Our View: Leadership a needed changeBy Our View | 03/11/2014 2:05am
Change has occurred over the past year. Traditionally white sororities were integrated due to national scrutiny following The Crimson White’s article “The Final Barrier.” Campus echoed with chimes of diversity and transparency. However, one corner of campus remained quiet.
The Student Government Association fell silent as change erupted across campus. SGA President Jimmy Taylor, like the University administration and President Judy Bonner, responded late and inadequately. His emailed response, sent one week after publication of the article, was filled with public relation jargon. The one action-based response he proposed – the suspension of block seating to create unity – lasted one home game until the traditional system was reinstated by his office. The student body noticed the irresolution and inattention to the true issues.
Taylor has followed wildly successful SGA administrations. Matt Calderone was revered as a strong leader for his ability to unite his staff in order to produce successful policies and projects. Stephen Swinson was known for his communication, sending monthly emails to the student body about SGA projects and campaigns. James Fowler was seen as a cooperative force whose policies and office were supported even by hardened independents. This year, however, the SGA has been ineffective and ghostly.
Every year, SGA elections bring discussion, discontentment and outrage over the role of the Machine, a secret political coalition of traditionally white fraternities and sororities that pushes member support of endorsed Greek candidates. This year, however, that outrage resulted in anti-Machine efforts, including the dispersal of fliers and the introduction of the website counterfriction.org, which both openly supported four independent candidates and displayed disdain for the Machine. The campaign, which began as an anonymous effort, was reminiscent of past Machine-led antics and lack of transparency.
Both Machine and anti-Machine efforts come across as childish in a landscape of higher education and intellectual discussion. Invisible attacks and strategizing create an embarrassing Greek vs. anti-Greek catfight that leaves true political debate and individual worth in the background.
The University of Alabama needs an SGA that will rediscover what we once knew it to be: a productive and effective government.
We need an SGA composed of leaders who produce tangible results and contribute to the student body. Because of this reality, The Crimson White is attempting to rise above and support candidates who represent this ideal. Therefore, we cannot endorse candidates exclusively based on social connections or the groups, Machine or anti-Machine, that support them. The student body deserves leaders with the vision, determination and experience to see action.
Still, our endorsement is by no means an approval of any candidate’s association with secretive groups or the intimidating actions taken by them.
The University of Alabama Student Government Association needs leaders who will unite campus with their ideas and actions; however, this option is unfortunately unavailable in many of these races. As such, The Crimson White believes these candidates are the best individual leaders for their respective positions.
Whether you agree with us or not, go vote.
Our View represents the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board.