The Crimson White

Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

Anna Beth Peters, Contributing Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Machine: two words that are often whispered by the students on The University of Alabama’s campus, especially when something strange occurs. What exactly is this mystery that students are so familiar with but also have yet to understand? AL.com’s Reckon Radio has recently produced a podcast that tackles explaining the mysterious secret society. Amy Yurkanin, the show’s host, sums up the eagerness to uncover this enigma when she states: “To understand Alabama, you’ve got to understand its systems … and the Machine is a big one.”

Theta Nu Epsilon’s Alpha Rho chapter, more commonly referred to as “the Machine,” is a secret coalition of fraternity and sorority members that operates underground at the University. The group is said to play an extensive role in SGA elections, as well as in other on- and off-campus activities. The podcast frequently describes the society as a “large voter bloc” that puts the interests of the Greek community at the forefront of campus involvement. Many people take issue with this simplistic explanation, as Theta Nu is said to resort to strategic voting and dirty politics.

The “Greek Gods” podcast by Reckon Radio seeks to explain the tainted history of the Machine and help people to understand the mystery surrounding the organization. It features several guests from the University, including alumni and current and former students. These students detailed their experiences with the Machine, as well as their opinions on the underground organization.

The four-part show discusses the discomforting events that have taken place in the past, and it contemplates current Machine involvement at the University. The most notable role the society plays in UA politics is unearthed during SGA elections. Several Greek houses are known to push votes for a certain “Greek” candidate, telling their members that Greek life will suffer severely if the supported candidate doesn’t win.

Many people choose to believe this “secret society” is harmless, as it only affects UA politics, but I ask you this: Is stripping students from their right to a free and fair election harmless? Pushing houses of 400 plus members to vote for the same candidate doesn’t exactly seem like democracy. Independent voters seem to be less interested in even voting, as they don’t believe their vote counts in comparison to those involved in Greek life. Former candidate for SGA president, Amber Scales, was featured in the podcast and stated: “The systems could be toppled, but they survive off of apathy.”

So why does this matter? Who cares that a society of allegedly “elite” alumni and students are controlling campus elections? Apparently not many, as the Machine has maintained its power at the University for decades. Despite this, the campus role of the Machine is only a part of the story. Members of this “voter bloc” often go on to be involved in politics at the state level, which is somewhat discomforting. John Archibald, former Crimson White editorial editor and co-host of the “Greek Gods podcast,” confessed: “What happens in the Machine mirrors what happens in Alabama.”

So, consider this: The people stimulating the corruption of on-campus politics at your university could go on to be your mayors, your governors or even your senators. Do the students at the University want to fight the status quo and create change? If so, the answer may lie in acknowledging Theta Nu Epsilon and the corruption and secrecy that surrounds it. According to podcast guest and former Elections Board Chair Keeli Mallory, “There’s no going forward when you’re still being controlled by people in a basement.” Are we choosing to let this corruption flourish and turn a blind eye? Should independent students rise up and fight for the power the majority has relinquished? My suggestion is that you give the podcast a listen and decide for yourself.

Leave a Comment
Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Hazing needs to end

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    OPPOSING VIEWS: Nike’s ad campaign is about justice for all

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    OPPOSING VIEWS: Nike’s ad campaign is unpatriotic

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Stop trying to seem cool by being slow to respond

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Arguing with the umpire is never beneficial

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Service jobs deserve as much respect as high-paying careers

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Introversion can be misunderstood, with harmful effects

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Spirituality cannot adequately replace religion in today’s world

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    ‘Cancel culture’ idea is deeply flawed

  • Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’

    OPINION

    Response: Feminism deserves critical thought

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894
Students must examine the role played by ‘the Machine’