Racial Segregation at the University of Alabama

 Posted by on 26 September 2013 at 10:00 am  Courage, Ethics, Racism
Sep 262013

This story is fascinating: Sorority Exposes Its Rejection of Black Candidate:

On the campus of the University of Alabama, accusations that traditionally white sorority chapters had turned down an apparently impeccable candidate simply because she was black hardly came as a surprise.

The surprise was that it was sorority members — and not the candidate herself — who made the allegations, saying that in some cases they were pressured by alumnae to turn her down.

The allegations, reported on Wednesday in the student newspaper The Crimson White, were based on the account of Melanie Gotz, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and members of several other sororities who remained anonymous. In the report, parts of which were corroborated by sorority members, many students said they were open to recruiting the young woman, whose family has asked that she not be named; she is the stepdaughter of a state legislator and stepgranddaughter of a former State Supreme Court justice and current trustee of the university.

The members said they were pressured by outsiders, including a case in which, The Crimson White reported, the recruit was dropped from consideration at the insistence of a volunteer sorority adviser who also works for the university.

The original report from The Crimson White is well worth reading. Here’s a bit:

[Melanie] Gotz was the one to openly question the motives behind executive members and alumnae of Alpha Gamma Delta as to why they dropped the black student that she and others wanted to become a pledge.

“It was just like a big elephant in the room,” Gotz said. “So I raised my hand.”

In response, Gotz said alumnae in the room cited the chapter’s letter of recommendation requirements as a reason for the potential new member’s removal. Active sorority members then began standing up to voice support for the recruit and challenge alumnae decisions, Gotz said.

“It was just so cool to see everyone willing to take this next step and be the sorority that took a black girl and not care,” Gotz said. “You know, I would say there were probably five people in the room that disagreed with everything that was being said. The entire house wanted this girl to be in Alpha Gam. We were just powerless over the alums.”

It’s appalling that such racism exists in America today. However, I’m heartened by two elements of this story. First, many sorority members wished to pledge these girls — based on their merits, without regard for skin color. Second, after being refused in various underhanded ways, some of those sorority members spoke to the media about what happened. Melanie Gotz did so openly, and that moral courage impresses me.

Now that this problem has been more thoroughly aired than ever before, let’s hope it gets solved soon. Racial segregation isn’t good for anyone, dammit.

  • mark martinson

    I don’t think rcial segregation is necessarily bad. It is based on the recognition that racial differences likely have a genetic basis. Have things gotten better for blacks since the 60s? In many ways not. And whites are paying the price. Just ask George Zimmerman. He is villified for defending himself against a racist black thug.

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