Sorority accused of racism

5:02 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (WVTM) -- The national Pi Beta Phi leadership teams says they are investigating the University of Alabama chapter of Pi Beta Phi, after allegations arose in the UA student newspaper, The Crimson White, about a potential member being dropped from rush due to her race.

The Grand President of Pi Beta Phi statement reads:

"Pi Beta Phi proudly accepts women of diverse races and ethnicities into membership. Pi Beta Phi Fraternity is a values-based organization and does not discriminate in its membership selection practices on the basis of race, religious affiliation, national origin, handicapped status or sexual orientation. Nor, will Pi Beta Phi tolerate such discrimination by its members. The decision to extend membership resides solely at the chapter level. To ensure all membership policies were followed at the University of Alabama, an International Fraternity Officer was present at the chapter during membership selection.

Pi Beta Phi leadership has begun investigating the allegations in The Crimson White article. If any of those allegations are found to be true, those members, alumna or collegiate, will be held accountable for their actions.

The issues of cultural and racial insensitivity at the University of Alabama in recent days is both troubling and saddening. We feel confident our collegiate members and their advisors are ready to be part of a solution."

The Executive Director of Chi Omega, Leslie Herington sent a statement responding to our questions. It reads:

The Executive Headquarters is aware of reports about recruitment at the University of Alabama. Chi Omega takes all issues that are reported seriously, and we are continuing to work with the chapter leadership. Chi Omega embraces Sisters from different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds who live and reflect our values and purposes.

Representatives from Alpha Gamma Delta released the following statement:

At Alpha Gamma Delta, we have strong, clear policy against discrimination. We instill that in all of our chapters for all they do, including recruitment. If there's a question as to whether that policy has been violated, we take it seriously, investigate and intervene appropriately. We're in the business of education, and part of our role is to help young women embrace positive relationships with people from all kinds of backgrounds. That is and will remain not only our international organization's goal, but also our individual chapters' goal -- at the University of Alabama and at all the universities and communities we serve throughout the country.

An investigation team is actively looking into this situation to determine whether policy has been violated.

The University of Alabama chapter of Delta Delta Delta was also named in the student newspaper as dropping a potential new member because of race. We've reached out to their national chapter, but have yet to hear back.

The Panhellenic Association at The University of Alabama is the governing body of the seventeen National Panhellenic Conference sororities and one associate member sorority. We put in a call to their department are we directed to UA Media Relations.

Shane Dorrill with UA Media Relations said the only statement they have been given is from the Dean of Students, Tim Hebson.

Hebson's statement reads:

Every UA organization should be committed to making sure that its policies are held to the highest ideals, and that its actions and decisions help make sure this campus is inclusive and welcoming at every opportunity. Our student leaders, our student body and their parents, our employees and our alumni will work hard to continue the progress of the last 50 years as we work together to make access to opportunities available to all.

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