Yesterday, The Crimson White released the names of the candidates being backed by the Machine for Student Government Association executive positions. Among these candidates were members of Alpha Tau Omega, a historically white, non-Machine affiliated fraternity, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, a historically black fraternity.
To The Crimson White’s knowledge, this is the first time the Machine has supported a black candidate for an executive position, and that should be commended. Taken at face value, this is a bold and strong step forward for an organization that has been defined by white-only membership.
While the Machine’s support of Denzel Evans-Bell as Vice President for Academic Affairs is admirable, the reason for the selection is still unknown.
Evans-Bell should receive support based on how well his skills and abilities are suited for the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and not the potential votes he, as a black candidate, would bring in. But ultimately, the reason behind the Machine’s decision to support a black candidate is unknown because of the Machine’s lack of communication with UA students.
When each Machine candidate was asked about the Machine, no candidate could provide a direct answer about their knowledge of the secret coalition. Presidential candidate Matt Calderone went so far as to ask for a definition of what the Machine is.
The candidates’ attempt at political protection by disassociating themselves from the Machine has a greater potential to harm than to help. Admitting to the existence and support of the Machine will provide Machine candidates the opportunity to explain the goals of their base of supporters.
The Machine will have more opportunity, do more good and reach more people if they rise aboveground and publically accept their current and past role on campus. Increasing transparency of an organization only benefits students involved and affected by the organization, and in the case of the Machine, that is a large percentage of the UA student body.
Secret societies are prone to become corrupt because of the lack of accountability. But by taking on the role of a public political party instead of a secret political coalition, the Machine has the ability to increase its impact on campus in a positive way. Creating a platform based on solutions to issues that students have deemed important provides students with an understanding of what the Machine stands for and supports.
But for this to become possible, there must be open, honest and transparent communication. This starts with admitting the existence of the Machine and admitting to personal affiliations with the Machine.
Continuing to deny an issue will not make an issue go away. Questions will continue to come, facts will continue to be presented, and students will continue to demand answers.
However, once candidates admit to Machine support, the issue no longer becomes a direct point of contention. Like any other political party, students would then have the opportunity to determine whether the ideals of the group align with their own hopes for the campus community.
Students have been given facts and will continue to ask Machine candidates about the support they are receiving. Vague answers will not be accepted.
However, if the denial continues, the relationship between students and the Machine will continue to be one of a negative connotation. The Machine candidates are now provided with an opportunity to tell the truth and mend a reputation of denial and mistrust.
Students should no longer be accepting or afraid of the Machine’s clout on campus. We should be able to ask any candidate running for SGA a question and expect the truth in return.
Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White editorial board. Drew Hoover did not participate in this editorial.