Univ. of Alabama President: Sorority Membership Decisions Were Based on Race

PHOTO: Clark Hall , University of Alabama
Share
Copy

The University of Alabama president admitted in a video today that the school's sororities made membership decisions based on race and called for "systemic and profound changes."

Dr. Judy Bonner's statement came less than a week after a student newspaper made allegations that sororities blocked two black women from pledging.

"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 in a video posted today.

She said the office of the president and the office of student affairs began working with both local and national sorority chapters before the formal recruitment period ended to determine what the barriers were and to develop a plan to "help the Greek system embrace the diversity that is represented at the University of Alabama."

Bonner enacted a new policy that opens a continuous bidding process to every student and every sorority so that new members can be added at any time.

"While we will not tell any group who they must pledge, the University of Alabama will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," she said. "The chapter members are ready to move forward. The University of Alabama will support them in every way possible. We will work extremely hard to remove any barriers that they perceive."

The school's sororities came under fire last week when an article in The Crimson White said the "UA Greek system is still almost completely divided along racial lines" and that the two women "tried to break what remains an almost impenetrable color barrier."

The story claimed that none of the school's 16 Panhellenic organizations offered a bid to pledge two black women, with some alumni allegedly stepping in to block them. A member of one sorority told the paper alumnae threatened to cut financial support after learning that the chapter planned to pledge one of the black students.

At least two University of Alabama sororities -- Alpha Gamma Delta and Pi Beta Phi -- told ABC News they were investigating the allegations. Neither sorority immediately responded to requests for comment on the president's statement today.

null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: In this April 26, 2013 photo, a large home intended for the family of Warren Jeffs is seen in Hildale, Utah.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP
PHOTO: Zac Efron seen at BBC Radio One, April 24, 2014, in London.
Neil P. Mockford/GC Images/Getty Images