In an exclusive disclosure to The Michigan Daily, Order of Angell — the elite senior society on campus formerly known as Michigamua — released the names of its newest members.
Order announced the names of the 22 students who make up the class of 2012 in a press release issued Friday. As in recent years, the organization’s newest class includes leaders from a variety of campus organizations, including athletic teams, service organizations and religious and ethnic groups.
A maximum of 25 seniors are selected, or “tapped,” for membership each year by the outgoing members to carry on the mission of the organization.
According to a document provided by the group, Order aims to “advance exceptional leadership through a lifelong loyalty to and engagement with the University of Michigan.”
The document outlined that the group does this by working toward its six core goals — bringing successful and diverse leaders together through membership in Order, “creating a forum of purpose” in which constructive dialogue can occur, “facilitating campus synergy” to bring about positive change, increasing the influence of leaders on campus by better informing them about issues on campus, building lifelong connections to the University and to “reflect and engage” on the University’s “values, spirit and aspirations.”
The organization has come under fire in the past for using Native American artifacts as part of its operations. But in 1989, then-Michigamua signed an agreement in which it agreed, according to the organization’s press release, to “eliminate all references to Native American culture … with one exception being the name Michigamua.”
However, in 2000, members of the Students of Color Coalition entered the seventh floor of the Michigan Union tower — a space indefinitely leased to the senior honor society — and discovered what it alleged were Native American artifacts. Members of the Students of Color Coalition said the discovery violated the 1989 agreement.
In documents given to the Daily by Order, the organization reaffirmed its position that no such discovery of Native American artifacts ever occurred.
“There was never an independent review of the break in,” the document from Order states. “Any claim by the protestors that cultural objects were in view or in use are all ‘alleged’ or ‘claims.’ ”
The 2000 incident, as well as the group’s non-disclosure of its membership in some years, have cast criticism on the group for being secretive.
However, Order spokesman James Stinson III, an LSA senior, wrote in an e-mail interview that the idea that the group is “less transparent than other groups” is a misconception.
“We have continuously offered and will continue to offer to speak to any individual or group that would like to learn more about us or our members,” Stinson wrote.
Asked about the allegations made by the Students of Color Coalition in 2000, Stinson wrote that Order of Angell has made attempts to improve its relationship with groups they may have offended in the past.
“Order has done a great deal to mend relationships with individuals and groups that care enough to listen and share with us,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, there are a small number of organizations that continue to use us as a political tool.”
He added: “They are blatantly discriminatory, block members of their own communities from having the freedom to choose their affiliations and hide behind accusations of hate instead of engaging in real discourse.”
Though Order says it often works behind the scenes as it does not seek recognition for its efforts, the group took a public stance last year in defense of then-Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong, who is a member of Order’s 2011 class. As part of it’s support of Armstrong, Stinson and fellow Order member Alexander Wood, an LSA senior, wrote a viewpoint in The Michigan Daily. The viewpoint criticized Andrew Shirvell, a former Michigan assistant attorney general, for his actions against Armstrong and his characterization of Order.
“Using Order of Angell as a scapegoat and shroud for discrimination only circumvents confronting actual issues,” the two wrote at the time in their viewpoint.
In his e-mail interview last weekend, Stinson urged those who may still have concerns about the group’s image to be open to a two-way discussion with the group.
“The only path to healing is to open the doors, not to shun truth or simple human dignity and courtesy,” Stinson wrote. “Our door is open to those who are willing to listen and reflect.”
— Because of her membership in the group, Editor in Chief Stephanie Steinberg did not edit this story.
Order of Angell Class of 2012:
Eman Abdelhadi: Muslim Students’ Association
Vidhi Bamzai: South Asian Awareness Network
Tim Bergsma: Men’s Soccer
Jonathan Blaha: Army ROTC
Michael Brown: Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan
Amanda Chidester: Softball
Meagan Cobb: Water Polo
Laura Flusty: Relay For Life
Luke Glendening: Ice Hockey
Matthew Griffith: Men’s Glee Club
Jonathan Hornstein: University of Michigan Hillel
Alex Hunt: Volleyball
Chatoris Jones: Intellectual Minds Making A Difference
Jeff Larkin: LSA Student Government
Aryn Lipnicki: Society of Women Engineers
Dan Madwed: Men’s Swimming and Diving
Ankit Mehta: MPowered Entrepreneurship
Patrick Omameh: Football
Kellen Russell: Wrestling
Clare Stachel: Women’s Soccer
Stephanie Steinberg: The Michigan Daily
Vivian Yu: Circle K
Honorary Member — Ken Fischer: University Musical Society
Source: Order of Angell