Secret Society - Definition - Colleges and Universities

Colleges and Universities

Many student societies established on university campuses in the United States have been considered secret societies. Perhaps one of the most famous secret college societies is Skull and Bones at Yale. The University of Georgia has a similar, highly secretive society called Gridiron Secret Society. Its purpose and membership are a closely guarded secret and there is speculation that Skull and Bones and Gridiron Secret Society are somehow linked together. University of Virginia also has a long history of secret societies playing an active role in University life. The influence of undergraduate secret societies at colleges such as Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rutgers University, Washington and Lee University, Harvard College, New York University, and Wellesley College has been publicly acknowledged, if anonymously and circumspectly, since the 19th century.

British Universities, too, have a long history of secret societies or quasi-secret societies, such as The Pitt Club at Cambridge University, Bullingdon Club at Oxford University, the 16' Club at St David's College and the Speculative Society at the University of Edinburgh.

In Canada, there are currently two secret societies at institutions of higher learning currently known. At the University of Trinity College, a component of the University of Toronto, there is the controversial Episkopon, founded in 1858. McGill University in Montreal is home to the notorious Renard Noir Society, a secret society known for its libertine endeavours, heavy consumption of absinthe, and vandalism.

Secret societies are disallowed in a few colleges. Virginia Military Institute has rules that no cadet may join a secret society, and secret societies have been banned at Oberlin College from 1847 to the present, and at Princeton University since the beginning of the 20th century.

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    I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
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