes competition too seriously,” Godsil said.

Although the tournament didn’t happen last year, Godsil hopes it will start up again due to his unwillingness to play in the Flunk Day softball game because of a previous injury.

“Most of us are not spring chickens anymore,” Godsil said.

If Flunk Day happens on a day without classes, for many professors the celebration will likely be subdued.

“Some days Flunk Day isn’t a break,” Powers said. If it were to fall on a Tuesday, Powers would still have to prepare for Wednesday’s classes on top of his other regular obligations throughout the day.

“I may not even know about it till the next day,” Spacco said, worried that it might happen on a day when he is not on campus teaching.

For alumnus and Visiting Professor of Philosophy Brandon Polite, ‘03, Flunk Day is as enjoyable as during his time as a student.

”It’s a way for me not to relive it, but to remember it,” Polite said.

Polite enjoys going around campus and seeing students enjoying themselves. “It brings the community together in a way that normally doesn’t exist,” Polite said.

Faculty respect the tradition that is Flunk Day, and consider it an opportunity for students to relax.

“It’s a nice pressure valve,” Heidt said. “It’s nice for students to be able to blow off some steam.”

“It is their day and I try to let them enjoy it,” Powers said.

As for when Flunk Day is, few professors chose to give predictions.

“Flunk Day is tomorrow until tomorrow is today,” said Polite.

John Williams

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