The University of Alabama’s student newspaper “The Crimson White” is reporting that two African-American women were not offered bids to white sororities this year. The sororities are citing technical reasons for not accepting the girls but some members are saying it’s about race and the alumni didn’t want them. I can only pull a few paragraphs so PLEASE read the entire story with quotes from the different sororities.
“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.
“Like other black women before them, these two students tried to break what remains an almost impenetrable color barrier. Fifty years after Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first black students to desegregate The University of Alabama, there remains one last bastion of segregation on campus: The UA greek system is still almost completely divided along racial lines.
“With each passing year, the University falls further behind other universities in terms of greek integration. The Crimson White reported in 2012 that other large Southern universities, such as Auburn and Ole Miss, have integrated their greek systems to a further extent than the University.”
We have a close African-American friend who pledged a “white” sorority at the University of Georgia several years ago. When we heard she was rushing we were concerned and hoped she would be treated well and accepted. She is a superb student and athlete and just all around a wonderful girl. We hoped the other girls would see that as well. Her mother expressed concern too.
But this young woman told her mother that she would be the racist if she wasn’t willing to join the white sorority. She completely flipped it on its head. To her, it was wrong to choose the black sorority just because she was black.
For all appearances she has been accepted and thrived in the Greek system at the University of Georgia. I’m on Facebook with the young woman, and I love seeing all her photos from her events. I’ve never heard a single complaint and she seems involved and happy.
We know there have been many examples of white students joining minority fraternities and sororities, and I think it can work equally as well in reverse. I think the young women are ready, but the intuitions have to let the change happen.
Do you know of any African-American students that have pledged a white sorority or fraternity? Did it go well? Were they happy? Were they accepted? Do you think it’s important to keep separate fraternities and sororities? Are there benefits? Should there be a choice? What do you think is happening in Alabama? Why have other schools like UGA and Auburn been able to move forward?