Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Machine not essential for greek success

It’s never easy to admit your faults. It’s even harder when your failures are thrown at you on the pages of the student newspaper. But as history shows us, it’s how mistakes are handled that determines character.

This past week The Crimson White researched and reported on the underground organization Theta Nu Epsilon, also known as the Machine. And while the unearthing of this political machine is long overdue, there are understandably a large percentage of students who feel angered, confused or even betrayed.

I am writing as more than an observer on this matter and I provide a perspective that I believe many of those who feel personally connected to the Machine may relate with. My experiences testify to the strong grip the Machine has on student government and other University organizations. I am not only a member of a sorority that is part of the Machine, but I am also a former member of First Year Council and the SGA Senate, and received funding and support from the Machine to help run (and win) my campaigns.

I can sympathize with the confusion that many students of the greek system are experiencing, but I am now asking my fellow greeks, as you read these articles, to read them with an open mind. Instead of viewing these reports as an attack against the greek system, view this unveiling for what it truly is: an opportunity to cleanse the greek community of something corrupt, and move forward for the better.

The greek system at The University of Alabama is one of the best in the nation. Between a rush that is consistently one of the largest in the country and a fraternity system made up of of 29 nationally recognized fraternities, our greek system is respected nationwide.

But for far too long our system’s respect has been credited to the power of the Machine – power ultimately achieved by fear. Yet, if we as greeks claim the mantle of “leadership” on this campus, we must respect ourselves enough to not rely on the corrupt politics we have allowed to rule our community.

What gives the Machine the right to choose who the leaders are on this campus? Why should you listen to what the Machine is telling to you to think, instead of thinking on your own? When did your own ideas, opinions and voices become irrelevant without the support of the Machine?

The Machine claims that it was formed with positive ideals, goals of leadership and so on. And while the original goal of the Machine is important, it is ultimately irrelevant.

What we must face is what the Machine is now, and right now it is a political party that is choosing to focus on personal gains rather than what is truly best for the community around it.

But, as always, a silver lining exists. The greek system now has a unique opportunity before it. There are two obvious routes: one, continue to succumb to the Machine, and in doing so, admit to corruption; or two, the greek system can choose to wash their hands of this unnecessary Machine and learn to act fairly and truthfully, making the greek system a positive influence on this campus.

My hope is that the greek community will reach the understanding that each individual has the ability and the choice to make their own decisions. Each sorority and fraternity now has an opportunity to lead other houses away from the dependency of a group that is nothing more than an elite club.

It will be telling to see which houses will continue to numbingly follow the directions of the Machine, and which houses will be courageous enough to define themselves and deny the previously accepted obedience.

Whether it is whom we vote for, what we do or what we as a greek system are proud to represent, we do not need to succumb to the demands of a secret, underground organization. We are above that (pun intended).

What we have is an opportunity to end this destruction and amend the damage we have created. We, the greek system, must admit our faults, understand our wrongs, and vow to fix it.

This is the only way we can grow as not only a greek community, but as a university. If we truly are of the best in the nation, we must take pride. I do not want to find myself ashamed of an organization that I was originally so proud to be a part of.


SoRelle Wyckoff is a junior majoring in history and English. Her column runs weekly on Mondays. 

More to Discover