Three students stormed out of an exam and ripped up test papers last Friday, causing a dramatic scene in a Classics 221 class.
At least, that is how it appeared to the average University of Tennessee student. As it turns out, these three attending classes were not UT students at all. In fact, they were not even from the state of Tennessee, but rather were Michigan natives who thought attending classes at UT would be entertaining.
Three friends from Detroit - Nick Hagewood, 25; Brandon Lietke, 19; and Steve DuCharme, 25 - hit the road Sept. 30 and headed down to Tennessee from Michigan for the weekend. They decided to make a stop at Ohio State along the way and party there, before driving through the night. The trio made it to UT's campus around 9 a.m. Oct. 1.
"Once we hit the Tennessee border, it was 9 a.m. so we pulled over and started drinking," Lietke, sophomore at Michigan State University, said. "We walked around campus to look for where to go."
Hagewood added, "Our goal was to find a big lecture. We wanted to try to get the students an extension on some kind of assignment so they could party all weekend."
The Michiganders were first spotted by students in McClung Museum as they waited to take their classics exam. The three asked other students for Scantrons and pencils. Once the professor walked in, the theatrics began.
Witnesses said the first guy stood up and announced to the class, "I can't take this anymore. I'm hungover, my girlfriend dumped me and I just can't take it."
The professor told him he would have to take an "F" if he didn't complete the exam, so the "student" dramatically ripped his papers up and stormed out.
Minutes later, the next guy stood up and said, "Wait, if he's not taking it, I'm not taking it" and fled the room. Soon after, the third of the Michigan boys stood up and said, "So does this mean we have an extension?" and followed with an equally dramatic exit.
"I felt kind of bad because we had a substitute that day," Tabitha Collins, a sophomore who witnessed the spectacle, said. "At first, I thought she was in on it. She finally said, 'If any one else is going to walk out, please do so now.'"
Collins said that for the rest of class she kept looking around to see if anyone else was going to leave.
"There was this one guy to my left, and I seriously thought he was going to leave, too, but he never did," she said.
The Michiganders didn't stop their fun-filled day of UT classes with Classics 221. They made their next stop at a Geology 101 lecture. They made their entrance to class a bit late, armed with large drinks and a huge white board and markers. Collins happened to be in this class, too.
"When I saw them in geology, I was like, 'what are they gonna do now?'" she said.
The three guys contributed to the class, asking and answering numerous questions. After class, they even befriended a couple of UT students.
"They asked us if they could get a shower," Jamie Turner, freshman in media arts, said. "Then, we find out that they were from Michigan.
"They were crazy. They didn't know anyone at UT, and they didn't know where they were. What gave them this idea? I have no idea. This is, like, the most random thing I have ever heard. They told us that that they were going to buy a raft and float down the river and join the Vol Navy on game day."
They said it wasn't the partying they got a kick out of, but rather UT's academic life.
"The most fun part of the weekend was going to class," DuCharme, said.
Hagewood said, "That geology class was the most fun class I have been to in years. When you're not enrolled in class, it's so much more fun. The funniest part was that this football player actually wanted me to e-mail him my color-coded notes that I took with markers on the marker board."
After class the three set out to find ice, a raft and a Slip 'N' Slide for tailgating.
Unable to find a raft, they settled for an inflatable pool which lost all of its air overnight, leaving them unable to join the Vol Navy on game day. But the trio still had each other, 115 Jell-O shots and 30 gallons of "Jungle Juice" to keep them company on game day.
The next time the Michiganders were spotted by students was in the UT student section after half-time with orange napkins tied to themselves in an act of Volunteer spirit. They were trying their hardest to pump up the discouraged crowd, they said.
"We didn't come down here to leave at half-time," Hagewood said. "We went to the student section and tried to rally the troops and get the crowd going again. People were sitting down."
Despite all the trouble they went to, along with UT's loss, the three guys said they had a great time in Tennessee.
"The people in Tennessee were awesome," DuCharme said. "Everyone was down to earth, and the people you just met acted like they knew you for years."
DuCharme and Hagewood left for home Sunday at 7 a.m. without Lietke, who was lost in the UT area Saturday night. So they left him money at Western Union so he could catch a Greyhound bus home.
The three said that they plan to make these road trips to random college game days a yearly tradition and will definitely visit Tennessee again someday. They left Knoxville knowing that they had definitely left an impression on The University of Tennessee, they said.
Visitors from Michigan
Published: Thu Oct 07, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:27 p.m.