Sorority directed support for certain candidates

Elections Board officials refused to comment Tuesday about an e-mail sent to members of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority telling members they were required to vote and directing them to vote for certain candidates.

Sorority President Chelsea Levi sent the e-mail, provided to The Crimson White on Tuesday, shortly after midnight Monday through the chapter’s listserv. It told members to remember to vote for a name on a poster in the sorority’s chapter room.

The e-mails also says sorority members should “especially support” James Fowler and Aaron Zucker, who both won races Tuesday for SGA president and vice president for academic affairs, respectively.

“Don’t forget to only vote for the senator in YOUR college, and to vote for the name that will be on a posterboard [sic] in the chapter room,” the e-mail says. “Otherwise, they will throw out your entire ballot.”

The e-mail also says that voting is mandatory for sorority members, and required them to provide proof to the sorority that they voted.

“You must forward the confirmation e-mail you receive after you vote to by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, or Morgan Sellers (a sorority member) will be calling you to make sure you vote,” the letter says. “Just make it easier on yourself, and vote early in the day and send her the email.”

In an e-mail responding to questions from The Crimson White, Levi said that statement about throwing out ballots was only warning members not to mistakenly cast a ballot for a senator running in another college other than that in which the voter studies.

But the University’s online ballot for SGA elections does not allow students to vote for Senate candidates from another college, only those in the college in which they are studying toward their primary major.

Levi also said sorority members are required to vote as part of civic duty.

“Just as we make it mandatory for our women to attend community service events and donate items to those less fortunate than us, we ask that they vote in the SGA elections every year,” she said.

When reached by phone, Sellers, the person to whom sorority members were told to provide proof of voting, denied the e-mail existed.

She said sorority members were not required to vote or vote for a specific candidate.

Nicole Bohannon, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and the new SGA executive vice president-elect, said the sorority only encourages its members to vote.

“We don’t require our girls to vote for a particular candidate,” Bohannon said. “We encourage them to vote because it’s so important.”

Elections Board: No comment

The Crimson White on Tuesday provided copies of the e-mail to the Elections Board and UA administrators. Through a spokeswoman, UA President Robert Witt and Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson deferred comment to the Elections Board, which oversees the conduct of SGA elections.

Kelli Knox-Hall, a UA staff member who is a member of the Elections Board, said the board met Tuesday to discuss violations of election rules, but she declined to elaborate, citing federal student privacy laws.

  • George Dan Ike

    Everyone on this campus knows the machine is real. This is just more proof.

  • Ann Lucke

    Due to corruption The University of Alabama is missing out on and disilllusioning many qualified and driven students. Shame on the University for letting this continue and turning a blind eye for so long. I hope more brave students out “THE MACHINE”. I commend Amanda Peterson.

  • Lindsi McMillian

    This is a perfect example of “The Machine.” Non-Greek students need to rise up and realize if we all voted “the Machine” and the Greeks wouldn’t have a shot at beating us. This is our university and it’s about time to take it back.

  • The Mighty Lemur

    Really? A sorority directed support for certain candidates?!?!

    In other news, the sun rose and fell…

  • Wallace Vaughan

    Why does anyone care. I hate to break it to all of ya’ll but the SGA doesn’t actually do anything significant regardless of which candidate is elected. Sure they have tons of leg work for faculty, and condolences to issue, but those things happen irrelevant of who is running it. So lets say you’re a hopeless optimist and think that the SGA does actually matter. So what, the greeks tend to vote for the president who represents the greeks. SHOCKER. EVERY DEMOGRAPHIC IN THE WORLD UNITES TO SOME DEGREE OR ANOTHER, THAT’S WHY IT’S A DEMOGRAPHIC. So believe it or not, greeks are going to tend to vote for the same candidate because greeks share a huge common interest in campus. Also, I’d like to congratulate the machine on having control over the 2nd least powerful political system in the world. The only way you could possibly be less significant is if you controlled Canada. GDI’s, stop complaining. Machine, you’re a retarded insignificant waste of greek money and these candidates would probably get elected without you existing. And machine reps, you’re all annoying and people in your sorority/fraternity make fun of you constantly behind your back for being on a power trip.

  • D. Thompson

    They did the same for Homecoming which is why a young woman whom no one knows won instead of the better candidate.

  • Civic Duty

    First of all, the University belongs to ALL students, both Greek and Non-Greek. Also, there are plenty of qualified and driven members in BOTH groups! Just because an SGA candidate is Greek does not make them unworthy of holding office.

    Greek students compose only 30% of the student body, so if the Non-Greek majority would make a greater effort to come out and vote for qualified individuals, then this supposed “sorority directed voting” wouldn’t matter. It is not the University’s job to stop “The Machine” – it is only as powerful as Non-Greek students allow it to be.

  • K. Anthony

    Placed it on CNN iReport… see if it gets picked up.

  • Really?

    What gets lost in this is that this is article is first of all biased, in what is supposed to be a non biased school newspaper. At least try to make your article sound unbiased. Thats great journalism there when the writer tries to make it sound like the sorority president said the ballots would be thrown out if they didnt vote for who they told them to, when she was clearly referring to the ballots being thrown out if they voted for the wrong college senator.
    Where is the article about the against the rules email that Matt brown sent out to thousands of students? Guess that’s not as big of an issue as this garbage.

  • Russ

    This article is actually pretty amusing. It sounds like it was written by a 6th grader. Please, cover your bias a little more next time… but then again, this is the CW. Its like listening to Bill Maher talk about a Republican. Think about this for a second…
    To begin, online voting just started last year. Students have had a chance to experience online SGA voting ONCE. Before that, marking a senator of a different college was definitely possible and did occur.
    “But the University’s online ballot for SGA elections does not allow students to vote for Senate candidates from another college, only those in the college in which they are studying toward their primary major.”
    Great. It is good that the SGA has found a way to eliminate errors in voting. However, please excuse Chelsea Levi for not memorizing the new ballot format. She was simply trying to ensure her sorority members’ votes were not voided.
    Second, why is it wrong for a private organization to support a particular candidate and recommend that their members to vote in that fashion? More specifically(and obviously) an AGD was running for VP. Of course the sorority would tell its members to vote for her. The body of a private organization will support its members when they are candidates for election. If that doesn’t make logical sense to you, ride your skateboard over to Bryce, sign in, and stay there until it does. Is this not what other organizations all over the US like labor unions and specific interest groups (i.e. pro life groups, gay rights groups, etc.) do?
    Tagging the word “greek” to anything involving SGA elections is automatically negative in the CW. For years it is all I have read about and have come to expect around such times. Poorly thought out, biased sentence-collections like the one above are probably why 90% of the students who read these articles roll their eyes after skimming them. Get… A… Life. (And some legitimate argumentative writing skills before publishing another story like this.)

  • Richie Tenenbaum

    Obviously you can infer certain things from this given the past and what students perceive to be taking place on this campus.

    But there is nothing illegal about sororities endorsing candidates, and there is no evidence that students were being fined for not voting.

    If I were a member of a fraternity or sorority and one of my members was running for the second most powerful office in SGA, I certainly would mobilize my members to vote and make sure that they were encouraged to vote other people in positions that would work well with my executive candidate.

    We can drop the Machine bomb all we want and act shocked by this, but if this happened at any other campus this wouldn’t even be in the newspaper, let alone the front page.

  • Jimmy

    Honestly, why are people “commending” Amanda Peterson? Someone forwarded this email to her. What’s that they say about shooting fish in a barrel? Instead of actually writing a valid piece with said information, Miss Peterson wrote a biased, irrelevant article (especially since it is the day AFTER the elections in question.) If students were seriously offended by a “machine” and its practices, they would put forth much more effort to expose it and beat this system.

  • Really?

    Good work K. Anthony…keep fighting the good fight

  • an actual realistic GDI

    I really do not understand everyone’s concern. I am not affiliated with a greek system but have many friends that are in a greek house. UA has one of the largest greek systems in the country and it makes sense for greeks to vote in fellow greeks. Its called politics! Republicans usually vote in republicans because people vote others in to power that will best represent their interests. I actually went to all the debates and took an active roll in deciding who I was going to cast my vote for. Fowler was very impressive and extremely well spoken. Also, the things he has accomplished while in SGA are even more impressive and help the student body as a whole not just a certain faction. In my four years i have never seen a more qualified candidate so yall can argue about principle all you want but the student body got this one right as they almost always do!

  • Dana

    First and for most there is no denying that “The Machine” exists at the University of Alabama, and if you’re denying that then clearly you’re either defending it, naïve, or just completely out of touch with reality. Secondly I disagree with those who are saying the article is biased, because it’s just simply stating the facts. I personally think people need to start speaking up about “The Machine” and I think it is time to put a stop to it. “The Machine” is set up on a racist system and it is not a good practice for democracy. Over all it’s just completely wrong and there is absolutely no denying that and The University of Alabama should put a stop to it.

  • Matt Davis

    The obvious elephant in the room is the Machine, but contrary to popular belief, recent evidence is not clear, only circumstantial.

    If such a thing did exist, in 2010, with the current state of technology and the journalistic proficiency that comes with it, if this elaborate network (that we are purporting to be operated by 18-21 year olds) is manipulating all of campus politics by and large, how is this the only evidence that this university’s press has to show for it?

    Call me a simpleton, but either these college kids are absolutely clinically proficient at a caliber that can only be rivaled by a select group of national political elite, or we’re making much a do about nothing.

    And if such a thing doesn’t exist, then this story seems like it just isn’t that big of a deal.

    You either need more background with more evidence or you need to give up the ghost because you might could just chalk (no pun intended) this thing up to good coordination by the greek system.

  • Charles

    I am a Greek and to say that the person who lost is a better candidate is nothing more than a personal opinion. Fowler had support from many other people other than just the Greek community. And in my opinion, most greeks are more qualified for these positions because the majority of Greeks are involved around campus, and each chapter stresses the importance of community service and leadership. It cannot be said that the majority of GDI’s are involved on campus. Alot are, but not the majority. With that being said, this is not a big deal. It’s just like Republicans vs Democrats. Everyone votes for their party. Not to mention, if everyone not in a Fraternity or Sorority voted, that doesnt mean the Greek candidate wouldnt win. Im 100% sure that greek candidates still gain the vote of others around campus

  • What about Matthew Brown?

    If Matthew Brown was greek, this article would be about the 22,000 illegal e-mails he sent out the morning of the election, and not only would it be about him, it would be tearing him to shreds. Besides, the non-greeks who have commented on this article have proved a major point. Non-greeks support non-greek candidates. Greeks support greek candidates. Nothing surprising.

  • Ridiculous

    This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. The CW is the most unprofessional newspaper I have ever read. It is news that a sorority is requiring members to vote (which is NOT illegal) and supporting a candidate? How many times in history, in any election, has a group of people openly supported a candidate and encouraged the rest of their members to do the same? Who cares, the real question is WHY is this news? I am so sick and tired of the CW talking about the diversity, greeks, machine, whatever. When the CW itself is just as close minded as any other group on this campus. Any unbiased coherent person could tell that James Fowler was definitely the best candidate. Seriously? That shouldnt have even been a question whether he is greek or not. The fact that the CW said that there was no difference between the two? Come on. CRIMSON WHITE, YOU ARE THE ONES WHO NEED TO OPEN UP YOUR SIMPLE SINGLE MINDS. You are just another type of “machine” So quit playing a stupid pathetic victim.

  • Kyle

    For this to have made the front page of the Crimson White is quite amusing. This just goes to show how intimiated the GDI’s are by all greeks. Yes, the greeks win most elections. But is that because of a “machine” or maybe just because greeks are always the better candidate? Most greeks have more involvement than any other students on campus. One main reason why they are in a sorority/fraternity.. because they want to get involved! This article is completely biased, and to think that Miss Peterson is writing articles for the Crimson White just puts UA to shame. The Crimson White obviously has nothing better to write about if something so obvious as this gets printed!!!

  • Kyle

    K. Anthony…. You just keep on fighting. I’m so glad you sent this to CNN! You must have nothing better to do with your life.

  • Carolina

    Actually, if this were to happen at any other school the election would be considered null and void and the parties in question would be disqualified.

    It’s stuff like this that keeps Alabama in it’s position as the ongoing joke of the United States. This is not meant to be an offense to anyone who actually tries, in earnest, to improve this university and this state. This is meant to be a harsh criticism and offense against those in the greek system at UA that support this sort of corrupt sham that they attempt to pass off as “Democracy”. It’s also meant to be an offense against anyone who has ever been apart of this system and has still not matured and realized how detrimental such a system is to this university. I’m talking about the current governor, I’m talking about the two senators who represent this state, and I’m talking about almost anyone who holds a prominent business, government, or law position in the cities of Birmingham and Mobile.

    To these people: Stop. Alabama will never move forward because of you. Your self-interests and agendas are holding back a state ripe with potential. To current students who ascribe to this system, learn to let go of the biases and prejudices your parents have obviously instilled in you. We all know the purpose of the Machine is to propagate and advance the agenda of traditionally white fraternities and sororities while holding down anyone who does not fit this mold. Don’t try and convince me that it serves any other purpose.In your eyes, it’s your university and everyone else is just a guest. That’s not democracy and that’s not America. You people rant and rave how those running Washington are corrupt and anti-american? Look at yourselves! What you are participating in is the anti-thesis of what American Democracy is truly supposed to be. You, members of the machine, are Anti-American! Maybe if you took some time away from your constant lifestyle of “Fuck classes. Party every night”, then maybe you would realize how far reaching and detrimental your actions really are. I know that lifestyle is not applicable to all of you but lets face it, that mentality is prevalent for a large number of students involved in the greek system. So put down your North Face and Costa Del Mars, stop drinking for a second, and think of what a terrible system you allow to continue to exist.

    When you leave college, you are supposed to be a more enlightened person and a better citizen. When I see incidents like this, I realize that the Machine is more concerned about producing graduates who are concerned only with a high salary and fraternal loyalties. These men and women generally go on to earn prominent positions in Alabama and the southeast. If these people are the best that Alabama can produce, then I would be ashamed to say I attend this university. We get out of society what we put into it. If we keep injecting these pampered and privileged students who operate under the assumption that dirty campaigning and seedy elections are the way to win, then the state of Alabama will remain, as it always has been, the joke of America. See, you all think we make fun of you because you’re toothless rednecks. No, that’s not it. We make fun of you because your prominent graduates are people like Senator Shelby…just google him and see what he’s been in the news for lately.

    Wake up Alabama. Rid yourself of this system based off racism and prejudice from the days of the Old South and join the rest of your southern brethren (minus Mississippi…they’re as bad as you) and the rest of America in the 21st century.

  • Bruce Wayne (the Caped Crusader)

    If you’ll excuse my use of a cliche in helping to provide some comfort for those who obviously have an enormous amount of spare time (unlike the newly elected SGA Officials who are spending their spare time in service of others interests), it really is as simple as this: “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way.”

    In case some of you are confused as to one of the many differences between a Leader and a Follower…Leaders respect those who are superior to them and try to learn something from them; Followers resent those who are superior to them and try to find chinks in their armor.

    So just leave it alone, and let the Leaders lead…if you were one, you wouldn’t be complaining…you’d be doing something about it.

  • CW

    This is stupid. Everyone knows that the Crimson White is written by GDI’s who hate the greek system here! Just so you know, the GDI population crushes the greek population so if you don’t want “The Machine” to run everything you should all come together and vote for one person and blow the greeks out of the water; but since you all are incapable of joining together leave the greeks alone for being united. Until you want to do something about it you should quit complaining.

  • Amanda

    No matter whether you are Greek or GDI, you probably understand the idea of a political party. The Greeks band together and all vote the same, just as democrats and republicans do in national elections. If you hate it so much, band together in support of your candidates or get over it.

  • Dana

    How are some of yall arguing the fact that the whole Machine system exist. It definitely exists and that is not even an argument. And also the argument here is not about who is the better candidate the argument is about the way the system is corrupted and it is not a democracy. And I personally have no problem with the greeks I have a lot of friends who are greek, and I too almost joined. My problem is with the system because it is a racist and prejudice system that should be abolished and I think its an absolute shame that such system exists exist in today’s world. And by the way I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH CW those who disagree with the machine system whether it’d be non greek or even those who are greek. If you are Greek and you speak out against more than likely you be punished some way, but who better to speak out about it than those who are in on it. I personally know an ample amount of greeks who are against the machine system but who won’t speak out against because of the ramification. But you words will cry louder than any other, you just have to decide whether or not to take the punishment for a greater cause.


  • ….

    Dana…wait..this isnt about who is the better candidate? I have a feeling it was completely about who the better candidate was until last night when the election was lost. Another year, another crimson white article about how “racist” and “corrupt” greeks are. Does anyone else think it might be a conflict of interest or coincidence that Matthew Brown’s campaign manager happens to write for the crimson white? I’m sure that has nothing to do with the backlash against greeks

  • Lauren

    Does anyone else find it interesting that the Crimson White endorses candidates in the opposed positions, yet denounces a sorority for doing the same thing?

  • i heart the machine
  • Intrigued

    Haha. This is awesome.

  • Aaron

    I have 2 things to say:

    1. Being told by your sorority/fraternity who to vote for is NOT the same as willfully choosing to endorse a particular political party. The fact some of you see no difference in that is frightening; I guess the old days of scare tactics and “encouraging” people to vote for certain candidates sounds like a fantastic idea to some of view. That’s not democracy.

    2. Who cares anyway? The SGA does not have the ability to actually accomplish anything of real merit. Sure, we got the bike program, worked with CrimsonRide, and I’ll even give them credit for library hours. Tuition? Student tickets? Bar hours? None of that is within the scope of the SGA’s reach so if they can’t touch the real important issues for students then why should I care so much about the SGA?

  • Aaron

    I’m going to add:

    3. I have nothing against greeks. I chose not to be greek in lieu of spending my time on other endeavors. I have numerous friends that are greek, however. There’s nothing wrong with being greek or independent, and if you seriously view one group as “lesser” than the other, well you need to grow the hell up and realize this isn’t high school anymore.

    4. Last, to continue the political party argument, on top of being coerced into who to vote for not being the same as willfully endorsing a candidate, a political party is something that anyone is free to join and understand. The Machine, obviously, is only open to a select view. Therefore it is not a political party.

    Either way, like I said, I don’t care because I don’t view the SGA as an effective organization. Plus, at the end of the day, I’d rather just call all of us UA students and hate Auburn. Roll Tide

  • i heart the machine

    sooooooo, anyone going to destin?

  • Embarrased Alumni

    As an alumni of the University, and a former independent, I am boggled by the fact that this is still even a debate. Independents, if you really care this much, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Because this issue was just as real when I was at Bama as it apparently is now, I understand the depth of people’s anger. However, I do not understand people who think they have the right to complain if they did not vote. If you didn’t vote to change the system, then you can’t complain about the system. Actions are more prominent than useless whining.

    As far as the AGD who turned in this email: shame on you. It sounds like you have a Senator Kerry type problem and can’t decide who’s side you are on. If you did not want to be a part of something that simply supports its own members than perhaps Greek life isn’t for you. As it is March, you have clearly known about the Machine and its workings for the entire year. You could have left AGD earlier instead of turning your back on a group that took you in.

    For Levi and Sellers, I commend you on standing up for what you beleive in. As a former athlete, if someone on my team was running for a position then you can bet we would all join together and vote for that one person. And yes, someone would probably send out an e-mail telling everyone to vote for that one person.

  • Intrigued

    Who won?

  • wow

    Forced to vote? Are you kidding? Anyone who took the time to vote in this election knows that the results are completely confidential, so even if greeks are “encouraged” or “forced” to vote, they can still make their own choice.

    I guess I just don’t understand why the University lets the CW continue to publish articles like this. Like others have mentioned before me, If I sent the email that Matt Brown sent me on Tuesday morning, I would more than likely have not even received a response. If the greeks really do have a “Machine” to help them campaign and get their candidates in office, the non-greeks have the CW and that is worse in my oppinion. Having been an editor on my high school news paper, I feel like I have a good understanding of how a new paper should be run and the CW is pathetic. How do you have typos in an article that runs ON THE FRONT PAGE??? And im not just talking about this girls article.. IT HAPPENS EVERY ISSUE! Talk about a lack of credibility. The CW is a joke and everyone knows it.

    On another note, I would like to commend K. Anthony for sending this article to CNN. You are hard at work on becoming a stellar journalist. On behalf of UA, the Greek system, The Machine, The CW, The non-Greeks, and everyone in between… Thank you K. Anthony. Thank You.

  • Meghan

    I’m amazed that the CW felt this article was news. This article lessens the credibility of the entire newspaper. The facts were simple – an email went out to sorority members to encourage them to vote, and to vote for candidates the sorority supported. Peterson inserted her bias against The Machine and jumped to the conclusions about the sorority’s president. It was a purposeful misrepresentation of the facts to sway readers to a certain opinion.

    The CW needs to get over The Machine and focus on the real problem of voter apathy. About 20% of the student population has had complete control over the SGA. Not even 8,000 students voted in this election.

    The CW should encourage people to vote, not criticize organizations for promoting involvement in SGA elections.


    Anyone ever thought that younger members of a greek organization heed guidance from their superiors as to who to vote for, as their greater level of experience gives them better insight on what is needed on campus? Just a thought.

  • Dave

    I have been a gdi and a Greek since I have been a student at bama. My voting was essentially the same for sga elections this year, last year, and the years I was a gdi. The Greek candidate has always been the better one. The gdis have never had as much experience as the Greek representative. With leadership and involvement within their Greek organization as well as high involvement with the university, the greeks have always proved to be better leaders.

    O yeah – CW sucks. When do they ever talk about the Greek organizations in positive ways? Never. They should try and talk about how much money they raise for charities or other philathropy events they hold. Maybe how much they do on campus and for the community and compare that to how much the gdis do. Greeks kill the independents on campus in every way. They have the best candidates for sga positions.

    Whoever wrote this article – you suck. Learn how to write….youre in college. You make the Greeks and gdis look bad. Good job.

  • idiots

    The fact that this is still angering people is quite funny. If you don’t like greeks being in charge of the SGA then vote them out. It wouldn’t be that hard to do.

    BTW, I was in a fraternity all four years and I never once voted in the SGA elections. This was also the case with many other greek people that I was friends with. The ones I had friends in always encouraged mambers to vote but they couldn’t do anything to members and never did anything to members, so everyone claiming that the greeks use scare tactics to coerce members to vote is an idiot.

    The fact of the matter is that non greeks get pissed about greeks winning elections, but never show up on election day to do anything about it.

  • Amy Alumna

    Yeah, we were told who to vote for, but if you didn’t vote, it was OK, because when you went to vote, you would discover you’d voted already! 
    As several have said…GDIs need to get off the pot and get out their vote. Otherwise, Greeks will organize and run over you.