Racism at “Rush”: Segregation in Sororities

For those of us living in the Fairfield County bubble, it can be staggering to believe that racism still occurs across the United States. In an increasingly global and tolerant society, unfortunately, racism is still inflicted on some.

In 1963, then-Governor George Wallace, an outspoken believer in segregation, stood in the doorway to the University of Alabama as a way to protest racial integration. Have attitudes at "the Capstone" changed much?

In 1963, then-Governor George Wallace, an outspoken believer in segregation, stood in the doorway to the University of Alabama as a way to protest racial integration. Have attitudes at “the Capstone” changed much?

The Crimson White, University of Alabama’s student-run newspaper, recently unearthed the issue of racial segregation in the school’s Greek life system. The newspaper claimed there was racial bias during the selection process in August, the month of “rush” season. The issue is being followed nationally and has even engaged federal interest.

According to allegations published by the Crimson White, Caucasian students had deliberately barred black students from entering sororities. To combat the racism, Judy Bonner, the university’s president, reopened rush season for the school. Already, two traditionally white sororities have accepted black women into their “families,” and hopefully the diversity will continue to grow. Ideally, the University of Alabama’s movement will influence any other racially discriminatory Greek life organizations across the country to desegregate.

Recently there have been demonstrations protesting this segregation and urging for an equal admission process in the sororities and fraternities of the University of Alabama. These protests have stirred up interest, especially because the protesters have been spreading their message via social media. The protests occurred in front of the university’s library, where slogans directly referencing the ‘Stand in the Schoolhouse Doorway’ incident have been brandished by dissatisfied students. The ‘Stand in the Schoolhouse Doorway’ incident unfolded in 1963 when two black students were barred entrance by the university president on their way to sign up for classes. A racially intolerant reputation is not an epithet the University of Alabama wants to cultivate, and the budding reforms of the system will hopefully encourage diversification and an emphasis on looking to the future, rather than to the past.

Even in 2013, racism is still present. But, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Instead of letting the unjust system remain, the University of Alabama is driving out the darkness and letting in the light. We, as a global community, can take a lesson from the University of Alabama and learn to work towards an even more tolerant, cultured and worldly society.

— Megan Evershed, World News Correspondent


EDIT: September 26, 2013. During the editing process, a sentence was revised in such way that it conveyed incorrect information (at the University of Alabama, sororities may not admit new pledges outside of “rush,” hence the necessity of having President Bonner reopen the season in order to correct the alleged racism). The error has now been corrected.

Posted by on September 25, 2013. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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