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"Machine: little was known"
Pat Darcy
The Crimson White
January 26, 1983


A highly secretive political organization whose primary goal is the domination of campus politics, to the exclusion of all others not in its membership, does in fact control a great deal of campus politics at the University.

The Machine, a closely knit, all-white group of 16 fraternities and eight sororities, has the power to decide who will fill the SGA executive offices and nearly all the SGA Senate seats.

The Machine, also known as Theta Nu Epsilon, The Men of ONE and the Group, has a long history on the University campus beginning as long ago as 1917, when it is said to have been formed by Sen. Lister Hill. The Machine underwent a loss of power in the early and late '60s, regrouped in the '70s and is now at its height of power.

IN LATE September each year, the Machine nominates candidates for the SGA executive offices and nearly all the senate seats and school president positions.

The Machine nominations for executive positions this year are: president - Mike Land; vice president - Alan Franco; and treasurer - Alison O'Neill.

Machine endorsements are decided by a series of commitments and agreements among the various Machine representatives.

Each Machine representative tries to get as many commitments as possible on votes for his or her house. According to the sources, a house may want a certain senate seat or executive position, so its representative bargains with the other Machine representatives to get their votes.

ACCORDING to the sources, each member house has two representatives to the Machine: a senior and junior member.

The senior member of the house is the only one who can make and obtain commitments on votes for his or her house. The senior member also votes for the house.

The junior member cannot give or receive commitments and only votes in the absence of the senior member.

Machine nominations for senate seats are decided by the house name only, according to the sources. For example, if Kappa Kappa Gamma wants one communication seat, then the KKG Machine representative would try to talk other Machine representatives into securing votes for that position.

DURING these negotiations, names of the people to fill these positions are never mentioned. Names and qualifications have no bearing on the outcome of these nominations.

According to one of the sources: "People scrape people up out of their houses to run for offices. They do it all the time and end up with unqualified people that don't even want to do it." The source said most candidates for senate and school offices are approached by their house Machine representative and asked to run.

In the executive positions, names and qualifications come into play, but only to a limited extent. The Machine representatives try to vote on a candidate who has some experience in student government and has a chance to win.

According to one of the sources, it is not true that the nomination for SGA president is rotated from house to house. The presidential endorsement, as with all other elected positions, is won by the house whose representative has gathered the most commitments.

A MAJORITY of all voting houses is required to nominate a candidate for the Machine endorsement. A roll call vote is conducted. Each house has only one vote.

Two years ago, all voting was done by secret ballot. This was changed to a roll call vote to allow all houses to know how the other houses voted.

Each member house pays dues of $200 per semester into the Machine treasury. This adds up to about $9,600 per year. This money is used to support the campaigns of Machine candidates.

A new rule was put into effect last fall to curb the number of absences at Machine meetings. The rule states that if both house representatives miss more than two meetings, their house is automatically kicked out of the Machine.

ACCORDING to one of the sources, this rule has another purpose besides encouraging house representatives to attend meetings. There are currently an even number of houses in the Machine, and there is no set rule for a tiebreaker. The source said the Machine is trying to get rid of one of the houses to eliminate the chance for a tie.

"The Machine feels that it has so much power now that it can afford to lose one house. There is a feeling like they want to get rid of some houses. They feel like they can have control without some of those houses, and they want to kick out some of the slack houses," the source said.

Machine meetings are usually held in the Zeta Beta Tau, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, and Kappa Sigma houses. According to the source, Machine meetings used to be held at the Battle-Friedman home on Greensboro Avenue until the building underwent renovations.

The Machine representatives elect officers from among themselves. This year's Machine president was Sigma Chi representative Riley Loftin. Loftin is not enrolled in school this semester, so the vice president has assumed his duties.

PAT TRAMMELL, senior representative from the Sigma Nu house, is the Machine vice president.

Anne Stone, Delta Delta Delta senior representative, is treasurer for the Machine. Stone is the first female ever to be elected as an officer of the Machine, according to the sources.

In addition to Machine officers and representatives, there are several independent or ex officio members of the Machine. These independent members vote on policy issues only, and they have no vote when the Machine nominates candidates for office.

The independent members include all three SGA executive officials, including SGA President Tom Campbell, Vice President John Gibson and Treasurer Gordon Richardson.

INTERFRATERNITY Council President Gary Toole and Panhellenic President Sheree Martin are also independent members of the Machine. The Interfraternity Council president and the Panhellenic president are always independent members of the Machine. Martin is also a Machine representative for Delta Zeta.

SGA Administrative assistant Mike Land was vice president of the Machine in 1981. Land has denied this fact in two candidate forums and a third time when asked directly by a CW reporter. The two sources both said Land was indeed vice president of the Machine.

For a house to get into the Machine, the current houses must ask it to join. A new house that is admitted to the Machine is an independent, or non-voting, house for one year.

DURING this one-year period, the independent house is expected to vote for Machine candidates in SGA elections and support other Machine functions.

After the one-year probationary period, the other Machine houses vote on whether to allow the independent house to become a full voting house. The new house must be accepted unanimously by all the voting houses to become a full voting member.

New representatives to the Machine are informed of the history of the Machine on the University campus and must take an oath of secrecy and loyalty to the Machine. This oath of secrecy explains why a Machine member must say "no" when asked if he or she is part of the Machine.

When Machine members talk about the Machine, they don't refer to it as the Machine, but rather as the Group. The Machine also has its own motto: "Little is known, and what is known is kept secret."

MACHINE MEMBERS can be spotted at the annual SGA banquet wearing a yellow rose and a skull lapel pin with a green right eye and a red left eye.

According to one source, the Machine can control campus politics ranging from the executive offices to the SGA Senate and even the budgetary process.

In the SGA Senate, the source said there are certain Machine senators whom other Machine senators follow. They would, and still do, watch the senate Machine floor leader and cast their vote in the same manner as the floor leader.

According to one of the sources, the Machine meets each spring to decide the SGA budget for the nextů

Who is the Machine?

Officers
President.......................Riley Loftin (Sigma Chi)*
Vice President............Pat Trammell (Sigma Nu)
Treasurer...........Anne Stone (Delta Delta Delta)

Fraternity representatives
Jeff Guyton..............................Alpha Tau Omega
Marc Nelson...................................Beta Theta Pi
Walt Gilmer............................................Delta Chi
John Meacham..................Delta Kappa Epsilon
Steve Coly...................................Delta Tau Delta
Carl Hunt (senior rep).....................Kappa Alpha
Chris Pringle (junior rep)................Kappa Alpha
Bill Oliver........................................Kappa Sigma
Richard Rhea.........................Lambda Chi Alpha
Govan White................................Phi Delta Theta
Skip Wilson.............................Phi Gamma Delta
Hal Clark (senior rep)................Pi Kappa Alpha
Hal Kimbrough (junior rep)........Pi Kappa Alpha
John Boggan..................................Pi Kappa Phi
David Gayle.......................Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Riley Loftin..........................................Sigma Chi*
Pat Trammell........................................Sigma Nu
Keith Fleisher (senior rep)...........Zeta Beta Tau
Brad Lapidus (junior rep).............Zeta Beta Tau

Sorority representatives
Kelly Kitchens..........................Alpha Chi Omega
Carole Jurenko (senior rep).Alpha [Omicron] Pi
Mariellen Perkinson..............Alpha [Omicron] Pi
(junior rep)
Mary Rogers Park (senior rep)........Chi Omega
Dorothy Taylor (junior rep)................Chi Omega
Anne Stone...............................Delta Delta Delta
Sheree Martin......................................Delta Zeta
Mary Hopkins Taylor.......................Kappa Delta
Catherine Berry..............Kappa Kappa Gamma
Susan Woodlief.........................................Phi Mu

*Not enrolled at UA this semester