An editorial in the Cavalier Daily, UVA’s student newspaper, yesterday called one of the University’s secret societies on the carpet over past actions. The outcries are getting louder over this society, ranging from allegations of racism to statements that the Shadows were formed to “stop the integration of women into the University, to uphold a dress code, and to maintain the honor system’s single sanction.” It’s hard to prove the first two, though I’m anxiously awaiting more Cavalier Daily back issues coming into the UVA Library’s CD archive so I can check out some of the formative stuff that happened from 1963 when they were founded through 1967 when the current archive starts.
But based on reports of interactions between the society and students (and administrators) over the years, the society’s intentions don’t seem particularly benign. The two episodes of failed attempts to call the group to justice through UJC cited in a recent editorial are particularly egregious, especially since one cites breaking and entering on the part of the society (back in 1982). So is the tying shut of the door of the University’s first female Assistant Dean of Students back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
I think the Purple Shadows aren’t doing themselves any favors by dressing up in Klan robes, either.
I think, like the writer of yesterday’s editorial, that calling on the Shadows to explain themselves and step out of the … erm, shadows is called for at this point.