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Flunk Day friars awake campus on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.


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A Pocket Guide to Predicting Flunk Day

April 10, 2017

Flunk Day friars awake campus on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

Disclaimer: No one in the Office of Communications has any idea at all when Flunk Day will happen this year. This is all idle speculation on our parts. We invite you to download our data set and start obsessing.

It's spring, and one question is on everyone's mind: When is Flunk Day?

We don't know. (We really, really, don't know.) But we did take a closer look at the last 31 Flunk Days, going back to the year 1986, to make a few cautious observations about when this beloved Knox tradition is most likely to occur.

It probably won't happen before April 17.
There have been just three Flunk Days celebrated before that date since 1986—in 1988 (April 14), 2002 (April 16), and 2006 (April 11).

It's more likely to happen on a Tuesday than a Thursday.
Flunk Day has fallen on a Tuesday 11 times in the last 31 years, most recently in 2016*. Monday Flunks are the second most common (10 occurrences, including 2014*), with Wednesdays coming in third (eight occurrences, most recently in 2015). Thursday Flunk Days are not unprecedented, but they appear to only come around every 20 years or so (2008 and 1988).

Sadly, if the mythical Friday Flunk Day has happened even once, no one managed to record it for posterity.

Don't be surprised if Flunk Day doesn't happen until May.
Since 1986, Flunk Day has taken place in May on 22 separate occasions, compared with just nine April Flunk Days.

If Flunk Day 2016 seemed unusually late, that's because it was.
By the time the Flunk Day friars woke the campus early on May 10, students had already suffered through multiple scares, and a tense gloom seemed to overtake all of social media. And no wonder: 2016's Flunk Day was the latest since 1995. In fact, only three of the last 31 Flunk Days—1992 (May 11), 1987 (May 12), and 1991 (May 13, those monsters)—came later.

*Due to an editing error, we originally wrote that the most recent Tuesday Flunk Day was in 2014 and the most recent Monday Flunk Day was in 2016. We have updated the text accordingly.

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Printed on Tuesday, October 23, 2018