Is the Administration at the University of Alabama like a tiny trembling pachyderm who is terrified by a giant mouse? Is The Machine a huge rodent that gnaws away on any pretense of ethical student conduct when it comes to campus politics.
A article in the campus newspaper The Crimson White (CW) “A look at The Machine’s influence — Breaking Down The Machine” by Bennett Stansell and Will Jones reports:
SGA [Student Government Association] elections at The University of Alabama are rarely boring. In the most recent contest, candidates drew significant interest for scandals, campaign violations and owning up to membership in an infamous campus secret society. For the first time in the University’s history, a candidate for SGA president publicly said he was backed by Theta Nu Epsilon, a group of campus sororities and fraternities commonly referred to as The Machine.
“Anybody on [the SGA Executive Council] who was looking at doing something [The Machine] didn’t like, or running against them for a position in the future…their threat is going to be like, ‘If you do this, besides individual consequences, we are going to take this out on your entire house too,’ and that is often a very powerful thing,” the individual said.
The consequences for not following The Machine’s wishes typically includes threats of an individual’s fraternity or sorority not having swaps, and also turning the individual into a social outcast.
Additionally, the source said while many University administrators do not necessarily hold favorable opinions of The Machine, a “stranglehold” still exists on administrators preventing them from acting against The Machine.
Just what sort of “stranglehold” would the The Machine have? One person was quoted in the CW article as saying, “The easiest way to explain it is that administrators are scared to do anything because they think they’re going to lose their jobs for it.”
Much has been made of the fact that a Machine backed black candidate for the first time in the University’s history was elected as SGA President in 2017. Not everyone thinks that means a lot. Recently elected SGA Senator Mike Smith in the CW article thinks that things will soon return to the traditional way of doing things.
“They don’t care about diversity, equality or inclusion, no matter how many meaningless SGA events they throw,” Smith said. “The Machine messed up with Stevie Keller a few years back, so they nominated a woman and a black man back-to-back to regain control… after two years of getting over 50 percent, I promise you the basement will throw up a white conservative Old Row fraternity guy for president next year.”