Discourse / Editorials / May 12, 2016

Thoughts from the Embers: Flunk Day is a privilege, not a right

Flunk Day came late this year.

This year’s Flunk Day garnered a lot of mixed attention on campus from both students and staff members. Social media, Yik Yak in particular, especially reflected negative energy. Unlike previous years that were preceded by a palpable buzz of excitement, this Spring Term was filled with criticism, negativity and outright disrespect toward event planners.

Suddenly, a day usually built on hype and excitement turned into a topic of negativity and complaint.

Who are we to question such a privilege?

The negativity, though unwarranted, is valid. The delayed Flunk Day caused a lot of anxiety and need for rescheduling. Constantly readjusting a study or homework schedule can get tedious when making room for a day that’s completely up in the air. Professors have to rearrange their syllabi to make sure their teaching schedules aren’t too disrupted when students drop everything for a campus-sponsored event.

By week eight, students were even more exhausted. Students were already drained and exhausted from Winter Term and a short spring break, and were ready for a day off — a break expected to be brought to us by week seven, at the latest, to usher in the final weeks of Spring Term.

It’s easy to get caught up in the anticipation of the Flunk Day festivities, but we must remember that it is a privilege, not a right.

Just as Deb Southern, Dean of Students, writes in her email every year, “Treating each other and the campus with respect is at the core of all we do at Knox.” There’s a reason that email is sent out every year before Flunk Day.

It’s easy to vent our frustrations on social media, especially anonymously. Lashing out against the planners is a way to validate our feelings toward a late Flunk Day. Who isn’t frustrated or a little inconvenienced by a late Flunk?

Flunk Day is the perfect time for students to step back and consider the big picture of Flunk Day. Sure, it came a couple of weeks late. Yes, it will require more catch-up for students who put off doing their work. Yes, it is very close to the end of the school year.
Let’s take into consideration, though, the amount of planning that goes into preparing for Flunk Day. The many hours of meetings and appointments, in addition to being full-time students and holding other jobs on campus, already requires a significant time commitment from the planners.

Not only do they have to keep all the plans secret from the rest of campus, they have to maintain their nonchalance as Flunk Day approaches, including staying up-to-date with academic work and making continual appearances at other extracurricular activities.

Flunk Day requires a lot of time, energy and money — perhaps more than any other campus-wide activity. Last year, nearly $40,000 was spent on the day alone. We’re lucky to go to a school that values this kind of tradition and allots these resources to give us a much-needed day off.

Where else do people get to drop all of their responsibilities and play on carnival games all day? The Galesburg community watches as we get an excuse from campus activities to take advantage of an all-day festival. Not only do campus employees continue to make an appearance, they’re expected to contribute to our day of fun before being able to participate in it themselves. Alums think longingly back to their Flunk Day memories, and post photos to social media about how much they miss this 14-hour no-commitment bender. Let’s take a page out of their book. Soon, we’ll also be professionals in the “real world” who’ll be looking longingly at the Knox Flickr from behind an office computer. We’ll wish we knew how good we had it.

Even with all of the expectations that came from previous Flunk Days, we must remember that this day is a privilege. It is, by definition, meant to cause inconvenience and disruption in the community. Regardless of its timing, Flunk Day is our opportunity to come together as One Community by celebrating a break from reality.

Being angry at those who plan this day, because they didn’t conform to our schedule, is no way to thank them.

Thank you, Union Board and Flunk Day planners. We appreciate you.

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  flunk day Knox College privilege tradition

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