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"Greeks, stand against the Machine"
Oscar Price
The Crimson White
March 21, 2005

Congratulations to Zac Riddle for garnering the most legitimate votes in this year's SGA presidential election. Because of his character, honesty and integrity, Zac was able to come closer than anyone in recent memory to toppling the Machine.

Along with the congratulations I give to Zac, as a former greek on this campus, I must also express my continued frustration with the Machine and the greek system.

Before the results were announced, I had thought of filing a complaint against the Machine representatives' practice of voter coercion. As I contemplated this action, it occurred to me that this was not longer my battle to fight.

Now in law school, all I can do is encourage undergraduate greeks to do what I did not. The battle now belongs to progressive-minded and ethical greeks to call for an end to this corrupt system. This piece is designed to encourage greeks to do just that: shut down the Machine.

For years now, the Machine has slowly been asserting more and more power on the greek system and the campus as a whole. From honor societies, to honor society officers, to Interfraternity Council and SGA members, the Machine has been placing its members in visible positions of power.

It appears that Machine members are no longer content with their jobs as corrupt campaigners. They are no longer content just to pick greeks for office and then coerce other greeks into voting for those candidates. The Machine now feels it must use its power to put its own, the select few Machine members, into office.

My fellow greeks, enough is enough. Why do we allow this organization to represent our entire system? Greeks fund, out of their house bills, this organization. They pay for this select group to threaten and intimidate other greeks.

Why should these select few be allowed to tell some greeks they cannot run? Why should these select few be allowed to keep deserving greeks from seeking offices in honor societies? Why should they be allowed to pick the Homecoming Queen and SGA officers when they increasingly pick other Machine representatives for all of these positions? And most importantly, why do greeks allow the Machine to continually bring disgrace to the greek system, the SGA and this University?

Next year, some ambitious young girl from Dothan or Montgomery or Birmingham will go through rush and join a sorority in the Machine. Within weeks of pledging, a sorority sister will sit down with her and her pledge sisters to tell her about "the system." At that point, this girl will learn that two chosen people from her house will make all the decisions about what she can or cannot do with the SGA.

She will be told that she has no choice: If she wants to be a part of the greek system or has any dreams of running for office one day, she had better obey those two people. And then, she will find out that those two people's sole interests are themselves. This 17-year-old girl must obey the Machine, so that people other than herself or other qualified sorority sisters can be SGA president.

I must say, I hope that Mary Margaret Carroll will be a good SGA president. Katie Boyd and Jon Macklem proved that Machine-supported candidates can make outstanding officers. However, it is hard to believe that she really has the character to be a good president.

I invite Mary Margaret to prove me wrong. She can demonstrate that she has all of the character in the world by making the abolition of the Machine her first order of business. She can call a press conference, stand on the steps of Reese Phifer and tell the greeks that the Machine will no longer be tolerated. I challenge her to do just that.

Likewise, I challenge all greeks of character to stand up and be counted. Ask your officers to stop funding the Machine. In chapter, demand that your house withdraw from the Machine. Tell your Machine representative that their cowardly actions are no longer acceptable in your house. If the entire greek system stands together against these select few Machine representatives, they will not just improve the greek system - they will make this campus a better place.

Oscar Price is a first-year law student.