U of Ala. Sororities Blocked Blacks: Campus Report

Sorority members are speaking out, pointing fingers at alumni

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 13, 2013 9:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least two black women were barred from pledging University of Alabama's 16 sororities—a member of the university's board says the number of women is actually higher—and one of the bigger twists to the story is that sorority members, not the pledges themselves, were the ones to come forward, reports the New York Times. An Alpha Gamma Delta sorority member, for instance, told the school's Crimson White that she spoke out when one of the women, an impressive candidate who was salutatorian of her high school, wasn't advanced to the next round of pledging. In some cases, alumni allegedly stepped in to ensure the women weren't admitted and, in one instance, even threatened to cut financial support if the recruit was given the green light, CW reports.

The CW points out that just a single black woman has made it through the recruitment process and joined a "traditionally white" sorority there, in 2003. A number of sororities now say they're investigating the women's cases. A UA rep told the Times the school is working "to remove any barriers that prevent young women" from "making the choices they want to make," but sororities "determine their own membership selection processes and expect their members to follow their procedures during recruitment." AL.com notes the school has not described any specific action it might take. Read the CW's full report here.

The Lambda Sigma Phi fraternity on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is pictured Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008.
The Lambda Sigma Phi fraternity on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is pictured Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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