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June 04, 2012 10:00 AM Secret Societies Now Not That Elite

By Daniel Luzer

When American think of Yale’s famous secret societies, they mostly imagine something like Skull and Bones, Yale’s club that’s rumored to include large portions of the American ruling class. Skull and Bones is supposed to select major campus figures, and likely future leaders, and groom them to rule the world, or something. Being a member of a secret society seems sort of exclusive.

And it seems it used to be that way, but probably not any more. According to a like an article by Ben Schenkel in the Yale Herald:

Of the self-identified seniors who were asked if they belong to a society, 120 of them—50.6 percent—said they do. That figure alone is close to a tenth of the Class of 2012. Considering that a 2000 article in the Atlantic reported that “fewer than a tenth” of Yale’s seniors take part, it appears that the last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the number of secret societies. Several other pieces of evidence point to this same conclusion.
Many of these societies emerged recently, and only a handful of them can claim any Yale heritage predating the Clinton years. In other words, this is a society culture far more nebulous and pervasive…. It’s gone mainstream.

It’s starting to look like practically anyone can get in now.

Granted, merely going to Yale at all makes one a member of a pretty exclusive club, but come on.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer