"OSL ‘taking the initiative’ in making Machine policy" Peter F. O’Connell and Roman Schauer The Crimson White February 13, 1991
The Office of Student Life (OSL) will be responsible for taking the initiative to formulating the administration’s policy on Theta Nu Epsilon, Vice President for Student Affairs Harry Knopke said.
Currently, the University does not officially recognize the Machine because the group has not registered with the Office of Student Life. But individual administrators freely acknowledge the group’s presence on campus. “Of course, we’re aware that it exists. It has for years,” OSL Director Kathleen Randall said.
On Jan. 28, the day before the SGA elections, The CW published several articles detailing recent Machine activities. A list of Theta Nu Epsilon representatives, confirmed by several sources within the Machine, was also published.
Randall said she was particularly disturbed by reports, confirmed by current SGA Vice President Thad Huguley, that SGA senators affiliated with the Machine had met in secret Wednesday night sessions to decide how they would vote in the Thursday night senate meetings.
Randall, who once served in the SGA Senate, said she had previously heard reports of the secret meetings. If these reports are true, she said, this would indicate the senators are more interested in serving themselves than the students.
“You have to wonder if they are serving their constituents,” she said.
Randall said she has already contacted several of those identified as Machine members. Some of these students have indicated they are questioning the secrecy that shrouds Machine activities, she said. Others, she said, are not convinced that registering it as a student group is the proper step for the group to take.
“Some are giving it a lot of thought as to why they belong,” she said. Some have “come forward and said Dr. Randall, ‘I’m confused. I’m not sure where I should be on this.’”
Were the Machine to apply to become a student group, Randall said it would be submitted to the same requirements as any other prospective organization. In its current form though, the Machine could not be accepted because it is discriminatory, she said.
Randall said the Machine would be breaking no University rules if, as reported in the CW, it is raising $27,000 a year in dues from its fraternities and sororities.
“That is the group’s prerogative,” she said.
Randall has also said she has been disappointed that the OSL takeover of SGA elections has not sparked an increase in student interest.
The OSL took control of SGA elections in 1989, amidst charges of massive voter fraud in the election of Machine-endorsed SGA president Lynn Yeldell. It was hoped, Randall said, that more students would participate in elections if the fairness of the electoral process was assured.
“It doesn’t seem to have happened,” she said. “Maybe there is some disillusionment, or maybe some apathy.”
Randall acknowledged that student faith in the election process may have been hurt by the disclosure that, upon the recommendation of the Office of Student Life, a senior representative to the Machine was one of two students appointed to the Election Board by Knopke.
In the future, she said, her office will take a person’s possible Machine-affiliation into consideration when making such a recommendation. Randall added, however, that “sometimes it’s hard to know who is and who isn’t” in the Machine.
Knopke also said he would take such an affiliation into consideration, but said membership in the Machine would not disqualify future candidates for the Election Board.