April 19, 2005

Flunk Day commentary

In a comment to my Flunk Day post, Brian left a link to his own account of the day.

It certainly is a counterpoint. I had the advantage of being able to return to my apartment, not be awakened by the Friars, and so on. (I actually wouldn't have been awakened by the Friars, already being awake, but that's not really relevant here.) But in the interest of fixing Flunk Day, rather than just writing it off, I'd like to work out some way to get rid of the problems he notes while keeping all the positives. Although Brian calls it "a tradition that has lost its purpose", I saw lots of clear indications that the original purpose---bringing the campus together, getting a day off, having lots of fun---is far from completely lost. Indeed, it appears to be on the rise; I saw clear improvements over last year in terms of less drunken people, and I've heard many reports from faculty and former students that this is part of a consistent long-range trend.

The real problems in Brian's case were all caused by people in the dorms, mainly two things: noise and vandalism. I'd be interested to know how widespread this sort of vandalism is, since the main areas of campus were notable chiefly for their cleanliness afterwards. An event where hundreds of people are partying is usually followed by a swath of detritus, but aside from the occasional stray piece of food there really didn't seem like that much to clean up. (Exception: there was a considerable amount of mud on a few of the walls in the mail room.) So I wouldn't have expected such destruction in the living areas; that's the problem to solve, and I'm not sure how. Do they do this when they host a regular party?

And as for the noise, two of the things mentioned weren't even directly related to Flunk Day. The door-slamming, while annoying, simply had the misfortune of being the night before. The first round of whistling and yelling wasn't actually people trying to start FD early---they thought it wasn't FD and were trying to perpetrate a scare. Of course, if there had never been FD there wouldn't be FD scares, but I really think that dealing with the scares directly would be a much more effective and fast solution to the problem of FD scares than eliminating Flunk Day entirely. The actual Flunk Day noise, well, to some extent that's just part of having a big party, and I've heard several stories from people who took advantage of the day off to go someplace quiet---one of the city parks, maybe---and read a book or take a nap in the sun. I think this is a reasonable compromise, actually.

I think Flunk Day is a really fun experience for most students, and they've been doing a good job at making it "good, clean fun" for the students who once were scared away from it. Now we just need to make sure that the students who want to opt out have the ability to do so.

"If quidquid Latine [dicitur], altum videtur 'whatever is said in Latin seems profound', then surely perhaps Gręce altius 'deeper in Greek'." --Angelo Mercado

Posted by blahedo at 4:52pm on 19 Apr 2005

I suspect my neighbor had some warning about Flunk Day, since he usually isn't awake or noisy that late at night. If that is the case, then it's within reason to blame the previous night on Flunk Day, since my neighbor wouldn't have started his festivities early otherwise.

My real problem with it was that I couldn't say no. I couldn't say no to the friars. I couldn't say no to my suite-mates (it's Flunk Day, could anyone really expect someone else to turn their music down or stop drinking in the suite if you asked?) I couldn't say no to them messing up the suite and the bathroom, since even if I had been present it is in my experience usually counterproductive to argue with a drunk person. There was simply nothing I could [reasonably] do about any it, and I still have to pay all of the prices for it: My bathroom is filthy, my suite is trashed and I had a less than happy day thanks to a lack of sleep because there was no way to ask the friars NOT to wake me up.

The fact of the matter is, if I had wanted to say no to any of these things; say, messing up the bathroom, I would have had to physically stand there and monitor the bathroom for the entire day in order to keep it clean, which probably would have made Flunk Day just as unenjoyable for me. So in terms of solutions, I too would be very interested to hear some ideas.

Posted by Brian at 6:34pm on 19 Apr 2005
A loss of control about external situations is not tantamount to rape, and making such a steep comparison is weak at best, and utterly offensive at worst. We have a right to liberty, but not license, so in such scope the behaviors were at your cost. But you must also realize that the actions were performed by the suite and are suffered by the suite. If it were your personal bathroom, it would be an attack on you. It is, however, the suite's, and while you disagreed with the suite's actions, I disagreed with the country's election of Bush; thus the cookie crumbles. I'll vote next year and you can talk to your suitemates about this. Perhaps you will also let your hair down a bit, roll with a punch someday, and stop thinking that an early morning wake-up and a dirty sink make you as much a victim as someone who has had sexual activity forced upon them. Posted by stumbler-upon at 10:21pm on 19 Apr 2005
Flunk Day sounds dreadful to me, at least it would be if I live on campus. To start with, I hate surprises. Secondly, I hate being woken early. It was bad enough when the alumni club had toga parties outside of my window at 4 am, this sounds much, much worse. I am glad to hear that it is trending toward improving, but that would be poor consolation if I had to endure fellow students vandalizing my bathroom and disrupting my sleep. I have no problems with public drunkeness itself. My high school had a senior skip day that involved gathering in a park and drinking adn dancing. I got drunk enough to not only dance in public, but also to not notice when the line I was dancing in fell down and me along with it. The key is that that was not just planned but happened on an expected date. It was easily avoidable, if one were so inclined. No ones living area was messed up. Enough people were designated to stay sober to make sure that no one was harmed, and also to see to it that the party was cleaned up afterward. It seems like the idea behind Flunk day is to have a party that one can't ignore or avoid. I can't say as I care for that at all. Posted by lee at 12:32am on 20 Apr 2005
Largely, one CAN ignore and avoid Flunk Day if one chooses to. It's a day where we don't have classes and the college provides entertainment for you, if you wish to partake in it. I spent most of my Flunk Day off campus with friends (going to see Sin City, going out to dinner, bar-hopping) because I didn't care for this year's activities all that much. Also, it is true that unless you live off campus, it's impossible to not get woken up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. But I don't think most people care, because they just take naps later in the day. Unfortunately, there's always some people that behave irresponsibly, and it's unfortunate that Brian has to live with them. But that is not at all a good representation of the student body. Posted by Susannah at 2:05am on 20 Apr 2005
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