KABOOM!!!

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Anyone living near the University of Alabama campus would’ve heard a loud explosion on the afternoon of June 23, 2022. The explosion on campus involved hazardous material found in the now renamed Nott Hall. Could it have been a prelude to the scheduled 2022 July 4th demolition of the University of Alabama‘s Tutwiler Hall?

Ryan Phillips in the Patch reported that the University of Alabama had evacuated its Honors Hall “out of an abundance of caution Thursday afternoon after a ‘potentially hazardous material’ was discovered in a storage room.” Phillips wrote that the material “was a chemical commonly used in labs that can become dangerous if dried.” He reported that “it will be transported to a nearby area and destroyed, which may result in a large detonation being heard around campus.”

A call made to the University’s Police Department about the noise made by the exploding material resulted only in a comment about a “controlled explosion” on campus. *

Al.com‘s William Thornton wrote:

Honors Hall is the former Nott Hall, renamed in 2020 following the recommendation of a working group to the University Board of Trustees. Its former namesake, Josiah Nott, helped found the medical school at UA in Mobile but supported slavery and misused medical evidence to argue that non-white races were inferior, according to a study.

Honors Hall houses the Honors College and was originally opened in 1923. It is located on the east side of the UA campus Quad.

The implosion of Tutwiler Hall, scheduled for the the Fourth of July, had received a lot of publicity. As far back as July 16, 2021, Mark Hughes Cobb had written an article “‘Good thing those old walls can’t talk:’ Former Tutwiler Hall residents recall University of Alabama days” about the impending demolition.

Ty Boyle and Lexi Crowe reported in The Crimson White that the University had been selling pieces of the old Tutwiler Hall building. On a Division of Student life website, commemorative bricks were going for $100 and room number plates were selling for $50.

There had been articles about the best ways to view the implosion of Tutwiler Hall, such as Al.com‘s Ben Flanagan‘s story “UA imploding Tutwiler Hall July 4: How to see the demolition live.” The event would even be livestreamed by the University.

Also on the chopping block with Tutwiler Hall in July was Harris Hall, as reported by The Crimson White‘s Reghan Bailey. Harris Hall, a co-ed dormitory built in 1939, would be demolished to make way in part for a twenty-one million dollar Sigma Kappa house, according to a story in The Crimson White by Ty Boyle. The destruction of Harris Hall, in terms of publicity, seemed to rank below that of Tutwiler Hall, which was built in 1968.

The price tag for the Sigma Kappa sorority building is not extraordinary. A House Beautiful article “The 15 Most Outrageous University of Alabama Sorority Houses” by Nikhita Mahtani described the University’s Greek mansions. Dominating the University of Alabama’s landscape are huge Greek mansions that are located on state owned property. The property is leased to the Greek organizations for a nominal amount, possibly as little as a dollar yearly.

T-Town is doubtlessly on the way to having a Fourth of July to remember.

* Does anyone know what that “potentially hazardous material” that was found in Nott Hall was and how it got there? The immediate news coverage of the explosion never clarified the matter.

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Booze at Bryant-Denny?

In February, 2022, a post “Golfballs, Football & Booze” on the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) mentioned “the night trash was tossed on the field in a Vols’ loss to Ole Miss.” In addition to a golf ball, as reported in the Knoxville News Sentinel by Adam Sparks, beer cans were also showered down upon the Ole Miss Rebels.

Mississippi‘s head coach Lane Kiffin even pulled a stunt later, according to ESPN‘s Alex Scarborough, where he threw a golf ball during the ceremonial first pitch before a Rebels‘ baseball matchup with the Tennessee Vols at the Rebels‘ baseball field. Kiffin had kept the yellow golf ball that he had been pelted with at the football game in Knoxville.

Now, Al.com‘s Michael Casagrande has reported that beer may be sold in T-Town at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Casagrande wrote:

The war of words between the City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama appears to be over with a celebration over drinks to come.

After rare public sparring over a plan to sell alcohol at Crimson Tide sporting events, the two sides announced a detente Wednesday. With it, Alabama’s plan to introduce booze sales at sporting events is back in motion, according to a statement from athletics director Greg Byrne.

The FSB reported about the February 8, 2022, Tuscaloosa City Council meeting when Herbert Tesh had representated Levy Premium Foodservice: “During the public hearing on February 8, the food service’s representative Tesh had said that ‘hawking’ (the selling of alcohol by concession stand workers to seated fans) at football games might be a possibility in the future if the council would approve such sales.”

A three dollar public safety fee that would be added to ticket charges for Alabama football games, had been discussed by the Council. Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne was irate about such a charge. He said, “It is very unfortunate that the city of Tuscaloosa’s plan would unreasonably target Alabama Athletics and our fans with a service fee on all tickets where alcohol is sold, even tickets sold to children.”

The Tuscaloosa NewsJason Morton wrote in an article published on February 13, 2022, about the new fees. “According to a 2015 report by the online sports publication SBNation.com, the University of Alabama is the only SEC school that relies on the municipal public safety departments for security during its sporting events while shouldering none of the costs.”

On February 14, 2022, in the Tuscaloosa News, Nick Kelly and Jason Morton reported: “Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne put out a statement Monday on Twitter stating that the department ‘will not be moving forward with alcohol sales at this time’ pending further review of a service fee policy that the Tuscaloosa City Council amended during its Feb. 8 meeting.”

[During an interview on the Tide 1009 radio program] (Mayor) “Maddox referenced last season’s football game between Ole Miss and the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium – where alcohol currently is sold – that was delayed for 20 minutes with orange-clad fans took issue with a fourth quarter call by officials and pelted the field with debris.”

Bama Central‘s Joey Blackwell reported on the details of a University of Alabama press release about future stadium alcohol sales:

According to the press release, UA will provide specialty service funding to cover the increased fire and rescue, police, transportation and infrastructure services that are needed on game days in Tuscaloosa. UA also introduced a new scholarship program intended to raise funds for scholarships for Tuscaloosa police officers and firefighters.

The University Press Release included:

The agreement continues existing shared services arrangements and adds specialty services funding from UA to the City of Tuscaloosa to cover other community event services like enhanced fire and rescue, transportation, and infrastructure services.

The agreement will replace the proposed service fee on UA events.

Nick Kelly and Jason Morton reported in The Tuscaloosa News that: “Starting in 2024, the agreement calls for UA to contribute $250,000 to City Hall by Jan. 31 of each year through 2028.”

Arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct or intoxication at college football stadiums where alcohol is sold have been commonplace.

ABC-8/WFAA‘s Kyle Iboshi wrote about “Beer Fights and Bad Behavior” at college football games:

“You couple alcohol with the upped emotions, the intensity, screaming and yelling and you have some potential for issues,” explained Brian Baxter, sports psychologist and director of the Sport Psychology Institute Northwest.

Across the country, stadium security kicked out thousands of college football fans for illegal consumption or public drunkenness.

For many fans, the drinking begins well before kick-off. Tailgating outside college football stadiums often includes copious amounts of beer, wine and liquor.

A FSB post on January 28, 2022 reported:

Paul Steinbach in his 2004 article “Sporting Events and Booze a Volatile Mix” called for “effective alcohol management’ policies.

He wrote about the role of beer service employees at ball parks:

Most parks now include video surveillance equipment that can home in on specific seat locations, but beer hawkers, concessions-stand workers and ushers equipped only with their own eyes are also relied upon to recognize the tell-tale signs of intoxication, or in some cases the mere probability of intoxication. A hawker who sees a stack of empty cups beneath the seat of a single fan may opt to avoid eye contact with that individual or avoid his or her section altogether. A concessions-stand worker who recognizes repeat visits by one individual must keep in mind that it takes at least one hour for the average fan to metabolize the alcohol that is found in two 12-ounce beers. As a large button pinned to his or her uniform typically states, any vendor reserves the right to refuse service.

Will the University of Alabama‘s “specialty service” funding be adequate to cover the increased public safety costs of game day activity? The amount agreed upon by the University of $250,000 is only a small fraction of the amount that a $3 per ticket public safety fee would have generated.

Greg Byrne has been fully determined that alcohol will be sold at the stadium. T-Town will be further awash in booze on game days if he has his way.

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Judy Judy Judy

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In 2014, The Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) was linked to at the end of a touching and disturbing letter from an Alabama student’s mother to the University of Alabama President Judy Bonner.

Patricia Ann Smith was concerned about the negative experiences of her daughter Katie at the Capstone and with the Machine. Bonner was serving as the first women President of the University of Alabama. (Many of the letter’s readers from T-Town only could find the letter on The Franklin Stove Blog‘s post, because it was never published in the Tuscaloosa News.)

Bonner had her hands full at the Capstone. In 2014, after a a member of the Chi Omega University at the University had made a racially offensive Snap Shot post, she sent an email addressing the situation. The email (as was Smith‘s letter) was published in full on the FSB. In her email Bonner said, “We are all extremely disappointed when any student uses language that is disrespectful or offensive to any segment of the UA community.”

The FSB reported about the sorority’s history:

A  2013 story in The Crimson White reported that a member of Chi Omega, who asked to remain anonymous, said “‘I know [the recruit] got perfect scores from the people in chapter the first day, and she got cut after the first day and I know it had to do with our advisor – is the one that dropped her,’ the Chi Omega member said. ‘Her name is Emily Jamison.’”

The Chi Omegas had just dropped their one black recruit in the most recent rush.

Bonner stepped down from her position at the University in 2014. Reporting by the FSB in the post “Goodbye Judy” included:

Bonner attended the ribbon cutting for the Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. The building was said to be the “greatest fraternity house on campus.” Pi Kappa Phi’s credo was: ‘A house, a grip, a badge, a song, an emblem. These do not make the fraternity. It is the unseen things: friendship, brotherhood, character, honor, courage, ideals. These make the fraternity and the man.’

But there was always a fly in the ointment. ‘Brotherhood,’ when it came to having a black brother or sister, was relative. Bonner took modest efforts to integrate the University’s Greek system. Many who dealt with the University on issues related to student ethics felt that Bonner was constrained by the cozy relationship that the University’s administration had with the Greek system. Nearly thirty percent of the student body are Greeks and many come from wealthy and powerful families.

After Bonner‘s departure from the University, the Machine still dominated campus politics and racial improprieties continued, as had been reported in the FSB. There were still racist posts on social media. And students sometimes faced modest consequences.

The problem with institutional racism at the University seemed intractable. It was indisputably linked to the importance of Greek life at the Capstone.

Bonner was recently given accolades, as reported in Tuscaloosa News reporter Jasmine Hollie‘s June 10, 2022, story “University of Alabama renames Child Development Center in honor of first female president.” Hollie wrote:

In 2016, the university first awarded the Judy Bonner Presidential Medallion, which recognizes a member of the UA community who has gone above and beyond normal expectations. And Eighth Street, between Colonial Drive and Sixth Avenue, is now known as Judy Bonner Drive.

In all likelihood Bonner has fond memories of her time at the Capstone. The University has certainly given her the recognition that she deserves. Smith‘s letter to her in 2014 was doubtlessly just a blip on the radar screen to her.

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The end of truth-seeking in T-Town?

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The Franklin Stove Blog was initiated in July, 2013, when its domain name “ttowntruthseeker.com was acquired. The first post was on August 8, 2013.

The Franklin Stove Blog first reported about the insanity of the 2013 municipal elections in T-Town, when University of Alabama students, who were bribed by the promise of free booze, rode to the polls in limousines to vote for a Machine supported candidate. Subsequent posts concerned under-aged drinking, the Covid pandemic, violence in T-Town and other issues. A blog about a sorority “Farm Party” during the Covid pandemic received the most attention. It was linked to in stories across the globe after it was referred to in a post in the Daily Beast by Olivia Messer “Alabama Sorority Gets Official Blessing for 600-Person Farm Party Just in Time for Holidays.”.

In one more year the Franklin Stove Blog will celebrate its tenth anniversary. It would seem appropriate that anniversary would be the right time to end the blog.

If, for any reason, archiving a Franklin Stove Blog post would be of interest, then a pdf should be created.

Hopefully in its last year, the Franklin Stove Blog will continue its tradition of seeking the “truth”.

The fictional character Robert Langdon in Dan Brown‘s, The Da Vinci Code had this line:

“History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books–books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?”

The quote “The truth is out there” comes from The X-Files television series about the government’s covering up of paranormal phenomena. Sometimes the truth seems stranger than fiction.

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Good Luck & the Greeks

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In Greek mythology, the pomegranate was considered a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Mentioned in Homer’s “Odyssey,” the fruit has a long-standing connection with good health. In Greek culture today, pomegranates are commonly smashed on New Year’s Day — the number of seeds that scatter signify how lucky the coming year will be.

According to the Greek Reporter: “The most renowned myth associated with the pomegranate fruit is the one of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. According to the myth, Hades offered the fruit to Persephone in order to seal their eternal bond.”

“Greeks” at the University of Alabama may, unlike their namesakes in Greece, not rely on a fruit for good luck.

Why should they?

Greeks comprise roughly 35% of its student body. The University’s Division of Student Life proclaims that, “The University of Alabama has held the coveted honor of being the largest fraternity and sorority community in the nation with regard to overall fraternity and sorority membership.”

In 2021, Angela Velasquez in Sourcing Journal wrote about fashion trends during Rush Week:

It’s peak summertime during a pandemic, which means like all elder millennials who don’t have the energy to socialize or simply forgot how, I spent my weekend happily sitting next to the A/C, ordering mozzarella sticks and losing all sense of time in the latest TikTok craze, #bamarush.

The viral hashtag, which has 221.4 million views and counting as of Sunday night, unlocks a portal into the world of Southern sorority recruitment and panhellenic society at the University of Alabama, where from Aug. 7-14, 2,000-plus women convened to take part of the rush process.

Velasquez pointed out the Greek fashionistas were a boon to T-Town‘s economy. Tuscaloosa‘s Mayor Walt Maddox in 2020 said, “Student spending itself in Tuscaloosa is a $366 million investment.”

The city of Tuscaloosa may to some extent depend on revenues from alcohol sales to students to stay afloat.

The Greek system at the University of Alabama has been historically racist. As recently as last year two sorority members were making headlines over their racist texts.

Time magazines’ Cady Lang had a different perspective on Rush Week than the one in Velasquez‘s reporting. Lang wrote:

While what goes into the curation of every TikTok user’s For You page remains a mystery, one thing has become clear—content from University of Alabama students vying for a spot at the school’s sororities has dominated the app over the last week. This trend, dubbed “RushTok” by TikTok netizens, started when sorority hopefuls began making videos of themselves and what they were wearing for “Bama Rush,” University of Alabama’s Greek recruitment week.

The obsession with RushTok, however, also serves as a cogent reminder of the longtime critiques of the racism, elitism and sexism embedded in many Greek life organizations. In universities across the U.S., sororities and fraternities have faced reckonings in the wake of hazing violence, sexual assault and even death.

Lang included a link to a Vox article by Maryam Gamar that criticized college Greek life as a whole. Gamar wrote: “The cliquishness, classism, and racial insensitivities of Greek life have never exactly been hidden.”

Al.com’s Abbey Crain in 2018 wrote that, while the sororities at the University had been “formally desegregated” for years, there had been little progress in sorority integration. Crain reported:

Each summer, a week before classes begin, APA hosts sorority recruitment in a process commonly referred to as “Rush Week.” Thousands of freshmen girls attend with the hopes of matching with their sorority of choice. And until recently, African-American women were denied “bids” to join traditionally white sororities. The issue came to a head in 2013 when Kennedi Cobb, granddaughter of John England, a prominent judge and a member of the University Board of Trustees, was denied a bid despite her decorated resume. Melanie Gotz, a student at the time, brought attention to the discrimination and spoke openly of her sorority’s involvement in denying Cobb.

Will Rush Week at the Capstone this summer bring any changes to the University’s Greek system? There may not be enough pomegranates in the world to change things in T-Town.

But good luck with that anyway.

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Booze & the Student Brain

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Researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) have been studying the effects of early life binge drinking. They’ve concluded that gene editing may be a potential treatment for alcohol abuse by teens.

“Early binge drinking can have long-lasting and significant effects on the brain, and the results of this study offer evidence that gene editing is a potential antidote to these effects, offering a kind of factory reset for the brain, if you will,” said study senior author Subhash Pandey, the Joseph A. Flaherty Endowed Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics at UIC.

In an article in TCU 360‘s Siena Dancsecs wrote:

Alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Boston University. In 2020, alcohol consumption was up 14% from 2019. Lockdowns also significantly increased alcohol sales.

Boston University‘s Alumni magazine Bostonia published an article about youth alcohol consumption:

For many public health researchers striving to prevent excessive alcohol use in adults, step one is stopping them from drinking as kids. Alcohol is the most widely used substance among youth—more than tobacco and marijuana. About 25 percent of 14-to-15-year-olds have had at least one drink, while 11 percent of teenagers admit to binge drinking, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Youth alcohol use is also a solid predictor of substance use disorders in later life.

Ohio University has a mandatory program for new students dealing with potential alcohol use by its under-aged students:

To aid students in their decision-making, the University requires all new students at Ohio University to successfully complete a 2 ½ hour online alcohol education course called “AlcoholEdu for College.” This nationally-distributed program is interactive and employs cutting edge technology, and is intended to challenge students’ expectations around alcohol while enabling them to make healthier and safer decisions. It does not assume that a student drinks.

The University of Alabama‘s online program “Under The Influence” is intended to encourage “students to identify ways to make more responsible choices to avoid the negative consequences of alcohol.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism‘s (NCAAA) published a fact sheet on college drinking. The NCAAA states:

Drinking at college has become a ritual that students often see as an integral part of their higher education experience. Some students come to college with established drinking habits, and the college environment can lead to a problem.

Drinking by students at the University of Alabama was the subject of a post “The Greek God Pan at the U of A” by the Franklin Stove Blog on April 21, 2022. The centrality of alcohol consumption in the University’s social life is not atypical:

Drinking during the pandemic may have led to more deaths than Covid-19. At colleges throughout the nation, in spite of any of the pandemic’s restrictions on “normal” college life, drinking remained a fixture of college living.

A “factory reset” for the brain with gene editing, as proposed in the UIC study, may someday be a reality. Until then, programs that encourage better student choices on alcohol consumption may continue to be an ineffective, but necessary, last ditch stand.

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The Greek God Pan at the U of A

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The Greek God Pan ruled over nature and pasturelands, according to Greek Gods and Goddesses.

The word “pandemic” was derived from Greek pandēmos (from pan ‘all’ + dēmos ‘people’).

One early attempt to avoid compliance with what were then the University of Alabama‘s Covid-19 pandemic policies failed, as reported in the Franklin Stove Blog on November 11, 2020. Subsequent attempts to party on pastureland were successful.

Leana S. Wen in the Washington Post opined that drinking increased during the pandemic. In fact, there were more alcohol related deaths of younger people than deaths due to Covid-19. Wen wrote:

A new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) finds that alcohol-related deaths in 2020 were so high that, for 16- to 64-year-olds, they exceeded the number of deaths from covid-19. Previously, the average annual increase was a little more than 2 percent; between 2019 and 2020, it skyrocketed to more than 25 percent. The largest rise in mortality occurred for people 35 to 44 years old, though rates of death associated with alcohol increased across all age groups.

The University of Alabama promoted voluntary Covid-19 vaccinations on its website. On the page “Protect Our Herd,” the university stated: “Everyone in our campus community is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Don’t wait.”

Just how many students actually fully availed themselves of free vaccinations was never clear. According to the university’s Covid Dashboard, the total number of vaccine doses administered by each institution’s healthcare providers was 23,940. The student population, according to the university’s website, was 38,320 in 2021. The Student Health Center and Pharmacy offered the “COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine series and booster shot for UA students.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that a person is fully vaccinated, only after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Unless students received vaccinations from off-campus providers, it was likely that many students were never fully vaccinated. And booster shots had been recommended by the CDC as well.

Many in the Greek community at the university were fond of partying at a local pastoral site next to the Joe Mallisham Parkway. Considering the apparent lack of student vaccinations, it may have been miraculous that the herds of partying students did not become super-spreader events.

Drinking during the pandemic may have led to more deaths than Covid-19. At colleges throughout the nation, in spite of any of the pandemic’s restrictions on “normal” college life, drinking remained a fixture of college living. At the University of Alabama, alcohol was often consumed by a herd of unmasked students who were down on the farm.

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Partying & Machine Politics at the Capstone

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On a recent balmy Saturday in T-Town hordes of young University of Alabama co-eds were to be seen marching to the multiple on-campus parties where booze was made available to one and all. The idea that under-aged students would not be able to consume alcohol was a preposterous fiction.

The University’s Division of Student Life proudly proclaimed: “With over 10,000 students, the UA Greek community comprises 35 percent of the undergraduate student body and is home to 68 social Greek-letter organizations. Since Fall 2011, The University of Alabama has held the coveted honor of being the largest fraternity and sorority community in the nation with regard to overall fraternity and sorority membership.”

A March 2022 post by MeTVfm celebrated the classification on the Barstool Sports list of the University as the Nation’s #1 Party School:

I am so tired of seeing all of these lists come out, with Alabama ranked dead last.

If it’s not our state it is one of our cities. Worst for this or that.

I am sick of it.

Finally we have placed FIRST on a list.

What list?

The TOP PARTY SCHOOLS IN THE U.S.A.

The ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE IS #1!

It’s improbable that only the students who are of legal age to drink have made the University of Alabama a top party school. After all most students aren’t 21 years of age.

Five sorority events have been scheduled for April on farmland so that sororities could reciprocate the hospitality of their affiliated fraternities. (Sororities don’t host bacchanalian events on campus.) The liquor license for the fifth party on the farm (the “Parkslands Event”) was approved by the Tuscaloosa City Council on March, 29, 2022. (Several “special events retail licenses” for on-campus fraternity events were also granted by the Council, ranging from the “Mint Julep Date Party” to the “Fiji Island” party.)

Orchestrated voting for booze by the University’s Machine had made headlines throughout the world in 2013.

Underaged drinking at campus events, although strictly prohibited by the University of Alabama‘s policy, doubtlessly goes on, just as much as does the political interference of The Machine in politics.

Alex Jobin, the University’s student paper The Crimson White, wrote (March 27, 2022) about the undue influence of The Machine on campus politics:

Out of the 19 sororities on campus, The Crimson White “received confirmation of at least six sororities endorsing candidates, three sororities incentivizing their members with points, one sorority requiring members to vote, and all sororities encouraging members to submit voter confirmation.”

By use of intimidation and incentives, these Greek organizations are directly harming the credibility of campus elections. Members of Greek life are coerced into conforming with the political preferences of their organizations’ leaders, creating a disingenuous voter base. 

This frankly cultish character of many Greek organizations goes beyond harmless tradition. It is directly related to the corruption of the Machine — the University’s not-so-secret secret society, which controls campus elections through ties to the SGA and Greek life.

The impact on local politics of the University’s Machine has led to the rescheduling of Tuscaloosa municipal elections. There would have been no need for the city’s government to take such measures if the University administration would outlaw the Machine. It is likely that the Machine‘s deep ties with powerful Alabama alumni and its Board of Trustees is the reason that the University has not reined in the Machine. Nor has the University taken any major measures to end the racist nature of its Greek system.

Students who are bused out to the farm parties, will likely be white. Due to a de facto segregation of the University’s Greek system, there are few sororities with black members. Some event staff members, bus drivers and performers might not have lily white complexions, of course. Actually it’s unlikely that many black students would relish heading out to a farm for a drink.

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Ask Brandon

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At the Tuscaloosa City Council Pre-Council meeting on March 22, 2022, the Accounting & Finance Department’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer Vincent Brown briefed the Council members about the Alabama Beverage Control applications of Downtown Entertainment LLC for special events licenses. Four of the events were to take place on farmland. Brown said however that “most of the events were just on campus, at the fraternity houses.”

Council member Lee Busby asked Council member Matthew Wilson if he had ever been invited to one of the events. Members then laughed when Council President Kip Tyner asked, “Why don’t you just show up at one of them?”

Matthew Wilson said that several of his constituents had expressed concern over potential security problems at the events which were to be held on 2301 Joe Mallisham Parkway. He had asked whether the city or county would have jurisdiction for the events.

Mills said that most of the events would be “shut down by ten o’clock.” It was suggested that anyone with concerns should “ask Brandon.”

One of the Council members at the meeting said that if the “music was loud enough to disturb the neighbors then the cows probably love it.”

Downtown Entertainment LLC.’s registered agent is Brandon Hanks. One of his events in 2020 had been cancelled. The application for another scheduled event for August, 2021, had been withdrawn. in November, 2021, a BWF Fall Event finally took place. What “BWF” stood for had never been a concern of the Council members who approved the license during a Specially Called meeting. Nor had been the names of the organizations that Downtown Entertainment LLC. had represented for the events to be held in April, 2022.

The five pastoral events brought before the Council on March, 22, 2022, were similar to the BWF Fall Event. They were DBA (doing business as): April Fools, Athalon, Barnyard and Farm Party. There was no identification of the Greek organizations who were holding the parties on the applications. The last time that a sorority that had held a party on on the farm was identified by Downtown Entertainment, LLC. on an application was in 2021.

Even if the cows might actually love the loud music, hopefully residents of the area will not be disturbed. They would likely not know who to call to make a complaint.

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Golf balls, Football & Booze

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At the public hearing on approving a liquor license for Coleman Coliseum on February 8, 2022, a Tuscaloosa City Council member asked if there had been problems at other schools that had served alcohol at sports events. Herbert Tesh, the representative from Levy Premium Foodservice, had replied that he knew of no problems where his organization had been involved.

As the Tuscaloosa NewsJason Morton had reported, Alabama Athletic Director Greg Bryne had said, “We’ve been able to watch the other schools and the reporting we have gotten back from other schools is that alcohol incidents at their games actually go down once they sell because it’s a much more controlled environment.”

Bryne may not have been aware of the story that had been written by Adam Sparks in the Knoxville News Sentinel that had been published in February, 2022. The article “Tennessee sold $2.67M in alcohol at football games with Lane Kiffin’s return providing biggest spike” had reported: “Alcohol sales and fan misbehavior at Tennessee football home games were at their highest on the night trash was tossed on the field in a Vols’ loss to Ole Miss, university records obtained by Knox News show. Water bottles, beer cans and other debris were thrown on the field in an incident that paused the game for 18 minutes.”

Sparks had written:

There were 18 arrests and 51 ejections in UT’s game against Ole Miss. UT sold 47,890 alcoholic beverages for $547,726 in revenue at the Ole Miss game. Those numbers were the highest for a single game since UT started selling beer and wine at football games.

Media outlets, as far and wide as the NY Post and Sports Illustrated, had covered the story of Kiffen having been nearly being hit by a thrown golf ball. An Associated Press story in the NY Post had reported:

“I don’t know if I’m more excited that we found a way to win or that I didn’t get hit with the golf balls that they were throwing at me,” former Vols coach Kiffin told SEC Network, holding up a yellow golf ball.

“I still have my souvenir golf ball,” Kiffin said. “I also got hit with bottles with some brown stuff in them. I don’t think those fans would waste moonshine. You’ve got one of the most passionate fan bases in America. A call didn’t go their way.”

Sparks had reported in 2021, that: “Tennessee has been fined $250,000, which will be deducted from the university’s share of SEC revenue distribution, for the incident at the end of the Ole Miss game, when fans tossed trash on the field to protest the officials’ call.” The over $547,00 revenue in alcohol sales that had been generated at the game could have made the penalty more bearable.

On February 8, 2022, the Tuscaloosa City Council had voted to pass an ordinance amending Section 2-103 of the city’s code. The ordinance was based on the need for funding “increased localized demand for public safety resources.” It established public safety fees, that would be assessed on a per ticket sold basis. Before it had passed, Council President Kip Tyner had amended the ordinance. Instead of there being a $2.50 fee for each ticket sold for an event that had 50,000 or more attendees, where alcohol could be sold, the fee would be $3.00.

The initial discussions on such a public safety fee had occurred during the city council’s budget meetings. On August 27, 2021, Mayor Walter Maddox had proposed the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budgets. The public safety fee had been proposed as a way to increase in pay for Tuscaloosa Police and Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue. The fee would be one dollar added to any ticketed event where alcohol was sold.

The Tuscaloosa NewsJason Morton had reported on September 25, 2021 on the adoption of the city’s fiscal 2022 operating budget. He had included: “A $1-per-ticket fee on ticketed events of more than 1,000 people where alcohol is sold, such as a concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, will now be imposed.”

The ordinance that the city voted on in February 8, 2022, had stated that the public safety fee would be needed because “events where alcohol is consumed require an increased localized demand for public safety resources.”

During the public hearing on February 8, the food service’s representative Tesh had said that “hawking” (the selling of alcohol by concession stand workers to seated fans) at football games might be a possibility in the future if the council would approve such sales.

The three dollar public safety fee that could be added to ticket charges for Alabama football games, should the city council approve alcohol sales at Bryant-Denny Stadium, would of course be paid by fans whether they drank or not.

Perhaps, if the fee would defray the cost of additional security at football games were added, fans might welcome it. A specter of irate, drunken fans pelting opposing teams with debris at Bryant-Denny Stadium in T-Town might be less of a possibility than at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville,Tennessee. After all, Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban has lost few games there. But arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct or intoxication at college football stadiums where alcohol is sold have been commonplace. An extra three dollars might seem well worth it to many fans who might encounter an obnoxious drunk in the stadium.

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