New secret society, The Ten, seeks to reclaim elitism
E-mail reveals new organization to selection of student leaders, administrators across Grounds
A new organization that claims to be a secret society has emerged on Grounds, touting its mission "to protect student self-governance, to reignite students' absent strength of spirit and to chide the insufficient and debauched elements." Known as The Ten, the society's members "wish to differentiate [themselves] and to also create a culture of elitism," according to an e-mail sent to The Cavalier Daily by an anonymous member of the group.
"The Ten want only the best," the e-mail stated. "The most creative. The most proactive. The most enthusiastic. We want everyone who isn't a tool, fratstar, sorostitute or wishy-washy rich kid. The Ten is a meritocracy - and The Ten strongly believe some University leaders are just not worth our time, whereas others clearly are."
The Ten differentiates itself from other secret societies on Grounds by its open application process for membership, which will last until March 10, according to the group's Web site, the10uva.wordpress.com.
The Ten hopes to accept members who will improve the state of elitism at the University, according to the e-mail and Web site.
"Elitism on Grounds isn't practiced rightly," the anonymous society member stated. "There's a difference between the elitism that guides the Honor Committee and various fraternities on Grounds and the elitism that guided the true, honorable gentleman of the past. We believe the best should carry themselves as the best - but that if the weak and childish carry themselves as the best, something is wrong. It's not arrogance - it's elitism practiced rightly, when the best are honored and adored, and competition breeds better and better members of society."
To reveal these intentions to the University community, The Ten introduced itself via e-mail to leaders such as Dean of Students Allen Groves, University Judiciary Chair Michael Chapman, Student Council College representative Eugene Resnick and JJ Litchford, the Honor Committee's vice chair for community relations. The society followed the first e-mail with another one that claimed The Ten knew how many times those leaders opened the first e-mail - or if they deleted it altogether.
Chapman and Resnick said The Ten's account of their e-mail activity is, in fact, accurate.
Resnick - of whom The Ten spoke positively because he opened the initial e-mail four times - said he was "very disturbed" by the society's tracking capabilities. Nevertheless, he said he remains skeptical about the organization's legitimacy.
"They said, 'Your interest will not be forgotten,'" Resnick said. "I thought it was OK that Dean Groves and my name were in the same sentence but I don't know whether this is an actual organization or a farce."
Chapman, on the other hand, was scolded by The Ten because he deleted the first e-mail and unsubscribed from future messages from the society. Chapman said this message felt like an intrusion of privacy but said he is fine with at least one aspect of this public disclosure.
"If they want to show to all those people that I don't believe in their ideals, that's fine with me," Chapman said.
The Ten, however, specified that the e-mail was nothing but humorous.
"Honestly, please don't take such preliminary remarks to be anything but a bit of attempted (but sorely lacking) comedy," a society member stated. "The real reason THE TEN are reaching out again, of course, is to emphasize that we are a very real and very serious society of like-minded brothers and to emphasize that we are very real and very serious about receiving applications."
Though the group may take itself seriously, second-year Architecture student Jamie Dean questioned the group's ideals, as it thus far does not seem to live up to her idea that University secret societies are supposed to give back to the community. Moreover, she added that she does not think the organization is fulfilling its own goals.
"I think the fact that you're chosen to be in [The Ten] doesn't make it elitist," she said.
Chapman added that he is unsure of the organization's future.
"It either could go very positively or it could end up very negatively," he said. "I guess it depends on whether the group amounts to anything or not."
-Bethel Habte contributed to this article.