T.U.B. is back — a stack of pencils, with the letters T, U, and B, was scattered all across the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library floor Monday morning. Throughout the day, the administration confisticated all T.U.B. pencils that they found in the library.
T.U.B., which stands for Truth, Unity, Brotherhood, is a secret society for male students. The group has a tradition of placing a bathtub filled with soft drinks outside of the library at the beginning of each finals week.
Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life, expressed her concern towards the recent emergence of secret society activities. Prior to Monday’s incident, Madame Sarah Abbott Society (M.S.A.S.), a girls secret society, posted flyers in girls bathrooms. The flyers contained a lip stain at the bottom of the page, along with highlights on “Sarah Abbot” and “for the benefit of Abbot Academy” from Claude Fuess’s book “An Old New England School: A History of Phillips Academy Andover.”
“The way I feel about the T.U.B. pencils being scattered across the library floor is the same way I feel about the Madame Sarah Abbot posters in the bathrooms. I understand the public good that they’re trying to do, like by offering pencils to people, but as a rule, the school maintains its position that secret societies have no place at Andover. Without any adult supervision, and given that they’re an exclusive organization, it doesn’t align with our community values,” said Elliott in an interview with The Phillipian.
Elliott continued, “If this is work that students on campus feel is really necessary and constructive, I hope that they would go about the acceptable route in terms of creating a student organization and having a faculty advisor and registering it with Mr. Capano [Director of Student Activities] and Student Activities.”
Earlier this year, students perpetuated the rumor that T.U.B. set off the fireworks that were heard on a Friday night in September. According to Elliott, these claims are baseless.
“I suppose that with adolescents there’s always a possibility of more serious things happening, so we have messaged loud and clear that fireworks and setting off fireworks are illegal and highly dangerous, and so we would respond accordingly. We really hope students aren’t entertaining ideas like that,” said Elliott.
Some students believed that the actions of T.U.B. are not harmful at the moment, but may have the potential to become dangerous.
Abigail N. Ndikum ’20, from Upper Marlboro, Md., said, “I honestly feel like T.U.B. will do more significant things. If they think that people didn’t mind the pencils, they’ll probably try something bigger in the future which may not be safe for us.”
However, other students held slightly different opinions about the presence of secret societies.
“Honestly, the likelihood is that T.U.B. is more of a club than it is a society, so I don’t see them posing any threats if it’s just a student organization that’s making pencils. It’s not that different from a club that makes posters or buttons,” said Auguste White ’17.
“Everytime T.U.B. does something, I think it’s intended to start excitement or to make people a little bit happier about their day,” said Abdelaziz Bahnasy ’17.
Others remained neutral, but stressed that if T.U.B. grows harmful to the student community, administrative actions should be taken.
“I think that T.U.B.’s activities are fine as long as no one gets hurt and no one is in danger of getting hurt. If someone is in danger of getting hurt, I think that there should be more action to shut them down,” said Tanvi Kanchinadam ’19.
Vish Dhar ’19 said, “If something bad did happen, I wouldn’t necessarily want the administration to shut [T.U.B.] down, but I would want them to acknowledge that there is a situation that we have and maybe find ways to incorporate it while still being safe.”
White said, “I don’t really know what the administration should do because I feel like in some ways secret societies are exclusive and are harmful to schools, but in other ways, if all our secret societies do are put out tubs of soda, then I don’t have any strong opinion of whether they should stay or go.”