Many University of Alabama students, such as Katharine Smith, have bucked The University of Alabama’s Machine. Most students are just trying to get an education. Their parents are just trying to make a living. But there’s a problem with the “go-along, get-along” approach to life.
Citizens of the Third Reich who were Hitler’s, perhaps to some extent unknowing, accomplices in genocide eventually found out that “what goes around comes around.” Even even proud patriotic citizens of the USA have discovered that the American Dream was often a nightmare. After losing their savings and loan investments or seeing their IRAs dramatically drop in value, due to the activities of the Enrons or Goldman Sachs of the financial sector, some people have questioned the “system.” Parents who have lost their children in unnecessary, meaningless military misadventures based on lies, such as Vietnam and Iraq, have certainly regretted their trust in their leaders.
Unswerving alliance to a secret campus organization such as The Machine is a way of life that is embraced by many, but not a majority of University of Alabama students. Occasionally some students rise to the occasion and actually question authority.
The staff of the University of Alabama’s student newspaper has recently been honored for its coverage of segregation in the Greek system. The Tuscaloosa News reported that:
Staff members of the University of Alabama’s Crimson White student newspaper were among the winners of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication 2014 Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism.
Editor Abbey Crain, magazine editor Matt Ford and editor-in-chief Mazie Bryant were chosen for an Ancil Payne Award for their work on “The Final Barrier,” the September 2013 article reporting allegations that black students were passed over for bids at traditionally white UA sororities because of their race.
The annual award recognizes journalists and news organizations that act with integrity and character and demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to ethical conduct, even when faced with economic, personal or political pressure, according to the April 15 release announcing the winners.
The Crimson White was also the source for stories about The Machine’s interference in a local school board election and other misdeeds. One source with ties to The Crimson White has claimed that many articles written by student reporters were rejected and that the student newspaper’s editorial policy of mostly avoiding reporting about any controversy on campus has discouraged student reporters from even trying to report on certain issues.
So it is all the more amazing that the award winning story on the fraternal system’s racial discrimination made it to the light of day. Certainly the letter written by a parent of Katharine Smith, that was published in this blog, hasn’t been featured in The Crimson White.
Some of the comments on the blog with Ann Smith’s letter were rejected. They show the ugly mindset that many of The Machine’s Nazis have.
“UA Student” seemed to think that every thing was hunky dory:
“Hmmm, if I remember correctly, the bill she tried to pass lacked any sort of backbone. Thats [sic] why it was killed and a better one was passed this past week. One that will actually take initiative into integrating the greek system. She just wanted her name to be on something “monumental” because she’s really into politics. Sorry if the truth hurts.
“And bringing the sorority into this as a whole is unnecessary. A few bad apples shouldn’t cause the entire chapter to take the fall.”
“Bubba” has this to say…”hell yeah we dont need her kind at BAMA roll damn tide”
“UA Student” chimed in again: “There is such a wide range of students that attend the university, I am sorry that your daughter didn’t find her place. However, for so many people, the Greek system is their place. Since you believe that those Florida universities are temples of wholesome values, why don’t you just pull her out of Alabama (so you can stop spending all that money too) and transfer her to a different school where she can be a big fish in a little pond.”
“Robert” was also not impressed by Katharine’s idealism:
“This all sounds wonderfully idealistic. While it would be great if idealists, such as this young co-ed, were able to conquer all the injustices of the world, many of them are simply trying to change the world and the people in it not because of their altruism, but because of the opposite: They are so self-centered and egotistical that they want to change their environment to suit themselves. To embark on changing decades of culture and tradition alone is either that type of self-absorption or simply a combination of stupidity and naïveté [sic]—- along with an affinity for drama. In any case, this girl’s parents are complicit for not having given her better counsel on how the world really works and what change one person can effect. It’s not surprising, however, given the mom’s overly dramatic letter to the president. She clearly thrives on the drama as much as her daughter. People can feel sorry for this young girl, but I pity her for other reasons: She’s going through life with the self-righteous and arrogant view that things should change because she wants them to rather than having the intelligence to know when she should move along and take her causes elsewhere. Little Miss Leadership also needs to learn that changing the culture of a large state university doesn’t happen overnight —- and it can’t be done by one person (as much as she had her heart set on being its savior).”
“Mark” had this to say: “What in Hell are you people crying about? Really! Can you just not see that no one has mentioned anything about “learning” in a “classroom”? Go to class, get your degree and live! All this bogus crap (from Mommy, no less) just shows how unprepared young people are to go forward in this country.”
There has been some amount of campus activity that has attempted to derail the mighty Machine. The United Alabama Project has had a small amount of success. Only when the majority of students at The University of Alabama, Greeks included, decide that enough is enough will the tyranny of The Machine end. Until then Alabama’s business and political leaders who owe their rise to power to The Machine will continue the activities that destroy the lives of many people living in The Heart of Dixie.
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was thought to have said this about the failure of his fellow Germans to oppose the Third Reich:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.