In the wake of an official video remonstrating and forced bid reopening from University President Judy Bonner and a heavy dose of public outrage, the University of Alabama’s Panhellenic sorority system is less racially segregated than it was at the beginning of the school year.
According to a progress report from Bonner, 11 of the 72 sorority bids offered since bidding was reopened have gone to black women, while three others have gone to other minorities. At least two traditionally white UA sororities will now include black students. One of those students, Halle Lindsay, accepted a bid from Alpha Gamma Delta, and tweeted this appropriate aphorism immediately afterward:
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi— Halle Lindsay (@hayy_iSmileAlot) September 20, 2013
Bonner added that six of the 14 total bids that went to minority students have been accepted so far, and other bids are being considered. The University President struck a more optimistic note than she did on Tuesday, when every reasonable person involved (either tangentially or intimately) with Greek life in Tuscaloosa was still riding a wave of disgust from a report in The Crimson White that alumnae and advisers blocked the selection of a black student against the wishes of current sorority members.
I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a Greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities. We will not tolerate anything less.
The open bidding is a step towards greater inclusivity, but students at UA seem to be aware that they need to keep holding their university administrators accountable for institutional racism in the Greek system, reminding them at all times that ignoring such a troubling issue can only ever be a losing public relations strategy.
Image via AP, Dave Martin