Dean of Students Deb Southern approached the Student Life Committee for ideas on invigorating the community aspect of Flunk Day, which presents a mixed bag of potential interactions between the faculty and students.
“It would be nice if there was some way for us to pull faculty and staff into the day…sometimes [faculty] see Flunk Day as scary, because they may be asked to monitor behavior or something,” Southern said during the April 9 meeting.
Senator junior Nora McGinn agreed with the initiative to make an effort to increase the centrality of the community aspect of the day.
“I wish the community aspect was more central to the day, because we really talk about that, but the only time that all of the faculty and students are really together is during Pumphandle, and that only happens once a year,” McGinn said.
Faculty members have historically shown hesitancy when approached with the idea of Flunk Day attendance, as they do not want to be placed in a position where they must act as an authoritative supervisory figure.
Southern relayed that faculty members, like all members of the Knox community, would be required to intervene in some capacity in a situation that warranted action by notifying Campus Safety, for example.
However, Southern added that the Office of Student Development does not “necessarily need bodies to monitor a particular ride. We’re a community. People should be out and about and talking to each other and doing things together.”
Senate President senior Michael Gasparro believes that Flunk Day is especially important for new professors to see the campus in a different light, and be taken aback by the full-blown carnival that takes over campus.
“I think it’s a good thing that faculty stick around, especially new faculty…it’s refreshing talking to a faculty member in a different setting than just their office or a classroom,” Gasparro said.
There is a belief that fear surrounding Flunk Day attendance is waning.
“I think we’ve come a long way from people being super worried about it, but I think that’s people’s first reaction,” Southern said.
Members of the committee brainstormed a series of ideas on how to integrate the community aspect and reduce anxiety for both faculty and students.
Some of the ideas put forth were the development of special events, suggesting that faculty show up in the afternoon after the morning excitement has subsided and increasing communication concerning the community aspect in Flunk Day emails, flyers and residence hall meetings.
Senate Vice President Phil Bennet added that Flunk Day should encapsulate the community bond reaffirmed during events like Midnight Breakfast.
“It really adds to the bond and the community. I feel that way when I go to Midnight Breakfast. It’s just funny seeing someone from the faculty or staff in the caf, because you never see them there,” Bennett said.