A University of Alabama Board member says his step-granddaughter was denied membership into a sorority due to her race.
Board member John England says his step-granddaughter was up for consideration by two different sororities, but was turned down due to pressure from alumni. In The Crimson White article that first brought the subject to light, a sorority sister stated "the student's 'excellent scores, influential family and awesome resume would have made her a more-than-qualified candidate for Panhellenic recruitment and would have ensured her a bid from a sorority if she wasn't black."
The UA Board of Trustees met on Friday to discuss the allegations brought forth in the article. England says he has confidence UA President Judy Bonner will take steps to make sure no one is denied access to any organization on campus besides race.
Bonner made a statement on Friday, saying she does not support the practice and is moving against it. She says she, along with UA Chancellor Robert Witt, has been in contact with local and national divisions of the sororities.
"The University of Alabama is working with our local chapters and their national organizations in order to remove any real or perceived barriers," Bonner said.
Friday, the President Pro Tem of the Board, Paul Bryant, Jr., released this statement:
"The Board of Trustees does not support the segregation of any organization at our institution on account of race. We support the efforts of our administration to effect the change necessary to bring this principal to reality in the entire University of Alabama System."
England welcomed the statement.
"To make sure everybody knows not only on UA's campus but across the system that we won't allow admissions of individuals because of their race," he said.
Gov. Robert Bentley, who weighed in on the controversy Thursday, says that he has called the University of Alabama legal department himself and urged them to resolve the matter.
England says he is confident the issue will not happen again due to the uproar. He says he also has faith that the atmosphere will change because of students in the Greek system.
"Much of the action that is being taken among the fraternities and sororities, it comes from the students," he said.
England credits students coming forward to expose the racism and he admits the fact it did involve his family member likely contributed to the push of change.
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