"My senior year, I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can’t say anything more. It was a chance to make fourteen new friends."
—George W Bush, Adjudicated 43rd President of the United States

What Hath Women Wrought?

RA Kris Millegan

Georgie, Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie, Porgie ran away.

KA-THUNK! The sound brought my attention to the very building which brought me to New Haven in the first place, "The Tomb," an expanded mausoleum, housing Yale's oldest senior secret society, The Order of Skull and Bones.

Out came a young, serious coed leaving the building into the cold afternoon snowscape. That started me wondering, what hath the ladies wrought? What had been the effect of allowing females into that venerable male bastion?

In 1991, the 15 outgoing members "tapped" 6 gals and 9 guys in early April as their replacements. Retribution came fast, the locks were changed on the heavy doors at High Street and board spokesman Reverend Sid Lovett (S&B 1950) declared, "There was no election. There is no society [next year]."

The "disagreement" caused more mainstream ink about the secret group's activities ever. There were stories in Time, Newsweek and The Economist. Even People magazine ran a 2-page spread about the Bones tiff in May, '91, whilst Bonesman GHW Bush(S&B 48) sat in the Oval Office . . . with no comment.

Walking around today at Yale, one can see and feel a strong feminine presence. Yale has been coed since 1969, the year after George W Bush (S&B 1968) graduated. By 1991 the undergrads were 45% female and a feeling on campus was that "gender differences between friends of different sexes is not a dominant issue." The Bones crowd, as was Yale by 1991, a diverse group of races, creeds and sexual orientation. Also the "Tomb" had become a bone of contention with feminists and there had been a break-in by some determined ladies, who took pictures and spread "rumors."

The board had offered an early compromise of separate his and hers secret societies but that was rejected by the then seniors, who went ahead, "tapped" the ladies and were locked-out of their High Street hideaway.

The "locked-outs" vowed to continue and they were soon offered the use of another senior society's [Manuscript] secret clubhouse. A then senior Bonesman contended, "It makes sense to be co-ed because the world is co-ed." One view on the other side a Patriarch DC lawyer felt "the admission of women would lead to ‘date rape’ in the ‘medium-term future’."

A vote-by-mail by the 800+ strong Bones alumni produced a narrow vote in favor of the admittance of the co-eds. The "old guard" cried foul, filed charges that the "mail vote" was against "Bones-by-law" and scuttled the September ’92 plans to initiate the ladies. Finally in November a second vote was taken, with members having to either appear in person or send a proxy by another Bonesman, at the "Tomb" and another slim decision was made to admit the gals. The 2000 senior group, outed by Rumpus, Yale’s tabloid, included at least six women and maybe more. The Rumpus printed two different lists and some names could be either male or female. And it seems, judging from a list of Wolf Head’s members for the year 2001, that Wolf’s Head the last all-male senior secret society at Yale, has also gone co-ed.

What has been the effect? Do the women tapped for Bones follow the "old guidelines" of captains of ball teams, a Yale Lit editor, maybe a radical (for excitement?), some old-blood money with a few minorities tossed in now and then? Is there a new sexual element? What about the sexual confession times? Is there a hot time on High Street now? Has the "nude mud wrestling" in the basement changed to "playtime in the dungeon?" Does the narrow vote show a political change at stodgy Bones? Will Bones be taken-over by radical-amazons? What hath the women wrought?

"My senior year, I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can’t say anything more. It was a chance to make fourteen new friends."
George W Bush, Adjudicated 43rd President of the United States

RA Kris Millegan

Aloha, He'Ping,
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Em Hotep, Peace Be,
All My Relations.
Omnia Bona Bonis,
Adieu, Adios, Aloha.
Roads End