TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Several prominent leaders in Alabama weighed in Friday on allegations that all-white sororities passed over two prospective black members because of pressure from alumnae, and in one case, an adviser.
Paul Bryant Jr., the president pro tem of the board of trustees and the son of legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, said the school does not support the segregation of any organization. Gov. Robert Bentley, an alumnus, reiterated that fraternal organizations should choose members based on their qualifications, not race.
The student newspaper, The Crimson-White, first reported the allegations this week. The story quoted at least one named sorority member and several other anonymous ones saying they wanted to invite the two black students to join, but were overridden.
One of the board’s trustees, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice John England Jr., confirmed his stepgranddaughter was one of the black students passed over during recruitment in August.
England said he was encouraged to see sorority members speaking out about what happened, but said he thought his ties to the university contributed to the attention the allegations are getting. One of England’s sons, Democratic state Rep. Chris England, of Tuscaloosa, is the student’s stepfather.
England, now a circuit judge in Tuscaloosa, said the discussion differs from the university’s segregationist past because of the willingness of sorority members to speak openly.
“We won’t allow organizations to deny admission to individuals because of their race. We just won’t permit that. Saying that is important,” England said.
University President Judy Bonner said the administration was working with sorority chapters and their national organizations to remove any barriers. “We are going to help our young people do the right thing,” she said.
Bentley said Thursday he talked had spoken with his wife, Dianne, who was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority at Alabama, one of four mentioned in the school newspaper article.
“She said it’s not the students, but the alumni,” the governor said.
The issue coincides with the university marking the 50th anniversary of its integration of Gov. George C. Wallace’s unsuccessful stand in the schoolhouse door to try to keep out two black students in 1963.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson also noted it comes as the school’s football team is ranked No. 1 nationally. Bear Bryant integrated Alabama’s football team in 1971.
“Alabama wouldn’t be No. 1 if it hadn’t opened the door,” the civil rights leader said. “The same door that opened for football players should open for young women.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25