Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Mystique of the Iron Arrow Honor Society

[Image: iajacket.jpg]

The Mystique of the Iron Arrow Honor Society

October 15, 2029

Weekly Report Posted: December 12, 2012 09:40

The Iron Arrow Honor Society is a highly selective secret society and honor society at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida for students, faculty, staff and alumni. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the university.

Founded at the University of Miami in 1926, the society admits about thirty members annually, including undergraduates, students at the School of Law, and Miller School of Medicine. Membership is based on unanimous votes of the membership. Criteria include scholarship, leadership, character, humility, and love of alma mater.

Historically, the society was male-only, founded as the "The Highest Honor Attained by Men". In 1937 Nu Kappa Tau, a sister but distinctly separate organization, was founded as "The Highest Honor Attained by Women", but in 1966 its members chose to affiliate with the national women's honor society, Mortar Board, and as Randy Femmer wrote in his book Iron Arrow: A History, ]"leaving Iron Arrow to carry the tradition alone".

In 1976 the federal government notified the University of Miami that it was providing significant assistance to Iron Arrow in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The university responded by having Iron Arrow move its tapping ceremony off campus and negotiated with it to accept women members. In turn, Iron Arrow sued the federal government seeking the right to continue on campus as a male-only organization. In 1982 University President Edward T. Foote II wrote to Iron Arrow stating that regardless of how the court case came out, Iron Arrow would not be allowed back on campus as a male-only organization. This rendered the court case moot before it was scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Iron Arrow Honor Soc. v. Heckler, 464 U.S. 67 (1983).

In 1985 the society's all-male membership voted to admit women, and Iron Arrow was allowed back on campus.

Members of the society are sworn to secrecy about the details of the society's initiation ceremony. Members wear stylized Seminole patchwork jackets.

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