From campus to campus, students talk, whisper and giggle about rumors they believe to be true.
Everyone has probably heard of a few classic rumors circling around hundreds of campuses across the country. They create buzz and excitement in college student’s minds.
The most well-known legends, such as if a student dies, their roommate gets straight A’s or if a student gets hit by a campus vehicle they get free tuition, are nothing more than false rumors.
John Taylor, assistant director of Protective Services, has been hearing many spinoffs of the rumors in his 20 years at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point.
“Rumors are human nature. Everyone adds or subtracts to a story they hear to make it more interesting for the next person they tell it to,” Taylor said.
The origin of these UWSP rumors is shrouded in mystery, and once they are spoken, they spread like wildfire.
“Legend of the 4.0”
This legend states that if a student’s roommate dies, then they will receive straight A’s for the academic semester. The straight A’s would result in a solid 4.0.
“I don’t think it is real and if it is, that is a dumb reason to get good grades,” said senior Molly Cobb who believes the rumor to be false and unfair.
UWSP Registrar Dan Kellogg has worked in higher education for 22 years and has been at Point for eight. He confesses he has heard the legend of the 4.0, but is confident it is only a rumor.
“It has been around for many years at most universities and I think it is mentioned in a movie,” Kellogg said.
This, however, is true. The movie Dead man on Campus was released in 1998 and revolves around two college roommates going to parties and having their grades suffer because of it. They hear the 4.0 rumor and search for a depressed student to move in with them.
The fiction-based plot is probably the foundation for the rumor. Although widely known, there isn’t any evidence that supports the legend on any campus.
“The university does not grant good grades or any academic privileges to any student,” Kellogg said. “Grades received are based on the grades earned.”
Kellogg enforces academic policies at the university and explained that if there is a death of a student the university provides services to help other students, faculty, and staff to cope.
Depending on the situation, accommodations may be made for a student so they can perform to the best of their abilities. It is possible for a student to take an incomplete grade and finish their studies at a further time.
Regardless, a high GPA comes from doing the work and there is no easy way out.
“Run-over results in Free Tuition”
This typical rumor is that if a student gets hit by bus or campus vehicle they receive free tuition as compensation.
“If an individual is struck, they have to make a claim and that claim could result in money awarded, but a student’s tuition is not automatically paid,” said Jeff Karcher, director of risk management.
Others part of the UW-System Administration Risk Management department agreed that the tuition being paid rumor is not a practice.
The myth was probably established from a misunderstanding. It is possible that a college student sued a driver who hit them and won the case, and then proceeded to use that money for tuition, but it is not possible for a student to simply be granted financial compensation without going through the legal system first.
Even so, if a student was struck by any vehicle, anywhere, they would have to go through the same process as a regular citizen.
“Anyone has the right to file a claim,” Karcher said. Although the situation depends on if the claim is approved and damages are awarded. Don’t go jumping in front of any vehicles because money will not be placed in your hands without the courts getting involved. Any accident can put a person at a risk of getting seriously injured and chances are, if money is awarded, it wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of tuition.
“Nelson Hall is Haunted”
It has been said that Nelson Hall is haunted and some believe this because it is an older building that holds a lot of history.
Thousands of people have passed through the doors of Nelson Hall having lived and studied there. Due to the buildings age, it is almost given that some of the residents have passed away since then.
“There may have been some unfinished business and it is possible that at times their presence was felt or believed to be near,” said Joe Konopacky, first shift custodial supervisor for Facilities Services.
“I do not believe it is haunted because I have had no experience personally here. I work here early in the morning and late at night and never had any supernatural encounter,” Konopacky said.
Since the building is old, many individuals have preconceived notions about possible hauntings.
“Like all older buildings and institutional settings, it seems as if human nature needs to have some stories, myths, and tales about what goes on in these spaces. People like to have stories and even may lie to experience a fright or encounter,” Konopacky said.
Stevens Point has lost many historical and original buildings. Being both old and historical, Nelson Hall is connected to the past and seems to welcome stories and ideas of hauntings.
“I haven’t seen anything personally and I’m a bit of a skeptic, but a lot of reasonable, fully-in- their-senses people truly believe it’s haunted, and I trust them. So I’m open to possibility,” said junior Jordan Straight.
Some people believe in the notion of ghosts and supernatural activity, but aside from a few personal experiences and stories, there is no way to confirm the rumor but to decide on your own.
“The best way to dispel the myth would be to encourage people to just go explore Nelson,” Straight said.
“The Mosaic Mural has a single Red Tile”
Specific to UWSP and heard mainly in the College of Natural Resources building, this rumor again proves to be false.
There are 286,200 tiny tiles in the mural and all of them are colored in shades of brown, tan and off-white.
A staff member in the Natural Resources building thinks the rumor may have stemmed from a tile resembling a vest to represent Chancellor Lee S. Dreyfus.
Dreyfus was recognized as always wearing a red vest. Even though the tile represents a vest in honor of Dreyfus, the tile is brown and tan.
The mural was cleaned in the summer of 2012 and Stacey Allen- Bannach, the public relations coordinator for the department of natural resources, asked the contractors cleaning the mural to check for a red tile. Contractors stated they did not see one, even near the top.
Whether the rumor is an undocumented case of a student receiving money or being awarded good grades, an unseen ghost in Nelson Hall, or a non-existent red mural tile, each of the four rumor s above have been dispelled.
Rumors may start from all different reasons, such as media, stories, unexplained incidents, but all rumors grow because of one reason… conversation.
“People are social creatures and they like to talk. That’s how rumors start,” Taylor said.
One last thing, it has been said that if a student kisses another student while church bells are ringing, the two lip-lockers will eventually get married. No evidence supports the theory, but if you are looking to get wed, pucker-up and wait to smooch on the hour.