"Student Government at U. of Alabama Remains in Limbo"
Mary Crystal Cage
The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 06, 1993
PLANS TO REVIVE the student government at the University of Alabama were put on hold after students rejected a proposal for a new constitution.
Only 3,490 persons, 18 per cent of the student body, cast ballots during a week-long election last month, and only 45 per cent of those supported the plan.
Said Harry Knopke, vice-president for student affairs at Alabama, "I don't believe that vote signifies broad-scale student apathy. Rather, I believe it represents the students' attitude toward the SGA."
For years the student government was run by a group of fraternities and sororities known as "The Machine." Just before the spring 1993 election, a non-Machine candidate for SGA president was beaten and cut with a knife.
The incident got the university unwanted national publicity and brought "The Machine" to a screeching halt. The student government was suspended, and its duties were turned over to the Coordinating Council of Student Organizations, a coalition of student groups.
Shortly after the election results were tallied, Mr. Knopke expanded the council's duties and gave it control of the student government's $300,000 treasury.
The new governing structure does not seem to trouble students. Said Crissy Buchanon, president of the coordinating council: "The system that is operating right now is doing just fine."
Scott Travis, politics editor of the student newspaper, The Crimson White, reported that "when word of the SGA's demise got out this weekend, many students didn't even give it a second thought."