Theta Nu Epsilon

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Theta Nu Epsilon

ΘΝΕ

TNEemblem.png
Founded: December 11, 1870
Wesleyan University
Official Colors: Green and Black            
National Headquarters: A national organization is maintained by the Alpha Chapter.
Badge:

Founded at Wesleyan University in 1870 as a chapter of Skull and Bones,[1] Theta Nu Epsilon (ΘΝΕ, commonly known as T.N.E.) is a sophomore class society that accepts members regardless of their fraternity status.[2]

Early history[edit]

Theta Nu Epsilon was founded on December 11, 1870 in Room Seven of Wesleyan’s South College by Herbert Hull Coston, Coleridge Allen Hart, George Washington Shonk, Lyman Horace Weeks, (all four Alpha Delta Phi), Benjamin Emmons Gerst, Arthur Collins McClay, George Bickford Davey Toy, (all four Delta Kappa Epsilon), Stephen Judson Kirby, George Henry Towle, Alfred Charles True, (all four Eclectic), George William Elliott, Charles Hamlin Furber, William Henry Lawrence, Olin Levings Livesey, (all four Psi Upsilon), Amos Howard Hoagland, (independent). Founded as the Wesleyan chapter of Skull & Bones, two years later the chapter cut its ties to Yale and changed the bones of the Skull & Bones emblem to keys.[3]

Class societies were once common in northeastern American colleges and universities. There were freshman, sophomore, junior and senior class societies. Membership was by class year, and cut across the fraternity membership lines. Some class societies became fraternities outside the northeast; DKE and Alpha Sigma Phi were founded as class societies. Skull & Bones and Theta Nu Epsilon were probably the most famous and successful class societies.[4]

T.N.E. is a sophomore class society, and in a traditional type chapter, members were chosen near the end of their freshman or start of their sophomore year. Once selected, the new members were active and responsible for operation of the chapter during their sophomore year. As juniors and seniors, they were considered honorary members and only had authority in an advisory role. The society always excluded freshmen. From the beginning, the identities of the sophomore members were kept secret. In yearbooks, the names of the sophomores appeared in code. The Alpha Chapter and legitimate chapters continue this traditional type.[5] Several latter types of chapters developed over time: one type is that of the three-year society, adopted by chapters at many institutions without a class society system, a third type was as a feeder organization to a senior society, a fourth type was where the chapter acted as an interfraternity coordinating body, and a fifth type was as a wholly secret society, (which were usually chapters that had notorious reputations).

National organization[edit]

Theta Nu Epsilon had immediate success at Wesleyan, and it grew rapidly and spread throughout colleges across the United States. The Alpha Chapter at Wesleyan acted as the national organization and continued to grant charters until 1907. The society's first convention was at the Delevan House hotel in Albany in 1885, and conventions were held annually thereafter. A movement for a formal national organization resulted in a convention was held at the Hotel Astor in New York on March 29 and 30, 1907. The convention established a national governing body which was incorporated the society under the laws of the State of New York. The new national organization was given the authority to manage the national operations of TNE and grant new chapters.[2][6]

Internal Struggles[edit]

As early as the turn of the century, there were chapters created informally and without official sanction, especially in the South. The new national organization attempted to unify all chapters of the society, but the process proceeded slowly. Some illicit chapters became very problematic for the society. Several of these chapters were banned from campuses, and many fraternities prohibited members from accepting membership in the society. These events negatively affected the reputation of the society.

Also, because of internal differences in the society, in the 1910s, many of the older legitimate chapters reorganized themselves as independent organizations which were loosely allied across campuses.

In 1913, the National Interfraternity Conference (predecessor to the current North-American Interfraternity Conference) officially announced its opposition to T.N.E. and recommended to the fraternities represented in the conference that they forbid their members to join Theta Nu Epsilon[7] The relations between Theta Nu Epsilon and the N.I.C. improved and the N.I.C. retracted its opposition at its session in New York, 1925.[8] Theta Nu Epsilon was later accepted as a member of the N.I.C. in the 1930s.[9]

An attempt was made to convert a small portion of the then existing chapters into a four-year college fraternity in the 1930s. At the same time, some of the most notorious activity seems to have been among some illegitimate chapters in the far West in the late 1930s and 40s.

It is frequently assumed that all Theta Nu Epsilon members are also members of four-year college fraternities, but that has never been a requirement of membership. However, it is true that very many members have been members of four-year fraternities. There have been chapters that have operated exclusively that way, and the independent former chapter at Alabama is a well-known example of a group operating solely as an interfraternity coordinating organization.

Post WWII history[edit]

Although the national organization stopped operating in World War II, some of the chapters of that national continued into the late 1940s. Henry Kelly ultimately merged his efforts with the Alpha Chapter. Some, but not all, of these independent chapters began initiating women as members in the 1970s. The national organization of the Alpha chapter currently reports chapters at Wesleyan, the University of Missouri, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Virginia.

Several of the older chapters that separated in the early 1900s have survived as independent entities on their respective campuses. These include Skull & Keys at the University of California, Berkeley, Skull and Bones at Yale University, The Phoenix – S K Club at Harvard University, the Tejas Club at the University of Texas at Austin, The Machine at the University of Alabama, Skull Society at the University of Maine, Cap and Skull at Rutgers University, and a group using the T.N.E. name at the University of Nebraska.[10][11]

Official chapters[edit]

Because of early splits in the national organization, several unofficial national coalitions and rogue groups granted their own charters. As a result, many conflicts exist surrounding the actual founding dates and chapter designations, even at the institutions that had officially recognized groups. The following list of chapters is composed of all chapters either founded by the Alpha, or founded by the successive nationals from 1907 to 1949, or made legitize after their original founding. Institution names have been modernized where necessary.[12]

  • Alpha - Wesleyan University - 1870
  • Beta - Syracuse University - 1872-1925
  • Gamma - Union College - 1874-1925
  • Delta - Cornell University - 1877-1913
  • Epsilon - University of Rochester - 1878-1944
  • Zeta - University of California - 1879
  • Eta - Colgate University - 1880
  • Theta - Kenyon College - 1881-1964
  • Iota - Case Western Reserve University - 1881-1921
  • Kappa - Hamilton College - 1882
  • Lambda' - Williams College - 1882-1923
  • Lambda - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - 1882
  • Mu - Stevens Institute of Technology - 1883-1935
  • Nu - Lafayette College - 1884
  • Beta Beta - Ohio Wesleyan University - 1884-1930
  • Xi - Amherst College - 1885-1925
  • Omicron' - Lehigh University - 1887-1907
  • Omicron - Allegheny College - 1887-1924
  • Pi' - Dickinson College - 1887
  • Pi - Pennsylvania State College - 1888-1940
  • Kappa Theta - University of Pennsylvania - 1888-1919
  • Alpha Rho - University of Alabama - 1888
  • Sigma - New York University - 1889 - 1972
  • Alpha Alpha (Indiana Alpha) - Purdue University - 1882-1992
  • Psi Omega - University of the South - 1890-1913
  • Alpha Phi - University of Mississippi - 1890-1929
  • Beta Beta - University of Iowa - 1890-1929
  • Tau - Wooster University - 1891-1923
  • Kappa Kappa - Northwestern University - 1891-1929
  • Phi - Rutgers University - 1892-1916
  • Upsilon - University of Michigan - 1892-1930
  • Delta Delta - University of Maine - 1893-1930
  • Chi - Dartmouth College - 1893-1925
  • Psi - Ohio State University - 1893-1931
  • Omega - Stanford University - 1893-1936
  • Alpha Epsilon - University of Minnesota - 1893-1934
  • Alpha Alpha - Bowdoin College - 1893-1930
  • Alpha Beta - University of Kansas - 1893-1929
  • Alpha Gamma - Duke University - 1914-1930
  • Alpha Delta - Illinois Wesleyan University - 1893-1925
  • Alpha Sigma - Washington & Lee University - 1894-1912
  • Alpha Zeta - University of Chicago - 1894-1934
  • Gamma Gamma - University of Wisconsin - 1894-1934
  • Gamma Gamma - Trinity College - 1894-1930
  • Omega - Swarthmore College - 1894-1913
  • Alpha Epsilon - University of Colorado - 1894-1929
  • Alpha Eta - University of Nebraska - 1894-1929
  • Epsilon Epsilon - Case Western Reserve University, Medical - 1895-1919
  • Alpha Theta - University of Missouri - 1895
  • Kappa Kappa - University of Texas - 1895-1929
  • Omega Omega - Georgia Institute of Technology - 1895-1955
  • Alpha Omicron - Cumberland University - 1896
  • Zeta Zeta - Indiana University - 1898-1924
  • Theta Theta - West Virginia University - 1898-1930
  • Kappa Gamma - University of Vermont Medical School - 1898-1914
  • Omicron Omega - Saint Lawrence University - 1898-1930
  • Mu Beta - Brown University - 1900-1930
  • Princeton - Princeton University - 1900-1902
  • Theta Tau - University of Illinois - 1901-1934
  • Alpha Omega - Columbia University - 1901-1930
  • Beta Omicron - Colby College - 1902-1930
  • Beta Mu - Emory University - 1902-1923
  • Sigma Alpha - Westminster College - 1902-1929
  • Beta Eta - Muhlenberg College - 1902-1912
  • Tau Tau - Baker University - 1902
  • Nu Mu - Auburn University - 1902-1929
  • Omicron Omicron - Ohio Northern University - 1903-1921
  • Pi Phi - University of Virginia - 1893
  • Pi Pi - Dickinson College of Law - 1903-1925
  • Lambda Sigma - Yale University - 1903-1930
  • Omega Nu - University of Maryland - 1904-1914
  • Phi Phi - University of Arkansas - 1904-1930
  • Zeta Phi - Boston University - 1904-1914
  • Kappa Rho - University of Maryland at Baltimore, (BCDS) - 1904-1929
  • Zeta Phi - Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 1904-1916
  • Omega Kappa - University of Maryland at Baltimore, Medical School. - 1904-1915
  • Sigma Rho - University of Georgia - 1904-1915
  • Sigma Phi - University of Tennessee Medical College - 1908-1929
  • Eta Eta - University of Massachusetts - 1909
  • Gamma Beta - Thomas Jefferson University - 1909-1928
  • Epsilon Deuteron - University of Rochester Alumni Chapter, Theta Pi Sigma - 1909-1942
  • Zeta Zeta - University of Wyoming - 1910-1917
  • Rho Rho - Norwich University - 1910-1930
  • Sigma Tau - University of Maryland at Baltimore, Medical School. - 1910-1934
  • Nu Nu - Marquette University - 1911-1936
  • Xi Xi - University of Louisville - 1911-1935
  • Sigma Sigma - Virginia Medical College - 1911-1916
  • Upsilon Upsilon - New York University, Washington Square - 1912 - 1972
  • Psi Psi - Iowa State University - 1912-1935
  • Alpha Beta - University of Buffalo - 1914-1930
  • Alpha Gamma - Duke University - 1914-1930
  • Alpha Eta - Rush Medical College - 1915-1925
  • Alpha Epsilon - University of South Dakota - 1915-1929
  • Alpha Kappa - Northwestern University Dental School - 1916-1923
  • Beta Gamma - Chicago College of Dental Surgery - 1917-1925
  • Beta Epsilon - Oklahoma State University - 1917-1949
  • Delta Beta - Lehigh University - 1922-1925
  • Delta Lambda - University of Missouri at Kansas City - 1922-1930
  • Delta Chi - University of Oklahoma - 1922-1934
  • Alpha Iota - Harvard University - 1924-1928
  • Kappa Rho - University of Maryland at Baltimore - 1924-1929
  • Delta Phi - Lombard College - 1928-1930
  • Mu Mu - Coe College - 1928-1934
  • Alpha Mu - Southwestern University - 1928-1936
  • Chi Alpha - University of New Mexico - 1923 - 1949 rechartered on October 25, 2005 - current

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A History of Wesleyan College Fraternities" The Wesleyan Review, May, 1990
  2. ^ a b "Theta Nu Epsilon Society to Hold Convention Here" The New York Times, March 16, 1913
  3. ^ "Wesleyan Argus", Wesleyan Argus, History of Theta Nu Epsilon and connection to Skull & Bones, October 10, 1987.
  4. ^ William Raimond Baird (1898). American College Fraternities, A Descriptive Analysis of the Fraternity System in the Colleges of the United States with a Detailed Account of Each Fraternity. New York: J.B. Lippincott & Co. 
  5. ^ Davis, Jenny. "MythBusters: Wesleyan Edition - Features". The Wesleyan Argus. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  6. ^ "Theta Nu Epsilon Convention". The New York Times. March 19, 1907
  7. ^ "Make Fraternity Rules". The New York Times. November 30, 1913
  8. ^ Banta's Greek Exchange, Report of the Executive Secretary to the Fifteenth Convention of Theta Nu Epsilon, April 1926, pg. 131.
  9. ^ William Raimond Baird, Wm Raimond Baird, Alvan E. Duerr (1940). Baird's Manual, American College Fraternities: A Descriptive Analysis with a Detailed Account of Each Fraternity. Menasha, Wisconsin: George Banta publishing company. p. 848. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ MATTHEW HANSEN / Lincoln Journal Star (2006-05-16). "Secret fraternity newsletters still circulating on UNL campus : Lincoln, NE Journal Star". Journalstar.com. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  12. ^ Christopher Kylin. "Theta Nu Epsilon Society - Chapter List". Thetanuepsilon.org. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 

External links[edit]