OUR VIEW: Wilson right to speak out about Machine

Our View

Last week, SGA Vice President for Student Affairs David Wilson became the first Machine-backed SGA official to publicly acknowledge the organization’s existence in nearly six years. In doing so, he showed a remarkable level of courage and humility.

The Machine has supported a lot of good candidates for office throughout its history; unfortunately, most of them never come to terms with the negative consequences of allowing the Machine to select many of our student leaders, much less acknowledge those consequences publicly.

Wilson not only spoke candidly about the Machine’s impact on our campus, but he was open and honest about his previous interactions with the group. He admitted to gaining its support for both an SGA Senate seat and his current position, accepting campaign contributions and attending meetings where he was told how to vote as a senator. He admitted that he realized problems with the way the Machine operates, and asked his friends in the organization to change course. When that effort failed, he disavowed any further association with the organization.

Some students have expressed skepticism towards Wilson’s statements, wary that his own political interests are driving his call for reform. But if Wilson had remained silent about the Machine, he could have very possibly been its candidate for SGA president in the spring. Instead, he gave up an almost certain path to victory in order to be honest with the student body about his concerns and regrets.

Wilson’s openness has sparked a public conversation about the Machine and its operations. Such dialogue can only help students improve their understanding of campus life and think more critically about how decisions are made on behalf of them and their communities. Conversation and information about the Machine will also empower students to make decisions about whether they want the organization to continue to play a role on our campus and in their lives.

Additionally, Wilson pointed out the many negative repercussions the Machine has for the greek community, which are frequently overlooked. For instance, Wilson mentioned greeks who have been told that they cannot run for office and greek voters who are not given the opportunity to choose their leaders and candidates. While students who are not in Machine fraternities and sororities might face an uphill climb in getting elected to campus offices, at least they have the freedom to run and express their feelings openly. Students in chapters affiliated with the Machine haven’t always had that freedom.

But they do now.

Wilson joins a chorus of other greek leaders who have spoken out about the Machine in recent weeks. Austin Gaddis, the president of a Machine fraternity, and SoRelle Wyckoff, a vice president of a Machine sorority, have both argued against the Machine on this page.

If other greeks share these sentiments, now is the time for them to be open and forthcoming about their concerns. These courageous greeks have shown that even some of the most senior members of Machine fraternities and sororities don’t support the Machine, and aren’t intimidated by its influence.

 

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White editorial board. Assistant Managing Editor Will Tucker and Chief Copy Editor John Davis did not participate in this editorial.