Yale’s resident tabloid-style magazine Rumpus which touts itself as “the only magazine at Yale about stuff at Yale,” (and has been know to write about Yalies’ cruder sides, and is totally NSFW) took it upon itself last month to release an exhaustive list of the University’s secret societies, and the hundreds of names that populate them.What this list—and a timely, and equally exhaustive, piece from The Yale Herald—seems to suggest is that the “secret society,” arguably one of Yale’s most famous assets, has gone mainstream.
The Herald’s reporting, based on a few faculty and alumnae/i perspectives and an online survey answered by 1,369 members (or roughly one-fourth) of the undergraduate student body, gave us a clearer idea of where this phenom was coming from. Here’s what we took away:
- 50.6% of surveyed seniors belonged to a secret society
- 63% of surveyed juniors were “under consideration” for at least one secret society
- 73% of surveyed underclassmen would join a secret society if tapped
- One GDI said he would give $100 million to the University under the clause that secret societies were eliminated
- “Many” juniors described the tap process with the following: “stressed,” “confused,” “phony,” “inadequate,” “gross,” “woozy,” “paranoid,” and “judged”
That seems like a whole lot of woozy. And it is, at least compared the numbers Alexandra Robbins (Yale ’98) reported in her 2000 tell-all in The Atlantic.
“Fewer than a tenth of Yale’s 1,400 seniors are members of the university’s secret societies, which many undergraduates view as self-serving vehicles for real and aspiring aristocrats”
That’s—if we take The Herald’s survey as representative of the whole student body—a 500% per cent twelve-year growth in total membership. Wowsa.