Alabama Ends Segregated Sororities at Universities

On Friday four black women joined University of Alabama sororities that had been traditionally white. Earlier in September, two black women had been passed over for admission by similar sororities due to alumnae pressure.

Judy Bonner, the President of the University said that thus far 11 blacks and 3 students from different minority groups were given invitations to join the historically white sororities.

Out of those 14, four black undergrads and two students from other backgrounds have acknowledged they accepted the invitations, said the school president. Bonner believes the numbers will increase during the academic year.

Bonner said she was confident that the school will achieves its objectives of a sorority system that is fully inclusive, accessible and welcomes students of all ethnicities and races. Anything less, said Bonner, would not be tolerated.

Greek organizations at the university have been completely segregated by race since black students were first allowed to enroll and created their own social organizations.

One organization that oversees the groups has been made up of white sororities as well as minority sororities. Just a handful of black students attempted to become members of the historically white groups, where historically black sororities and fraternities exist.

This week several hundred gathered to march on Wednesday at the school to oppose segregation. Professors during a Faculty Senate meeting also denounced the longstanding use of racial segregation in sororities and fraternities.

Bonner instituted changes that would weaken the racial barriers. Sororities that were historically white were required to use a special recruitment process to which new members could be added anytime.

Sororities also were allowed to increase their number of members to 360 people in order to increase the possibilities for prospective members to be accepted.