University of Alabama sorority accused of racism

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 12:13pm

A sorority at the University of Alabama is accused of racism for denying membership to an African-American student.

Melanie Gotz thought this year...her last at the University of Alabama...would be the year a black student would be invited to join Alpha Gamma Delta. the reason...she says...was a girl everyone was talking about.

"What'd you hear about her?"

"I just heard that there was a black girl coming through and that she was wonderful and fabulous and she had a resume that would embarrass any of us."

But when it was time to determine whether to let the girl join, Gotz says, sorority leaders decided a vote wasn't necessary.

"And of course I say, are we not going to talk about the black girl?"

According to Gotz, the only reason the leaders gave for eliminating the girl, was a quote "technicality" on her letter of recommendation.

Chris England says his step daughter is the girl everyone is talking about. She doesn't want her name or face out there, but he confirmed for us that no sorority invited her to join.

"If we're just talking about on paper what kind of person you would want on paper I think she fits it more than your average person.

"If she had been white do you think she'd have been..."

"yeah, i do. and that's the problem. Really no, I don't think so, no. And that's sad. That's why I felt so strongly about it too."

The university released a statement saying -in part - they are working to "...Remove any barriers that prevent young women ...from making the choices they want to make." The local chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta referred us to their national organization, which released a statement saying they "...Have a strong, clear policy against discrimination." They are investigating the incident.

Abbey Crain and Matthew Ford, two editors at the campus paper, broke the story on Wednesday and it is fueling conversation beyond the campus. Even the governor is weighing in.

"I asked my wife about it last night. She said it's not the students but the alumni... personally, I think they need to change their attitude."

Race is a particularly sensitive topic here -- in fact, it was on this very campus, 50 years ago in June, that then governor George Wallace tried to prevent the first two black students from enrolling in the school.

but today, Gotz says some of her fellow students have privately told her they are glad she's speaking out but so far she's the only one in her sorority to come forward publicly.

"I don't blame them for not speaking up, that doesn't make them bad people, it just makes them scared to do such a big and daring step because it will be the first of many, I hope, of many, I hope."


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