Sorority Turns Down Black Applicant, Then Turns on Itself

Sorority members allege that alums prevented a vote on a black applicant

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Alabama's governor George Wallace (L) faces General Henry Graham, in Tuscaloosa, 12 June 1963, at the University of Alabama in which he blocked the enrollment of two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood.

She was the perfect candidate on paper: A 4.3 GPA, salutatorian of her high school class, a daughter of a prominent, civic-minded family. However, not one of the 16 sororities at the University of Alabama accepted her bid for membership, leading one surprised sorority member to ask, “Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?” The question, first reported in the school’s paper, the Crimson White, has reverberated across campus and swung a national spotlight on the school’s enduring struggle with segregation.

The fact that a black candidate was rejected by a historically white sorority in 2013 was not exactly news to the students on campus. One told the New York Times that the school paper published “basically the same story” every year. But what sets this story apart is that the sorority members themselves have exposed the inner workings of the recruitment committees, alleging that while active members gave the candidate high marks, alumni quietly pushed her out of the running.

(MORE: Race in America, 50 Years after the Dream)

Spokespersons for the sorority denied that any decisions were tainted by racial bias. Meanwhile, state Governor. Robert Bentley has weighed in on the controversy, calling for greater integration within the Greek system. Whatever took place in the voting committee that day, odds are they’re talking about it now.

[The Crimson White]

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