TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Black women are joining traditionally white sororities at the University of Alabama amid efforts to end racial segregation within Greek-letter social groups, the head of the school said Friday.
University President Judy Bonner said 11 black students and three students from other minority groups received bids, or invitations, to join a historically white sorority. Of that group, four black students and two students from other minority backgrounds have accepted those invitations, Bonner said. She expected the numbers to rise as the academic year continues.
"I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a Greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities," Bonner said in a video statement. "We will not tolerate anything less."
The university's Greek organizations have been segregated by race since the first black students enrolled and created social organizations. One oversight organization has been composed of white sororities and the other composed of minority sororities. Only a handful of blacks attempted to join the historically white Greek groups at Alabama, where there are also historically black fraternities and sororities.
But that system came under scrutiny when the campus newspaper, The Crimson White, reported allegations this month that two prospective black members were passed over by all-white sororities because of pressure from alumnae, and in one case, an adviser. The coverage caused a wide-ranging debate, even prompting Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, an alumnus, to say that fraternal organizations should choose members based on their qualifications, not their race.
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