SLC talks Flunk Day

As Flunk Day season is just around the corner, the Student Life Committee (SLC) discussed the impending “Final Flunk” with Assistant Director of Campus Life Jillian Gates. They addressed issues surrounding the tradition, including risk management.

Gates started her presentation at the Student Life Committee by saying, “We want to keep the tradition of Flunk Day alive and keep the fun going, so I’m not going to reveal any earth-shattering details.”

After emphasizing the value of preserving the mystery of Flunk Day to maintain the safety and spirit of the event, Gates distributed a handout to all committee members detailing the current “Flunk Day Strategic Plan,” to accompany her presentation.

While a multitude of topics were reviewed concerning the general nature of the Flunk Day tradition, Gates’ presentation explored the organizational structure, planning process, and security measures associated with the event.

The planning process is rigorous due to the importance of upholding the secretive nature of Flunk Day. Conversations with individuals at the Office of Student Development, Campus Security and Dining Services must be initiated carefully by Flunk Day organizers, Gates said, in order to prevent the secret of the date and its unique activities from becoming disclosed.

Craig Southern, the director of Campus Life at Knox, explained, “The contract of what we do is quite expansive. If a date does get out there, if we have to decide to cancel, a lot of things go into that. Switching events is a major undertaking.”

In reference to the difficulties that arise when the date for Flunk Day needs to be altered, Gates added, “If it does need to change, the likelihood of the number of activities happening would change.”

A predominant concern addressed by faculty members at the meeting, and a key point in Gates’ talk, was the issue of risk management on Flunk Day. It was reiterated that proper precautions are taken in the dorm setting to ensure that students are aware of the consequences of engaging in activities that hinder the safety and well being of themselves and others in their immediate environment.

During “Risk Meetings,” Resident Advisors (RAs) in all the freshmen dorms have discussions with their residents about Flunk Day safety. Additionally, Gates mentioned, “RAs might need to have Flunk Day planners talk to returning students if necessary,” in the event that certain suites had problems abiding by school policy in the past.

In order to perpetuate the claim that staying safe and having fun on Flunk Day do not constitute mutually exclusive entities, Gates said, “We seek out key leaders on campus to be a positive influence on others on Flunk Day.”

A handout titled “Tips about How to Have Fun on Flunk Day” was designed to provide students with the understanding that Flunk Day is a time for fun, but when security is compromised, students must alert “an RA, a Flunk Day Crew Member, an OSD member, or Campus Safety.”

Students can familiarize themselves early with the rules of Flunk Day upon reading the official Flunk Day e-mail sent to the campus by Dean of Students Debbie Southern. She hopes to communicate that “Flunk Day is a special day, but it is not a day when policies are ignored.”

Concluding words about the topic of Flunk Day culminated in a discussion about the way in which the event builds upon a set of life skills acquired by Knox students. Community establishment and regulation is a significant component of Flunk Day firmly valued by student and faculty members alike in the Student Life Committee.

In Craig Southern’s view, students learn to “take responsibility for each of their suites,” which translates into the process of learning leadership skills and taking ownership for one’s actions that extends to life after Knox. Gates’ perspective evaluates the establishment of a “cohesive community environment” by students and faculty as evidence that Flunk Day contributes to the overall Knox College learning experience.

The Student Life Committee meeting terminated with Student Senate Residential Quality of Life chair senior Ellen Jackson’s presentation of the new special interest houses on campus, which required the committee’s final approval. Issues pertaining to Greek life and the Art Department were examined briefly prior to the meeting’s adjournment.

Elise Hyser

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