Alabama Students, Faculty at Odds over Integration Of Fraternities, Sororities
The president of the campus NAACP chapter says integration of fraternities and sororities at the University of Alabama should be left to students, but a faculty spokesman says only force will break the racial barriers.
Dave Washington, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, said at a news conference last month that the Faculty Senate and the news media should stop interfering with the Greek system.
Several members of White and Black Greek organizations joined Washington at the news conference.
Racism plays little or no role in the fact that none of the university’s 21 White fraternities and 15 White sororities have ever accepted Black students as members, Washington says. He believes cultural differences between races are a contributing factor.
“I haven’t experienced racism with the Greek system,” he says. “I think the organizations are doing their best.”
The Faculty Senate steering committee has discussed a strongly worded resolution that calls for the White fraternities and sororities to accept Black members or possibly face penalties. Senate president Norm Baldwin wrote the resolution and said he doesn’t believe change in the Greek system will happen if it’s left up to the students.
“We would love to see the Greek system become desegregated without any pressure or force,” he says. “But the whole history of desegregation clearly illustrates you have to have forceful intervention to bring it about.”
At the news conference, Interfraternity Council president Bryan Oliver said he is opposed to any efforts to forcibly integrate the Greek system. He said Greek groups are giving integration careful attention.
Several Black Greek groups have White members, and some White sororities have, or have had Asian members.
The integration debate heated up after a student, Melody Twilley, went public with her belief that she may have been denied admittance to a White sorority last fall because she is Black.
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