This Student Body President Is 40 Yrs in the Making

The University of Alabama got its first African American Student Government Association president in 40 years this week. It was no easy task. The university’s government has been historically ruled by a “secret society” called “The Machine,” and it’s been picking candidates on campus for the last 80 years. On March 10, Elliot Spillers beat the Machine, become the first black study body president since Cleo Thomas was elected in 1976.

From Huffington Post:

Both Spillers and Thomas ran as independent candidates in opposition to “The Machine,” which was described in a 1992 Esquire cover story as “a secret society that for eighty years has controlled student politics at the University of Alabama… it acts as the political arm of twenty‐seven leading fraternities and sororities at the school.” Spillers is the first non-Machine candidate to win the SGA presidency since John Merrill in 1986, and Spillers credits a portion of his victory to dissenters within the Machine.

“The entire Machine is not a bad organization,” Spillers says. “It took members within that organization to stand beside me and go against the grain and get me elected to this office. Just like the rest of us on campus, they’re ready for change. They’re ready for an inclusive environment on campus.”

Learn more about how Spillers beat “The Machine” using social media and traditional campaigning HERE.