As part of its slate of reforms announced in April, the controversial senior honor society formerly known as Michigamua dropped its name and began the search for a new one.
Nine months later, the society has decided on a replacement for the embattled moniker.
They’re just not telling the public what it is yet.
“A name was chosen last semester,” said member Andrew Yahkind, who often serves as the group’s unofficial spokesman. “We’re going through the logistical vetting now.”
Yahkind said the group plans to release the name in about three weeks.
The name Michigamua was chosen in 1902 to sound like a mythical Native American tribe. Before it was dropped, the name was seen as the lone remaining tenet of the society’s dark history of appropriating Native American rituals and artifacts.
Potential names include Union of the M, Maestus, The Order of Angell and Munus, according to an internal e-mail given to The Michigan Daily by a member of a former Michigamua class who wished to remain anonymous.
The society refused to confirm or deny the potential names.
The source released the naming options so that the public could raise red flags about the offensiveness of potential names if necessary, the source said.
The e-mail is dated Dec. 10. Sent to a private e-mail group named firstname.lastname@example.org, it asks for recipients’ thoughts on the group’s “top naming options.”
It is not clear whether the new name is one of the options in the e-mail. However, the e-mail is dated only shortly before the group says it decided on a new name.
According to the e-mail, if the group were to be named Union of the M, it would also be known as the Ms. The group is reputed to have had a large hand in the construction of the Michigan Union.
“The ‘union’ serves multiple purposes as a word that links us, and of course is also a physical symbol as the building and place on campus where diverse student leaders come together for campus,” the e-mail said.
Alternatives are the Ms, M Society, Order of the M and the M Circle, the e-mail said.
Maestus is a Latin word for passionate fire, according to the e-mail.
“Using a Latin word can also augment the theme on our University seal: Artes, Scientia, Veritas (art, science, truth),” the e-mail said.
Listed alternatives are M fire, Blue Flame and Ring of Fire.
The Order of the Angell is at least partly a nod to James B. Angell – the University’s president from 1871 to 1909, a founder of the society and the namesake of Angell Hall.
It’s also a nod to the society’s past.
“The ‘order’ symbolizes how we have evolved over time, using different names, but truly being a part of one long-lasting legacy,” the e-mail said.
Listed alternatives to this option are The Angell Society, the Angells and The Order.
Munus means service, duty or gift in Greek and Latin.
“It emphasizes the duty that we have to campus to serve as leaders while also acknowledging the gift or honor that is bestowed upon each person who is tapped into the organization,” the e-mail said.
Muneris, a Latin word with a similar meaning to Munus, is suggested as an alternative.
The e-mail identifies the group’s guidelines in picking a new name. The first is that it should be mysterious.
“The name/theme should be somewhat enigmatic in order to capture people’s attention and peak their curiosity about the group in a positive way,” the e-mail said.
The second criterion is that the name provide a connection to the past but allow the group to “easily expand upon a central idea that will create new layered and meaningful traditions.”
The third is that it let the group “continue to incorporate our commitment to (both the past and future of) Michigan.”
The fourth is that emphasize the group’s role of campus leadership. The final criterion is that it be distinct enough from previous monikers.
“(It should not) divert future years from their goals to Fight Like Hell,” the e-mail said.
But the e-mail goes on to say that the name “must respect and honor the path that brought us here.”
The society’s past has been fraught with controversy. Some on campus view the group as synonymous with racism, sexism and elitism. However, it has undergone significant change as of late, including releasing the names of its latest two classes of members, the “prides” of 2006 and 2007.
It still has not made public its numerous “Honorary Angells,” at least some of who are University administrators and faculty.
The society began admitting women in 2000 and has recently started tapping a more diverse membership, which can be seen in members’ political viewpoints, races and sexual orientations.
Instead of ‘Gamua
Some potential names for the honor society formerly known as Michigamua, according to an internal e-mail dated Dec. 10 :
Union of the M
The Order of Angell
Order of the M
Ring of Fire
The Order of the Angell
The Angell Society