Protests at University of Alabama Over Sorority Racial Segregation

Protests at University of Alabama Over Sorority Racial Segregation
Protests at University of Alabama Over Sorority Racial Segregation (Photo credit: Twitter-@itsmelissabrown)

#WeStand: A crowd gathered on the steps of the University of Alabama Wednesday morning, including students and faculty, to march against sorority racial segregation. One of the black students denied membership in a white sorority was the grand-daughter of John England Jr., circuit judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit and one of three black members on the UA Board of Trustees. He confirmed the racial snub.

@UAstands: The students and faculty marched to the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library in response to allegations of racism and segregation in the schools’ Greek system. University president Judy Bronner outlined a plan for integrating the system Tuesday through a video statement.

President Judy Bonner mandated that sororities belonging to a campus association composed of white sororities must start using a recruitment process in which new members can be added at any time. She increased the maximum allowable size of the groups to 360 people, increasing the chances for prospective members. She said people are watching Alabama just as they did when it admitted its first black students 50 years ago.

“This time it is because our Greek system remains segregated and chapter members admit that during the recruitment process that ended a few weeks ago decisions were made based on race,” Bonner said.

Here’s an excerpt from the Crimson White’s article about “The Final Barrier:”

“Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?”

The question – asked by Alpha Gamma Delta member Melanie Gotz during her chapter’s sorority recruitment – was greeted by silence. The sorority’s active members and a few alumnae gathered in the room to hear the unexpected news that there would be no voting on potential new members that night. The chapter, they were told, had already agreed on which students would be invited back for the next round.

Gotz and several of her sorority sisters, however, were far from satisfied. They wanted to discuss one potential new member in particular.

By any measure, this candidate was what most universities would consider a prime recruit for any organization, sorority or otherwise. She had a 4.3 GPA in high school, was salutatorian of her graduating class and comes from a family with deep roots in local and state public service and a direct link to The University of Alabama.

The recruit, who asked to remain anonymous, seemed like the perfect sorority pledge on paper, yet didn’t receive a bid from any of the 16 Panhellenic sororities during formal recruitment. Gotz and others said they know why: The recruit is black. She and at least one other black woman, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of personal safety, went through formal recruitment this year, but neither was offered a bid.