Yale's six senior societies will claim 90 of Eli's most important juniors in the tap day ceremonies at 5 p.m. this afternoon in the courtyard of Branford College.
The proceedings follow the usual spring criticism of the societies and the public selection of their members.
This year most of the attack has focused on the open choice of juniors before their classmates. Supporters of the present system say that any system of tapping in private would be inefficient and too lengthy.
Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, Berzelius, Wolfshead, Book and Snake, and Elihu will each claim 15 members. When juniors turn down places in a group, additional men will be tapped until each society has filled its quota.
During the controversy on tapping there has been no pressure by the administration on either side.
In a statement this spring, however, Paul Weiss, a well-known professor of philosophy at New Haven, issued a sharp blast on the senior societies as a whole.
Weiss suggests that the Yale undergraduates should teach the administration "what is an abuse and how it ought to be corrected." He cites the recent reform of the Princeton eating clubs, in which membership was opened to all, as an example of student reform.
Professor Weiss' Attitude
He suggests multiplying the secret societies so that everyone could join one might be a solution.
"The secret societies," he said, "are in principle opposed to the idea of a national university in which men of the most diverse types and temperaments profit from one another's presence.
"Their exclusiveness, their secrecy, their standards of admissions, their effect on others and on their own members makes it very difficult to see how they can be tolerated in any institutions devoted to the promotion of a liberalizing education.
"The senior societies . . . practice--I am sorry to say, with the active cooperation of the administration--the art of publicly humiliating that large group of juniors who stand about in tense expectancy to see whether or not they will be made one of the chosen 90.
"More important," Weiss notes, "is the fact that the societies injure their own members . . . the societies as they now exist--rich, complacent, with an aura of success--seem to promote primarily a provincialism and limitation in the outlook of their members.
"It is tragic to see how successful the societies have been in keeping their members perpetually geared to the ideal of an undergraduate 'wheel'."