The Atlanta Journal Constitution, along with many other popular news outlets came for The University of Alabama today and no, it wasn’t about our world-class athletic programs. According to the college newspaper the Crimson White, an article titled “The Final Barrier: 50 Years Later, segregation still exists” gained national attention for “exposing” the practices of some of the sororities on campus. There were two female students who rushed for predominately white sororities and were not offered a bid’ and this is breaking news?
Let me share some background information of the timeless traditions found at The University of Alabama. As an alumna of this great school, I learned one thing rather quickly–tradition is what UA is. There is no other way to look at it. After reading the article, I began to wonder why this so-called form of deep segregation is viewed as breaking news. It would be different if there were not any other organizations on campus for African-American students in particular, but this is far from true. The NPHC has a strong presence on campus including “traditional” black Greek student organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta. This is “Old Row” which is known for “keeping the Southern traditions alive and well.” Whether you agree or not— it is what it is. Now there are more constructive ways to engender diversity all across campus, but attempting to be accepted in a Panhellenic Sorority is frankly not one of them. There is an up to this story, in 2003, Carla Ferguson became the first black woman to pledge a Panhellenic Sorority and since then, it has not been done.
There are multiple organizations on campus to be apart of and they all have policies and procedures to enforce. My advice to the young ladies is to go where you are welcome, not where you are tolerated. The University has come a long way from standing in school house doors, but 50 years is not that long ago considering the dark past of the Civil Rights Movement and the newly integrated campus.
I am strong supporter of change, but after graduating from Alabama, I realize that some traditions just can’t be broken.
What do you think?