Correction appended: This article said LSA junior Aria Everts was “tapped” by the group. Group members say they talked to her but never “tapped” her to join the group. This story also mistakenly referred to the society as The Order of Angell. Its name is Order of Angell.
The Order of Angell, the elite senior society previously known as Michigamua, announced on Friday the names of its new class of students for the upcoming academic year.
The 21 students who comprise the group’s “Pride of 2009” class include presidents of student organizations, captains of University athletic teams and student government leaders.
For the past 106 years, a group of up to 25 University seniors has been chosen by the group’s previous class of members. Students are individually selected, or “tapped,” to continue the group’s mission, which is “to advance exceptional leadership through a lifelong loyalty to and engagement with the University of Michigan,” according to a press release announcing the group’s 2008-2009 members.
James Burrill Angell, a former president of the University and the group’s namesake, is largely credited for establishing the group with a select group of seniors during his tenure as University President in 1902.
The Order of Angell’s constitution says the group’s purpose is to unite leaders from various student groups and discuss ways to further the University’s interests and values.
In addition to upholding the long-held traditions of the group, each class of members also adopts specific objectives that they hope to accomplish every year.
A press release announcing the Order of Angell’s “Pride of 2009” class said objectives for this year’s group include connecting “diverse proven leaders,” facilitating “campus synergy” and creating a “forum of purpose.”
“On a campus where we often stay in our own orbitals, Order of Angell is a really diverse organization on campus,” said LSA junior Madeline Stano, a spokeswoman for the group, in an e-mail interview. “Rarely, do student-athletes and organization leaders from all parts of campus meet regularly to learn about each other and discuss campus issues. Once these leaders develop strong relationships, they are able to collaborate, support and brainstorm effective ways to serve campus.”
A list of the group’s former members reads more like a hall of fame of University alumni.
Though the group didn’t begin releasing the names of its members to the public until 2006, past Order of Angell members include President Gerald Ford, Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler and University presidents Angell, Henry Hutchins, Alexander Ruthven, Harlan Hatcher and Robben Fleming. More recent members include football players Mike Hart and Jake Long, Michigan Student Assembly presidents Nicole Stallings and Zach Yost and College Democrats President Sam Harper.
Although the group has a history of selecting some of the University’s most outstanding campus leaders, it is also plagued by a controversial past.
Facing allegations of racism stemming from its previous name, Michigamua, the group announced in 2006 it would stop using the name. The name Michigamua, originally chosen in 1902, was meant to sound like a mythical Native American tribe.
In 2000, a group called the Students of Color Coalition found Native American artifacts during a takeover of the group’s office in the tower of the Michigan Union.
They said that showed the group had violated an agreement made with the University and Native American students in 1989, in which Michigamua promised to stop using Native American artifacts and rituals as part of its proceedings.
After the findings were publicized, Michigamua’s vacated its space in the Michigan Union and the group severed all official ties with the University.
The group said at the time that the artifacts were in storage and weren’t being used at the time of the tower takeover. In 2000, the group also began considering women for membership into the society for the first time.
Though the Michigamua office in the tower of the Union remains vacant, the group returned as an officially recognized student group in April 2007 under its new name, the Order of Angell.
Despite these changes, some students still declined an invitation to join the ranks of some of the University’s most famous alumni.
LSA junior Aria Everts, a member of Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality, didn’t join the Order of Angell after she was tapped.
Everts said her decision was based on a personal stance against the elitism represented by the group.
“Even with the name change, nothing has changed. You can have new names and new faces, but you’re still only including 25 people that are acting as though they represent campus,” Everts said. “Without a true democratic process, it’s inevitable that members’s personal agendas are going to be put ahead of the real needs of campus.”
In response to accusations that the Order of Angell is a secret society, Stano said the group has always maintained an open dialogue with students and other campus groups who have questions about the Order of Angell.
She said this year’s class plans to continue campus outreach activities.
“Most everything we do on campus is in support of or in collaboration with the broader community,” Stano said.
– Because of his membership in the group, Editor in Chief Andrew Grossman did not edit this story.
NEW ORDER MEMBERS
Among the group’s “Pride of 2009” class are the presidents of MSA and LSA-SG, student-athletes and various leaders of campus organizations.
Adam Abraham: Baseball
Ryan Bouchard: Army ROTC
Kristine Cramer: Solar Car Team
Danny Fardig: Ice Hockey
Andrew Grossman: The Michigan Daily
Mike Holody: Men’s Soccer
Jenny Howard: Dance Marathon
Stephanie Hoyer: Field Hockey
Ashley Issa: Society of Women Engineers
Ashwin Lalendran: MPowered Entrepreneurship
Jamie Martone: Men’s Swimming
Katie Miler: Women’s Soccer
Tim Miller: Ice Hockey
Jose Nunez: Interfraternity Council
Tiffany Ofili: Women’s Track and Field
Ashwin Ramnath: Indian American Student Association
Sabrina Shingwani: Michigan Student Assembly
Gabrielle Sims: Black Volunteer Network
Madeline Stano: Amnesty International, Human Rights Through Education
Neil Tambe: Interfraternity Council
Leslie Zaikis: LSA-Student Government
HONORARY MEMBER: Carol Hutchins, Coach, Michigan Softball
SOURCE: The Order of Angell