City Desk

Georgetown Has Secret Society Scandal, Hilarity Ensues

Has Georgetown University's Ivy League envy reached an all-time high? Emails leaked today reveal that students who are members of a secret society called "the Stewards"—a sometimes-menacing, sometimes-comical group that surfaces every few years at the school—have thrown student government elections into turmoil, the Georgetown Voice reports.

It might be easy to dismiss the affair as so much undergraduate intrigue, except for one headache-inducing complication: the appearance of a splinter faction.

The email screenshots, posted on the blog Free Georgetown by the pseudonymous Steward Throat, out the names of the so-called "Second Stewards" involved in a group listserv. The leaks also reveal that a nonprofit associated with the Second Stewards has a hefty $147,966 in assets. The email chains are innocuous if preppy, discussing whether the Stewards should buy themed cufflinks or opt for Brooks Brothers ties instead, and whether the university's presentation for prospective students could scare off conservatives.

Among the Stewards members outed are Student Association presidential candidate Jack Appelbaum and former student Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jake Sticka. Sticka and Appelbaum later confirmed that they are members of the Stewards, prompting controversy when other candidates in the Student Association elections denounced the participation of "secret organizations." Meanwhile, "Chief Steward" Sam Schneider, apparently the society's leader, denies that his group is "interested in king-making."

But things aren't so simple! The Stewards, it turns out, are also facing some internal dissent, with at least one splinter group also currently operating. The inter-Steward chasm seems to center on whether members should lie about being Stewards. Georgetown blog Vox Populi, which I edited for two semesters when I went to Georgetown, has this update:

A member of the Second Society of Stewards has alleged to Vox that GUSA vice presidential candidate Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) is a member of the Third Society of Stewards. Ramadan hasn’t yet responded to Vox‘s request for comment and the distinction is between the “Second” and the “Third” Society is still unclear...The possible political intentions of each tipster remain unclear.

N.B.: The first Stewards emerged during the 1980s. Their fate remains unknown.

As for these Third Stewards and Second Stewards—maybe these guys can get over their differences at Smith Point.

Photo by Kevin H. via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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  • newcomer

    Funny. Georgetown having Ivy League envy is a laugh since they are ranked lower than 70% of the big 10, let alone the Ivy League.

  • OneTimeVoicer

    it's been ages, but if memory serves the third stewards society allow ladies to join---hoya saxa!

  • @newcomer

    GU is No. 21. Only Northwestern is ranked higher. See U.S. News and World Report.

  • new

    Judging by the USNWR rankings, the only Big Ten school with a better ranking is Northwestern.

  • @ newcomer

    Ranked lower than 70% of the Big 10 in what?

    Not USNews Top Universities

    Not in the AP or Coaches NCAA Basketball poll either

    If you were referring to general criminal propensity of alumni, then you've probably got us...

  • GU Student

    As a Georgetown student, I'm so ashamed of these people. Most Georgetown students don't care about this and find it absurd... but for some reason these people let this sort of thing consume their lives.

  • GU Senior

    I've read three articles about this now and I still don't understand why anyone cares.

  • GU alum

    Wow. The City Paper hasn't much to report on. Either that or its reporters are covering old haunts. Very few people anywhere (let alone Georgetown) have Ivy League envy. The phrase itself sounds made up by someone who a) either didn't get into his Ivy League school of choice, or b) an Ivy Leaguer. But the sentiment comes off as bitter and contrived.

    @newcomer: There isn's a single Big 10 university ranked higher than Gtown, including Michigan. UC-Berkeley, which tied with GU, isn't Big 10 (being in California and all). And Emory, ranked 1 higher, was recently busted for reported false admissions statistics, along with GW.


  • Dizzy

    It's good to see that The Stewards (of whichever number) have apparently changed their purpose from being a club of conservative white male Catholics who want to feel more exclusive than the KOC to... trying to control GUSA??? Big fat who cares. GUSA is irrelevant, The Stewards are irrelevant - except in terms of trying to get each other jobs, I suppose - and this whole 'scandal' is an insult to "undergraduate intrigue."

    Besides, everyone knows Crux Orbis is the REAL awesome secret society.

  • Ben

    So, how does the Fraternal Order of Balls and Shaft fit in to all this intrigue? They're the real behind-the-scenes players, right?

  • noodlez2: electric bugaloo


  • Fact-checker

    The author of this piece, Will Sommer, is a former editor of The Voice. So he's just trying to drum up business for his old paper by citing them as a source and writing this piece. What ever happened to objective journalism?

  • ThisIsDumb

    I'm not understanding why this caused an uproar? Why does it matter that some dudes formed a group? I have yet to hear a horrible or negative thing that the group did. We had a couple secret societies at my school, and their own main purpose was to put out hilarious and scandalous newletters every semester.

    I bet the basketball team has a listserv and some inner workings too. Better look into those allegations...secret handshakes even. Kick em off the team I say!