Alex Smith wrote in an article “Why I’m leaving the Machine” in The University of Alabama’s student newspaper The Crimson White about her disaffection with the secret society that reigns on campus.
Smith said: I understand the purpose of The Machine. I understand it is a voting block designed to cater to the interests and needs of a specific group of people. What I don’t understand is why The Machine intimidates and suppresses the voices of students while simultaneously sabotaging any progressive plans independents propose, especially when those plans would help every individual on this campus, including greeks. I want to make clear the greek system is not under attack, nor is anyone or anything threatening it. The only thing The Machine is actually threatened by is the possibility of losing power and its stronghold over greek and campus politics. When I ran for senate, I ran because I wanted to represent my brothers and sisters in the greek community, but not just the greek community.
I wanted to represent all areas of campus. I wanted to represent my teammates in the Million Dollar Band, my Crimsonette sisters, my classmates in the Honors College, and most of all, the students I don’t see every day. I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless, and the people I was made to support were always the loudest.
I left last week’s senate meeting in tears and with a sore arm. I raised my hand to speak in favor of a resolution The Machine opposed, and while every other senator who wanted to speak was called on, I was ignored. “What were you going to say tonight?” a Machine rep texted me later that night. I was going to say this. I was going to ask my fellow senators to join me, to refuse to support a system that helps the few at the expense of the many. But as much as I’d like one, I don’t need a revolution. Even if no one joins me, even if people who once spoke to me turn their backs on me, even if no one whose mind can be changed reads this article, I won’t regret writing it. Because I’m finally doing the right thing. I’m finally free.
The fact that the University’s Machine has controlled who will be elected in Tuscaloosa’s District Four may not be one of Smith’s major concerns. The Machine’s involvement in local municipal elections should at least concern the University’s Administration, which should promote an amicable town and gown relationship. But apparently, while Smith is willing to face The Machine’s ire, the University of Alabama trembles in the wake of its machinations on and off campus.