Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"the machine" hella weak at mizzou?

themaneater |  MU’s chapter resumed in 2003, according to Theta Nu Epsilon’s website. From 2004 until 2007 there are reports of new initiates in the fall and spring semesters. Anywhere from five to 11 members per semester have been inducted, according to the website. Fall initiation occurs in November and spring initiation is in April, though there are discrepancies and inconsistencies concerning these dates on the website.

Rather than participating in Tap Day, Theta Nu Epsilon marks initiation through banquets, according to the national website. ΘΝΕ has never participated in Tap Day ceremonies.

The founder of MU’s Theta Nu Epsilon chapter might have also played a role in the creation of QEBH, a senior class society and the oldest recognized secret society on campus. Dr. Royall Hill Switzler founded the organization in 1898, three years after the establishment of Theta Nu Epsilon.

Defoe reportedly held an advisory position for QEBH, according to the chapter website of Theta Nu Epsilon at MU. From 1900-1902, six students were listed in The Savitar as having membership in both Theta Nu Epsilon and QEBH. Today, prominent inductees of QEBH include Chancellor Brady Deaton and Vice Chancellor Cathy Scroggs.

The most recent connection between the two societies was in 2007. MU’s ΘΝΕ website listed MU graduate Dustin Barker as the president of the society that year. Barker was inducted into QEBH in 2007. In a phone interview, he acknowledged the website but said he has not had contact with Theta Nu Epsilon recently. Barker described the organization as having an on-and-off presence on campus.

Current QEBH members were not familiar with Theta Nu Epsilon or the connection between the two organizations’ histories.

Every year, QEBH inducts one sophomore to become president as a senior. Junior Rachel Newman was inducted last year and said she was shocked after learning she would be recognized.
“The common bond between all the societies here is that members seek to preserve the best interest for the university and promote all the university has given them,” Newman said.
Scroggs said these honor societies are meaningful at the university and provide students a chance to alert employers of their success, as they would with an honors diploma or other achievements.

There are similar honors societies on campus such as Mizzou 39, but membership is public. According to the Mizzou Alumni Association website, seniors are “chosen for their academic achievement, leadership and service to Mizzou and the community.”

Scroggs said QEBH recognizes its inductees based on their service, involvement, leadership and academic success on campus. The difference between public and private societies is the time of recognition, she said. Mizzou 39 is a senior award while most of the Tap Day organizations recognize juniors.

“Students take pride in being recognized by other students,” Scroggs said. “The fact that it’s secret makes it that more special.”

QEBH members were hesitant to speak on the record due to the secrecy surrounding their organization.

Despite this, members are publicly recognized on Tap Day and some have even listed QEBH on their LinkedIn profiles. Some members of Mortar Board Society, Mystical Seven and Omicron Delta Kappa have also posted their membership on LinkedIn.

While MU shows no evidence of having a political machine like Alabama, there is a documented concentration of campus-wide power in secret societies.

Of the 61 undergraduates tapped last year, 43 percent belong to a fraternity or sorority. Twenty-six percent of those undergraduates were also awarded Mizzou 39 membership this year. Other popular organizations were Homecoming Steering Committee or Homecoming Court, the Missouri Students Association, Summer Welcome and honor fraternities.