As people attend Whitworth University, there is a chance they may hear some odd urban legends floating around campus. Such as getting hit by a golf cart will earn you free tuition, if your roommate dies you pass all your classes with A’s and if a professor is late enough, you get to leave class early. Are these worth the hype? Or are they just rumors?
Having not heard of the first legend, Dr. Dale Soden, a retired history professor at Whitworth and author of A History of Whitworth said that the more likely response to a student being hit by a golf cart would be a financial settlement.
“The school is not putting in writing someplace [an idea like this] because I’m sure if it was something the school did, I think there’d be a lot of people who’d be positioning themselves in ways to potentially [be hit],” said Soden.
As for the second legend, Soden explained that this is something that really happens and it’s a “super traumatic experience” for those involved. For Soden, making a legend out of that experience “trivializes the terrible circumstance that students have gone through,” said Soden.
Finally, there is an accepted time limit that allows a class to leave early. It is unknown if the allotted time is 10 or 15 minutes, but there is a time limit for how long students must wait,” said Soden. “[This] is generally true without being a formal college policy.”
The origins of these legends are a little more convoluted than parsing whether they are based in fact or not. “I just think students certainly have the ability to make up stuff,” said Soden. “I have no idea how much stuff is made up that floated out there and people say ‘Oh, this is ridiculous.’ But then there are things apparently like this, that get some traction.” Soden believes part of this may be social media, which — for him — “lends itself” to these kinds of legends. Especially since he does not see there being many “consequences for people in terms of trafficking misinformation.”
While most of these Whitworth legends are untrue, and should be seen as such, they are interesting nonetheless and do spur conversation around campus.