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Greek Life Still Segregated at University of Alabama

Greek Life Still Segregated at University of AlabamaTUSCALOOSA, Ala.
The University of Alabama’s traditional White fraternities and sororities remain racially segregated a year after a Black woman created a stir by trying — and failing — to gain membership (see Black
Issues, Sept. 13, 2001).
The membership recruitment period known as rush ended last month, and none of the 750 women who sought admission into historically White groups was Black.
Kathryn Rutledge, president of the all-White Panhellenic Council, said she personally sent rush invitations to six incoming freshman who are Black, and an information pamphlet went to all incoming freshmen.
But of the four Black women who came to sessions in the spring, all wanted information about the traditionally Black sororities, she said.
Some contend changes are needed to bring diversity to the university’s Greek-letter groups.
“Even though we’re not back in the ’60s and ’70s, we’re not where we should be,” says Robert Turner, 20, who is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a Black fraternity.
Others say students are joining the organizations in which they feel most comfortable.
“It’s basically that old feeling that you feel more comfortable in a place where you’re in the majority,” says Krystle Simmons of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a Black sorority. “Why would you want to try? Why not just go where you’ll be accepted?”
National attention was focused on Alabama last year when Melody Twilley, a Black student, tried to join a White sorority but was not selected despite having top credentials. Twilley has since joined a new, integrated organization, and a new Christian fraternity that has both White and Black members.
The university has 15 White sororities and 21 all-White fraternities, plus eight traditionally Black Greek organizations. There are about 3,000 students in Greek groups, making up 20 percent of the student body. 

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