Let’s be honest, the University of Alabama isn’t known for its love of “diversity”. So I’m not sure why it’s so shocking to learn that certain sororities on the UA campus won’t pledge black recruits. The Crimson White (CW) recently wrote an expose on four sororities that blocked two black women from pledging. Allegedly, alumnae members of Alpha Gamma Delta, Tri Delta, Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi didn’t want to tarnish their “history” by offering bids to the black women in question.
In “The Final Barrier: 50 years later, segregation still exists,” CW reporters Abbey Crain and Matt Ford report that Alpha Gamma Delta members were told during recruitment that the sorority would not be voting on potential new members because the chapter had already agreed on who would make the cut.
According to the CW, sorority member Melanie Gotz raised her hand and asked, “Are we not going to talk about the black girl?”
The girl, according to the CW, should have been a prime candidate — 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 two black woman in question have preferred to remain anonymous due to the backlash they’re afraid of receiving.
In response to the allegations against one of the sororities involved, Whitney Heckathorne, director of communications for Chi Omega nationals, said, “Our membership policy embraces women from different ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds. Our sole membership criteria is that our members live and reflect Chi Omega values, and so I can speak from the national standpoint that certainly singling out someone because of race is not something that would reflect Chi Omega’s ideals.”
Maybe the white sororities at the University of Alabama could learn something from the University’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, composed of traditionally African-American greek organizations, who have no problem in having diverse pledges. According to a 2011 article in The Crimson White, Zeta Phi Beta pledged white member Eve Dempsey in the spring of 2007, after integrating in the 1980s. Maybe the two black women in question should look into black greek organizations. Inclusion isn’t always the easiest thing, especially when it’s only been 50 years since the first black student was allowed on University of Alabama’s campus.