Racism at the Capstone?

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UPDATE: [4/16/18] The event has been cancelled. Associated Vice President for Communications, Division of Strategic Communication Monica Watts provided the following statement:

Students for America First does not currently meet the registered student organization requirements. Consistent with UA policy, the group’s registered status has been withdrawn, and its proposed event this week will not go forward. Prior to having its registered status withdrawn and becoming inactive, the group had an opportunity to comply with the requirements of a registered UA student organization, but was unable to do so. If its status changes in the future, the group will be given the opportunity to re-register, gaining the privileges of registered student organizations, including the ability to host events and speakers in campus facilities.

For any student group to host an event through UA’s student event registration process, it must be a registered student organization, which requires, among other things, having a full-time UA faculty or staff advisor. This content-neutral policy applies to all student groups, regardless of a group’s views or the substance of its proposed event. As previously stated, the University is committed to free speech, which is evident in the wide array of viewpoints our registered student organizations have recently brought to campus.


This year the University of Alabama expelled a student who had made racist posts on social media. The co-ed from New Jersey may have only represented the tip of the racist iceberg on campus though.

The fact that a registered student organization Students for America First has invited a racist to speak at The Capstone may suggest that there are students at the University that identify with racist ideas such as white nationalism.

AL.com’s Ben Flanagan reported:

A speaker who identifies as a white nationalist has been invited to speak at the University of Alabama, according to university president Stuart Bell.

Bell informed faculty and students via email that a UA student organization invited the speaker, not the school. Bell did not identify the speaker or the student organization that invited the person.

“A registered student organization invited a speaker to our campus in mid-April who has been identified as a white nationalist,” Bell’s email says. “This ideology is counter to our institutional values. The University of Alabama did not invite this individual. UA stands for the equality of all people.”

University officials confirmed Jared Taylor was invited by the student organization America First to speak at UA on April 19.

Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance, an online publication which asserts: “Race and racial conflict are at the heart of some of the most serious challenges the Western World faces in the 21st century….Attempts to gloss over the significance of race or even to deny its reality only make problems worse.”

“Taylor projects himself as a courtly presenter of ideas that most would describe as crudely white supremacist — a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old,” the Southern Poverty Law Center once wrote of Taylor.

The University’s administration has reportedly received complaints that the Students for America First organization has harassed undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff.  With the speaking engagement of Jared Taylor, the student organization will possibly gain even more traction on campus.

The faculty advisor for Students for America First is Associate Professor of Statistics Bruce Barrett. Barrett bans certain types of apparel and cell phones from his classes according to the Rate My Professors‘ site. One student commented: “Professor takes a big game about freedom of speech, even is the faculty advisor for a white nationalist student group on campus. However he discourages students from expressing themselves (not being able to wear certain clothing, have phones, or talk openly in class). Beware of this professor and how he’ll treat you like not another equal person.” But he has many favorable comments from students as well.

The University is engaged in recruiting a more diverse faculty. It hired its first chief diversity officer in 2017. The stated policy on diversity at The Capstone is:

The University of Alabama and the Division of Student Life are committed to creating and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus community in which every student can thrive.

The University’s President has said that the student organization “followed appropriate policies and processes” in inviting Jared Taylor and that the University’s “commitment to free speech”  precludes banning such a speaker from the campus. But by allowing such a student organization to be formed the University has made its goal of promoting diversity a harder task.





Megan’s Legacy


As AL.com’s Carol Robinson reported, on the second anniversary of Megan Rondini’s death the University of Alabama settled its portion of  a lawsuit filed on behalf of the former student.

The University of Alabama has settled its portion of a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Megan Rondini, a former student who killed herself after alleging she was raped by a man from a prominent family.

A stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was filed in federal court in Birmingham. The single-page court document does not specify any financial terms or agreement, but the University released a joint statement with Rondini’s family stating that the University of Alabama will commit $400,000 in funding to facilities, services and personnel dedicated to combating sexual misconduct.

The University of Alabama released this joint statement with the Rondini family: “The University and the Rondinis share the desire to eliminate sexual misconduct and, in the event it does occur, provide support to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

A joint statement from the Rondini Family and the University of Alabama laid out measures that will be taken by the University including:

•A commitment of $250,000 to the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center, Inc. to provide facilities and services to aid and support victims of sexual assault.

•The University will also commit an additional $150,000 by the end of 2019 to continue its efforts to add personnel to its team of employees dedicated to addressing issues associated with sexual misconduct.

•Over the next five years, the University will contribute a total of $50,000 in a scholarship named after Megan Rondini. The scholarship will give preference to students focusing their studies at the University on biological sciences, veterinary studies, and/or STEM/MBA and a desire to promote gender equity in those fields.

•The University will posthumously award Megan Rondini a magna cum laude B.S. degree with an accompanying certificate from the University’s Honors College dated May 2018.

Perhaps the University will consider as one of the “issues associated with sexual misconduct” the prevailing use of alcohol by under-aged drinkers on and off campus.

The University has existing policies on alcohol use but their enforcement has been somewhat lacking.

An article by AL.com’s Kelly Poe listed three bars in Tuscaloosa as being in the top twenty five purchasers of wholesale liquor in 2016 for on-premise consumption. They all cater to University students. One of them Innisfree was where Megan Rondini was last seen in public before her alleged rape occurred.

Copper Top, Innisfree and Rounders were ranked 25th, 7th and 6th respectively.  Sales to under-aged drinkers, who are often binge drinkers, may occur at the bars, since they primarily serve University students.

Poe reported on the three bars:

•No. 25: Copper Top
The bar in downtown Tuscaloosa’s Temerson Square known for its cheap beer and pool bought $169,842 worth of liquor in 2015. About a mile away from campus, it’s a frequent stop for University of Alabama students.

•No. 7: Innisfree Irish Pub
Innisfree Irish Pub has two locations in Alabama, and unsurprising to anyone who’s ever been there, they are both on this list. The Tuscaloosa location on University Boulevard came in 7th with $255,728 worth of wholesale liquor last year.

•No. 6: Rounders Tuscaloosa
Rounders was established on the strip in Tuscaloosa in 2009. The bar is nearly 10,000 square feet and three distinct venues in one. It has three full service bars – and a lot of booze. In 2016, Rounders bought $259,087 worth of wholesale liquor.

Since alcohol is the #1 Date Rape Drug, the University of Alabama would further the legacy of Megan Rondini by making a greater effort to curb the use of alcohol by its students who are under-aged.  Measures could be taken by the University such as restricting alcohol use at Greek organizations on campus, better educating students on the risks of drinking and working with law enforcement in Tuscaloosa to insure that the city’s existing codes on under-aged drinking are better enforced.

Making the campus a healthier and safer place to live and study would be a true legacy for Megan.



Built by Bama?


In response to racist posts on social media by a University of Alabama Alpha Phi sorority member (who was expelled for her efforts), a former Alabama Football player (who now plays for the New York Giants) Landon Collins posted:

“Alpha Phi, ‘Be weary of the company you keep for they are a reflection of who you are or who you want to be.’ Harley Barber didn’t wake up this morning and decide to spew racist rhetoric for the first time in her life. Therefore, I believe I speak on behalf of my brothers and myself when I say the Bama football team does not need the support, cheers or high fives of anyone who condones this type of intolerant, hateful behavior. #BuiltByBama”

The University’s student newspaper The Crimson White Tweeted “What steps do you think should be taken to address the issue of racism on campus? Tweet us your thoughts.”

One response was: “I mean for starters, not only are the Greek systems segregated, but their houses are on completely different sides of campus. How can there be unity when their houses can’t even co-exist?”

Another: “If UA doesn’t want this image, why have petitions to remove the names of former slaveholders/racists from campus buildings gone unanswered? Landon Garland was a slaveholder & UA president. UA recently refused to rename Morgan Hall, which is dedicated to a known white supremacist.”

And another: “Just have an open and honest conversation!  As you see a little alcohol loosened lips and they expressed their sober thoughts. So there needs to be a town hall meeting situation to express why in the 21 century we still having this conversation”

There is definitely a disconnect on the University campus when it comes to the worship of star black athletes by many students who otherwise may call black students “niggers.”

There was an incident in 2016 when Greeks allegedly mistreated  black bus drivers that may typify the attitudes of some whites on campus.

A charter bus service was hired by Alpha Phi sorority to transport students to the Glory Bound Bar in Tuscaloosa for a “Phiva Las Vegas” party.  Racial slurs were reportedly screamed at a a bus driver who had said that alcohol was prohibited in the bus. The drivers of the two buses involved were allegedly called “dumb niggers.” A drink was purportedly thrown at one driver.

During the ride a group of SAE fraternity members reportedly chanted “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger” along with the music that was on the bus speaker system. Upon leaving the bus several students allegedly hit one on the drivers on the back of his head.

Although at Greek parties the most played music is rap and at football games the fans in the Greek student section rabidly cheer when a black player scores, there are only a few Greek organizations that are integrated.

Jake New posted in Slate:

“We have to remember that the Greek letter system in the United States was founded on pretty harsh and legally supported exclusionary practices,” Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut who studies the issue, said. “There’s a normal, mundane type of racism that functions every day, but it’s harder to see.”

Is racist behavior at the University largely a product of its segregated Greek system, or is it a universal trait that could be applied to many of the students who are not affiliated with the school fraternal organizations?

The student from New Jersey who had posted racist videos was expelled by the University.  How many other students who have done equally bad or even worse things have seen similar consequences?





F-Bombing the Prez

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There are cameras everywhere these days recording your every utterance. Perhaps the Alabama football running back Bo Scarbrough should have realized that college athletes truly live in a fishbowl. On the day of the Championship game he may have been reacting to the televised image of President Donald Trump standing next to Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets while mouthing the lyrics to the National Anthem when he allegedly said “Fuck Trump!” in the tunnel that led to the field at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Sporting News posted a video of his outburst.

Scarbrough has denied saying it. Kyle Rooney posted in HotNewHipHop “Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough Denies Yelling ‘F*ck Trump'”:

Despite the video evidence, Scarbrough has since denied making the anti-trump remark and says everyone simply misheard him.

After Alabama’s 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia, the junior running back quote-tweeted the video footage, “If y’all really listen I said Georgia smh about y’all people in this world.”

Trump was undoubtedly showboating in Atlanta. He was there, as the first President since Richard Nixon to attend a college football National Championship, to further his crusade against the professional football players who had “taken a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem.

Alan Binder and Michael Shear in the New York Times reported:

The president’s appearance at the game seemed intended to emphasize his furious critique of athletes for using football games as a place for protests. Neither team’s players went onto the field on Monday until after the anthem was played, as is standard at college football games.

Charles S. Bullock III, a University of Georgia political scientist who was not planning to attend the game, said he expected that the legions of Crimson Tide and Bulldogs faithful were more focused on the pigskin than the president.

Professor Bullock said he believed the stop in Atlanta — and any cheering from the stands — would probably serve only to stroke Mr. Trump’s ego.

“This is just a sideshow,” he said, “but for him, it’s important.”

ESPN, which televised the game and has been a target of Mr. Trump’s Twitter barbs for years, said it had requested an interview with the president for its broadcast and was turned down.

Tom Schad in USA Today wrote in his article “ESPN says interview with President Trump at national title game unlikely” that:

Trump plans to attend Monday’s game between Alabama and Georgia as a guest of Nick and Jamie Ayers; Nick Ayers is Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and a Georgia native.

Somewhere along the line Trump’s role as a spectator in a sky box morphed into his being on the field surrounded by ROTC students from Alabama and Georgia while the National Anthem was sung.

Many in the stadium according to Andrew Joseph with MSN Sports had earlier booed Trump When he arrived at the stadium:

Trump didn’t receive a warm welcome as his motorcade pulled up to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In anticipation of the president’s arrival, a stadium entrance was locked down for over an hour. That forced fans to wait in the rain. Mercedes-Benz Stadium isn’t the easiest stadium to get into for a typical Falcons game, so it’s easy to imagine that Monday’s scene outside was especially chaotic.

Joesph posted CNN’s Andy Scholes’ Tweet:

They locked down @MBStadium for @realDonaldTrump an hour ago and myself and a thousand fans have been waiting in the rain to get in. Let’s just say there were plenty of boos when Trump arrived.

The boos, perhaps from some of the people who had been forced to stand in the rain when the thermometer was registering 40 degrees, continued when Trump was escorted on to the field for the opening ceremonies. Trump left the stadium by halftime. Obviously his purpose for being there had been served.

The professional football player Colin Kaepernic was named as a GQ ‘Man of the Year’ and was depicted on the cover of the January 15th New Yorker with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports reported that the artist who created the cover illustration Mark Ulriksen said:

What would King be doing if he were around today? This is 49er country, and my mom and I have been going back and forth — she’s upset that players have brought politics into sports, but I say, How would you feel if you had to show up at work every day and salute a country that treats black people like second-class citizens? I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are making it political. I’m sure that if King were around today, he’d be disappointed at the slow pace of progress: two steps forward, twenty steps back. Or ten yards back, as the metaphor may be.

Colin Kaepernic was quoted by Mark Sandritter in SB Nation:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

Kaepernic has paid a heavy cost and jeapordised his career as a professional ball player because of his stance.

Many Alabama football fans are also followers of Donald Trump. To them Trump can do no wrong. They will be outraged that Bo Scarbough may have “F-bombed” the President.

Hopefully Alabama running back Scarbough will face no severe consequences if he expressed himself in a moment when he was unaware that he would be recorded or that it would be publicized. He might well have been expressing a sentiment that was widely shared by his fellow teammates.






#1 Date Rape Drug!

Photo: © Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Oleari pietro.naj-oleari@europarl.europa.eu

David Robert Grimes’ in his article “Alcohol is by far the most dangerous ‘date rape drug'” in the Guardian wrote:

Alcohol is such an integral part of our culture we frequently underestimate its potency. Among its toxic effects are memory impairment, which typically begins after just one or two drinks. Alcohol-induced blackouts are common among young, social drinkers. A study in 1999 found that 35% of trainees in a large paediatric residency programme in the US had experienced an alcohol-induced blackout. Another study in 1995 found a third of first–year medical students had experienced alcohol-induced amnesia. An investigation of 2,076 Finnish males found 35% had had at least one blackout in the previous 12 months.

Research suggests that alcohol-induced blackouts are even more common among university students. A 2002 study in the US surveyed 772 undergraduates asking them if they had ever awoken after a night of drinking unable to remember things that they did or places they had gone. Just over half of drinkers, 51%, reported blacking out and later learning that they had engaged in a range of activities they could not recall, including vandalism, unprotected sex and even driving.

Despite males in the survey drinking significantly more, men and women experienced an equal blackout rate, probably as a result of gender-specific differences in alcohol metabolism. Other investigations suggest that women may be more susceptible than men to milder forms of alcohol–induced memory impairments. In a subsequent study, 50 undergraduates who had experienced at least one blackout were interviewed. While the blackouts were deeply disconcerting to both men and women, women were far more likely (59%) to change their drinking habits after such an episode than men (25%).

It is vital to remember that sexual activity with someone who cannot give informed consent is assault, regardless of the particular agent that rendered them incapacitated, and cannot be justified. Whether their becoming intoxicated is their own fault or someone else’s is irrelevant. The mentality that an inebriated victim is somehow “asking for it” should never be accepted.

In addition to its being the number one date rape drug alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Andrew Siddons in Roll Call wrote:

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on alcohol-related deaths come from 2006 to 2010, when each year on average there were 88,000 deaths from alcohol poisoning, traffic accidents or consumption-related chronic conditions. By comparison, drug overdose deaths are likely to be around 65,000 for 2016. The CDC estimates that in 2010, excessive drinking resulted in economic losses of $249 billion from lost workplace productivity and health care expenses.

Siddons quoted Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor of public policy,  who addressing the impact of the 1991 excise tax on alcohol:

“What we know is that a higher tax reduces drinking. That’s perfectly clear compared to what it would be otherwise,” he said. “With reduced drinking comes reduced mortality both due to drunkenness and to chronic alcoholism.”

In a 2012 study, Cook and a colleague argued that the 1991 tax saved more than 6,000 lives in the first year it was imposed. Another 2012 study found that a hypothetical tax increase would mostly have the greatest economic effect on the heaviest drinkers, and would result in an 11.4 percent reduction in heavy drinking and a 9.2 percent reduction in drinking overall.

The University of Alabama is well aware of the consequences of drinking by under-aged students, yet it has allowed alcohol to be consumed on campus with very little enforcement of the law that prohibits such activity. And the University seems hamstrung when it comes to preventing under aged off campus drinking.

In 2013 University of Alabama student Natalie Baine lost her life while returning to campus from a football game in an accident that was fueled by drinking. More recently in 2015  a chain of events, which started when University honors student Megan Rondini was a patron of Innisfree Irish Pub, led to her suicide. Her family filed a lawsuit against the University of Alabama.

The University of Alabama has branded itself as The Capstone of Higher Education:

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.

The University of Alabama should emphasize the dangers of alcohol consumption by undergraduate students to help achieve a safe and healthy campus environment. It could do so by enforcing its own policy on campus alcohol consumption and under aged student drinking. Then it truly might be considered a capstone of higher education.





Frat Life Forever?


Kalhan Rosenblatt’s NBC News article “Colleges are suspending Greek life. Don’t expect the ban to last.” reported on the spate of incidents that have led to the banning of Greek activities on campuses throughout the country:

This year alone, the deaths of four pledges in alcohol-related incidents and various hazing infractions have led to the closing down of some or all Greek life activities on several college campuses and the filing of criminal charges against more than two dozen students.

While college administrators, for the most part, have acted quickly after the most recent deaths, it is still highly unlikely that any would move to permanently ban fraternities outright, experts say.

In the last two months, Florida State University, Louisiana State University and Texas State University all suspended Greek life activities after each had a fraternity pledge die. (LSU later allowed Greek life activities to resume.)

Penn State University implemented new regulations for its Greek life and suspended some fraternities after the death of a sophomore pledge, Timothy Piazza, after an alcohol-filled hazing ritual in February. Prosecutors filed charges in the case last week against 17 people linked to the fraternity. A school spokeswoman said the university president will meet with his counterparts at other colleges in the Big 10 conference next year to discuss potential solutions.

In his post Rosenblatt refers to the writing of John Hechinger who has described “‘the unholy trinity of fraternity life’: racism, deadly drinking, and misogyny” in his recent book “True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities.”

Hechinger gave the account of a SAE fraternity’s Royal Caribbean Cruise where, to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, chapter members sang: “There will never be a nigger at SAE, You can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me. There will never be a nigger at SAE.”

In Slate,  Jake New’s “The Ugly, Racist, Deadly History of Sigma Alpha Epsilon” gave the perspective of Matthew Hughey:

“We have to remember that the Greek letter system in the United States was founded on pretty harsh and legally supported exclusionary practices,” Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut who studies the issue, said. “There’s a normal, mundane type of racism that functions every day, but it’s harder to see.”

New also wrote:

Despite the fact that its members agree to memorize and follow a creed known as the True Gentleman, SAE has frequently been accused of racist and discriminatory behavior over the years. Now the largest fraternity in the country, SAE seems to have played a disproportionate role in some of the most offensive incidents in recent decades, yet it remains a house in good standing at more than 200 campuses.

Tasneem Nashrulla, in a Buzz Feed News article “A History Of Racism At Sigma Alpha Epsilon”, wrote:

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was born, in secret, on March 9, 1856, “in the late hours of a stormy night” by the “flicker of dripping candles” in a mansion in Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama. The original intent of the eight founding members, an SAE brother wrote decades later, was “to confine the fraternity to the southern states.”

In 2012 Ben Flanagan’s AL.com article covered a temporary suspension of Greek life at the University of Alabama:

As a result of several hazing allegations and investigations, the University of Alabama has suspended several fraternity privileges and all pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday.

UA Media Relations says the university has issued interim suspensions to one former member of Pi Kappa Alpha and two active members who engaged in hazing activities at an off-campus location. Students may not attend classes or participate in UA activities until they have appeared before Judicial Affairs and a decision is made on whether they can be reinstated and return to campus.

Merely suspending the “privileges and pledgeship activities” of a few fraternities at the University of Alabama is not equivalent to the campus wide bans on Greek activities that are occurring nationwide.

It might be thought that the University of Alabama Machine‘s stealing a municipal school election in 2013 might have justified a ban. Bribing Greeks with booze and limo rides, as reported by Al.com’s Melissa Brown, to elect a former student to a position on a local school board was a blatantly undemocratic act.

Who knows? Given the right circumstances even the University of Alabama might ban Greek life on campus…at least for a little while.



It’s All Greek To Me


The University of Alabama has a unique dependency on the Greek system on campus. That may be why Greek mansions seem to dominate the campus’ landscape.

A post by Harrison Lee in Total Frat Move lists the University of Alabama as one of the top nine schools for Greek life in the United States:

A trip to Tuscaloosa is like visiting a Greek oasis. You’ll never have a bad time hanging out with these motherfuckers. Twenty-nine IFC fraternities and 18 Panhellenic sororities. They come from all over too, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, etc., so you get a good mix of cultures and women.

Their gaudy houses match their gaudy lifestyles. Since 2005, twelve existing fraternity houses have been renovated or constructed. In fact, my boy Danny Regs had the opportunity to chat with Chancellor Witt during a visit. Witt went on to tell him that he wanted kids to come to Alabama for their Greek life. Having the support from your University’s Chancellor means that your Greek life is one of the best in the nation.

To be sure Alabama with 34 percent of the undergraduate student body affiliated with the Greek system is not among the schools with the most students who are Greeks. But the University is unique in the clout that Greeks weld.

The University’s Student Government  Association (SGA) has been traditionally controlled by The Machine, an underground organization of traditionally white fraternities and sororities. Even when a black student who was not affiliated with The Machine was elected as SGA President, AL.com’s Melissa Brown reported in 2015 that he met resistance in appointing a Chief of Staff.

More recently a Greek sponsored candidate was elected as SGA President and was immediately embroiled in controversy.  The following account of the resignation of the student elections board was given in  Ben Flanagan’s AL.com article “Alabama SGA Elections Board resigns following historic presidential race”:

The University of Alabama’s Student Government Association Elections Board unanimously resigned this week, writing in an op-ed for The Crimson White that it can no longer be a “viable entity for ensuring fair elections” in the aftermath of the 2017 presidential election on campus.

“We believe there is no place for corruption, coercion or secrecy in democratic elections, and that our student leaders must be given a fair chance, through fair and legitimate elections, to create change on this campus,” the op-ed says. “Sadly, our experience as a Board has caused us to lose faith in the possibility of that fair chance.”

In the piece, called “Elections Board: Our Resignation Letter,” the group writes that the spring 2017 SGA election cycle presented “an unprecedented degree” of “dangerous disrespect” to the SGA democratic process.

It is difficult to imagine that the campus wide sanctions against Greeks which have recently taken place at Florida State University and the University of Michigan could occur at the University of Alabama.

Nick Roll in Inside Higher Ed posted:

The University of Michigan has suspended all social events for its fraternities and sororities. The move comes amid multiple reports of hazing and sexual assault.

About 1,000 miles away, Florida State University’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi was ordered by its national chapter to cease operations and shut down. While police are still investigating the death of a fraternity pledge there, the national office of the fraternity has determined that the Florida State chapter had violated fraternity policies.

All Greek life at Florida State was suspended Nov. 6, following the pledge’s death.

Dominating the University of Alabama’s landscape are the huge Greek mansions that are located on state owned property that is leased to the Greek organizations for a nominal amount.

Likewise the Greeks seem to be dominating the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees and its Administration. That’s why a blind eye is turned on under-aged drinking on campus, in spite of the University’s strict policy on this activity.  The lack of an immediate response from the University when The Machine was instrumental in electing a member of the local school board is also indicative of this dominance.

As Ed Enoch reported in The Tuscaloosa News:

Allegations of voter fraud and shady tactics by members of the University of Alabama Greek community in races for Tuscaloosa City Board of Education seats have inevitably sparked conversations about the Machine, a specter that has overshadowed campus politics for nearly a century.

The confederation of some white fraternities and sororities — whose existence is rarely acknowledged by its members — consistently turns out a Greek voting bloc for the candidates it backs.

The power to deliver Greek votes has allowed the Machine to dominate UA Student Government Association elections since the SGA’s founding in 1914.

Just as the University of Alabama’s football team will usually dominate its opponents. the Greeks on campus also hold sway over the University’s Board of Trustees and its Administration. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.