Flunk Day History

By: Jeana Quinlan

With the semester beginning to wrap up, excitement for Flunk Day is on the horizon. The anticipation of the age-old question “Is Flunk Day tomorrow?” looms on every Kohawk’s mind. What many students don’t know is that Flunk Day is a Coe tradition that goes back over a century— 111 years, to be exact.


The first Flunk Day was held in 1911. The tradition began as a day to celebrate the nice spring weather with picnics, boating, and other outdoor leisure activities. 


“Flunk Day is the one day of the school year when the student body takes absolute control of the realm, and declares all classwork off,” said a January 1912 edition of the Cosmos.


“Flunk Day is one of the most enjoyable features of the lighter vein of college life. The Profs are always invited to cooperate with the student body to make it a great success. So remember all flunkers, there is one day set aside when you can celebrate as you like.”

Flunk Day used to be held off-campus, but in recent years the college has moved festivities to campus in hopes of increased safety.


Another small Midwest liberal-arts college has also adopted the tradition of Flunk Day. Knox College in Illinois has held Flunk Day annually since 1922. However, it still stands that Coe is the first to have a Flunk Day. 


How can students know if Flunk Day is tomorrow? Only the outgoing student body president and select members of the administration know when the annual tradition is held. Everyone else finds out via email in the early morning of Flunk Day.


In the past five years, Flunk Day has been held on a Monday twice, Friday twice, and once on a Tuesday. Most Flunk Days fall during the month of April. Very rarely is it in March, though it has happened before, most recently in 2017.


The one thing all Flunk Days have in common is that they are a time for Kohawks to take a break from spring studying and have fun.


Stay safe, Kohawks! And remember, Flunk Day is always tomorrow.

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