"Alumnus pays for billboard ad" Carl Cronan The Crimson White January 25, 1985
A former University student is responsible for a billboard on Hackberry Lane, announcing upcoming SGA elections.
Buzz Bolton, who attended the University from 1976 to 1980 and received his master's degree last May, said he purchased the space for the billboard, which contains the caption: "Man Is Still Better Than Machine."
The Machine, also called Theta Nu Epsilon, is a campus political coalition made up of a select group of fraternities and sororities.
ACCORDING TO Foster & Kleisner Division of Metromedia, the owners of the billboard, located near Parkview Center, the space was sold to Bolton for $315, and the display can remain on the billboard until Feb. 15.
Bolton told The Crimson White in a phone interview Thursday that he paid for the billboard space by himself but was trying to get another recent graduate of the University to help share the cost. He added that no student currently running for SGA office had ever approached him about buying a billboard.
Bolton, who works for a printing company outside Nashville, said he came up with the idea for a billboard while working as campaign director for John Bolus during his successful bid for SGA president in 1983.
Bolton said he and Patti Hendrix, Bolus' campaign manager, discussed the possibility of putting up a billboard during the independent candidate's campaign. He said they were not able to accomplish this because of a lack of campaign funds.
AT THAT point, Bolton said, they decided they would do something similar when they became alumni in order to help fellow independents run for student office. However, he added, they wanted something with stronger impact than just buttons and T-shirts.
"We decided that once we got a candidate that we wanted to support, we would basically fund buying a billboard for whoever that person was."
Questions have arisen as to whether the billboard is a violation of the election rules set forth in the SGA Constitution and Code of Laws. SGA Executive Assistant Brett Couch called the billboard display "a flagrant attempt to get around the rules."
"In the past, no one ever really tried to work around it like this," Couch said. "We (the SGA) hate to make so many rules, but when there're so many attempts to get around the few we have, we have to make changes."
BOLTON SAID he had met and spoken with SGA presidential candidate Joe Bargainer last year. However, he added, Bargainer was not involved in any way with putting up the billboard.
"We were interested in supporting non-Machine candidates, in an effort to help them further their interests in the SGA, for (several) reasons…But basically, it was something that we did on our own, and it has nothing to do with Joe at all," Bolton said.
Bolton, who served in the SGA as men's dorm senator for two years, said he was involved in making constitutional changes which stipulated that any outside involvement in a campaign that does not directly involve itself with a candidate is "generic" and, therefore, does not violate SGA election laws.