Leaders follow the beating of drums

When people wearing Miccosukee Indian jackets beat the ritual drum on the Rock Iron Arrow Mound in front of the UC, everyone on campus knows that the Iron Arrow Honor Society, UM’s oldest tradition and highest honor, has accepted new members.
Maintaining tradition is the focus behind this esteemed organization, from its beginnings in 1926 by UM’s first president, Bowman Foster Ashe, and nine students, just one month after the University opened.
“There are five criteria that need to be met in order to be accepted into Iron Arrow,” said Cie Chapel, chief of Iron Arrow. “They are scholarship, leadership, humility, character, and love for alma mater.”
According to Chapel, the fifth female chief in the history of the organization, only students can be officers, and there are many rituals that are kept secret amongst the tribe. Induction into Iron Arrow is known as tapping, a ritual that involves marking the foreheads of tappees with orange, white, and green stripes.
Every inductee into Iron Arrow has a different initiation story.
Joseph Fernandez, senior, was tapped in his Finance 431 class in the School of Business. “The amazing part is that my class is on the fifth floor, so it’s sort of amazing to see everyone there, knowing they had to climb five stories to come get me,” he said. “Needless to say, I had no idea who they were getting in my class when they walked in. When they came and grabbed me, I was shocked and a bit confused. It still really hasn’t hit me.”
Stefanie Hernandez had a completely different experience. “I was told that I had an emergency meeting regarding all senate projects and legislation that have occurred within the last year,” she said. “I figured it was important because I was called the night before and told that it was very important because President Shalala had asked for an emergency meeting to discuss Student Government.”
Hernandez said she woke up at 7a.m. to make it to the Ashe Building by 9a.m. “As I was walking on the pathway to the Ashe Building, rushing and clanking my heels with my hands full of important documents, I had to walk right by the Iron Arrow line, which was on its way to tap me,” she said. “I had no idea, but I remember feeling embarrassed that my heels were clanking in the middle of their procession.
“I was shocked for most of the tapping,” Hernandez said. “I felt honored, humbled and proud.”
Once an individual is inducted into Iron arrow, he or she is a member for life.