University of Alabama students mill around sorority row during this year's Recruitment Week.(Melissa Brown/al.com)
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — University of Alabama Panhellenic sorority advisers and alumnae pulled the plug on at least two black students rushing during August’s recruitment week, UA’s The Crimson White reports, against the wishes of many current sorority members.
In “The Final Barrier: 50 years later, segregation still exists,” CW reporters Abbey Crain and Matt Ford report that Alpha Gamma Delta members were told during recruitment that the sorority would not be voting on potential new members because the chapter had already agreed on who would make the cut.
According to the CW, sorority member Melanie Gotz raised her hand and asked, “Are we not going to talk about the black girl?”
The girl, according to the CW, should have been a prime candidate — a “4.3 GPA in high school, was salutatorian of her graduating class and comes from a family with deep roots in local and state public service and a direct link to The University of Alabama.”
Gotz said other sorority members in the room begin standing up for voting the girl through to the next round of recruitment.
“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 told the CW. “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.”
[See also: Is this the year the University of Alabama's Panhellenic Association accepts a black sorority member?]
A member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, who asked to remain anonymous, told the CW her chapter’s alumnae interfered with normal voting procedures for the same girl Alpha Gamma dropped.
“To my knowledge, the president and the rush chair and our rush advisors were behind this, and if we had been able to pledge her, it would’ve been an honor,” the Tri Delt member said. “However, our [alumnae] stepped in and went over us and had her dropped.”
The Tri Delt member said the rushee was scored extremely well by members during the first round, and she believes sororities would have been fighting over recruiting the rushee -- if she weren't black.
"The only thing that kept her back was the color of her skin in Tri Delt," she said. "She would have been a dog fight between all the sororities if she were white."
An anonymous member of Chi Omega also told the CW the potential recruit received also perfect scores after the first round of recruitment, but cites its rush adviser, University employee Emily Jamison, being responsible for dropping her.
The member said other members called the national headquarters of Chi O, asking them to investigate possible discrimination, and the chapter's philanthropy chair -- who had rooted for the selection of the rushee -- summarily resigned from the sorority and moved out of the sorority house.
A member of Pi Beta Phi confirmed that chapter alumnae threatened to cut financial support if the recruit were to pledge.