The Maneater

Secret societies LSV and Mystical 7 call out injustices at MU on Tap Day

The speeches took place at the MU secret societies reveal Friday.

Students stand waiting to be unveiled as they are tapped into one of the secret societies of the UM on April 22. The secret society QEBH, is one of seven secret societies here at UM.

As a line of hooded figures crowded into Jesse Hall, audience members craned their necks for a glimpse of who might be under the disguise. The select students and faculty behind the hoods were tapped into one of the six secret societies at MU on Friday.

This was the 89th Tap Day, the MU tradition in which new members of Mortar Board, Q.E.B.H., Mystical Seven, LSV, Omicron Delta Kappa and Rollins Society are unveiled and officially initiated. Some faculty and staff members are also “tapped” as honorary members.

Before unveiling the inductees under the hoods, a member of each secret society spoke. Mystical 7 and LSV, the women’s secret society, presented speeches that got a very big audience reaction.

Belquis Elhadi and Sequoyah Moore, the speakers from LSV, spoke out against racial and sexual injustice on campus. They directly called out the way university administration handled the racial climate on campus last semester. In response, the crowd frequently shouted words of encouragement and clapped in agreement as the two women were speaking.

When describing one of the initiates, Elhadi said: “Last semester, she found herself crying in the bathroom because she did not feel safe after seeing the threats that were made towards black students at the university.” With each introduction they read, gender and racial equality were the focus, and at one point the campus was even described as a “toxic environment.”

Senior Rivu Dasgupta delivered the opening for Mystical 7 and discussed how there are other students and faculty on campus who deserve recognition besides those honored at the ceremony. He advised the crowd to stop “denying and search for a solution” to issues such as systemic oppression that plague campus.

“As I am looking into a crowd of my mentors, peers and friends, many of whom have pushed themselves to absolutely stubborn limits for the bettering of our campus, saving so many lives along the way,” Dasgupta said. “I can’t help but demand that more than 15 percent of those people receive this stage.”

The societies’ selection processes are kept confidential. Individuals tapped are told at different times throughout the year about their selection and are to keep it a secret until the Tap Day ceremony in April. Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board and Rollins Society require applications.

Gary Pinkel, former Missouri football coach, was initiated into Q.E.B.H., and Missouri volleyball player Julia Towler was initiated into Mortar Board. Two staff members of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, outgoing coordinator Jonathan McElderry and administrative assistant Velma Buckner, were tapped into Omicron Delta Kappa and LSV respectively.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs spoke at the event about how much of an honor it is to be tapped.

“The people honored have a commitment to ideas and principles that MU has for higher learning,” Scroggs said. “Good works merit recognition today.”

Kyle Holtzman, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, said their selection process is blind and members are selected based on merit. Mortar Board requires members interested in applying to have a 3.3 cumulative GPA and junior standing at the university. Those tapped into Rollins Society are selected after a member of either Rollins Society or the MU community completes a nomination application on their behalf.

Senior Christopher Trunell was tapped into Q.E.B.H last year, a secret society whose members are carefully selected each year by members of the current class. Trunell advises the new initiates of each society to appreciate the moment.

“Enjoy the moment that is Tap Day and cherish the bonds that you will inevitably form in this organization,” Trunell said in an email. “At first the seven taps come in as strangers, but after spending an entire year together, you will create some of your best friendships.”

Edited by Waverly Colville | wcolville@themaneater.com

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