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UIS Greeks to break racial barriers

Recently, the traditionally white sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, at the University of Alabama, denied entry to two black women.

UA student newspaper, the Crimson White, broke the story reporting that “fifty years after Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first black students to desegregate the University of Alabama,” there is still a racial divide between black and white students on their campus.

Following the incident, UA amended its membership manual adding a continuous open bidding policy. The change is said “to remove barriers in order to increase diversity in our sororities,” according to UA Spokesperson Cathy Andreen.

With the addition of Greek social life on UIS’ campus, several clauses within the Greek Affairs Board Membership Guide on diversity are in place to prevent such issues. It states Greeks are, “to create an opportunity for people of different backgrounds, cultures, and interests to come together and celebrate the common experience that we have as fraternity and sorority members while appreciating our individual differences.”

Of those introduced to campus, UIS Greek life hopes to break barriers with diverse membership, no matter their traditional racial status.

Historically, during the segregation eras of the early 20th century in this country, blacks faced social injustices and racial oppression. “Greek organizations allowed African Americans to combat those negative social stigmas and to factor in scholastic achievements and allow for those individuals to have community and fellowship,” said Justin Rose, graduate student and active member of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Rose continued saying he hopes UIS Greeks will, “continue the community aspect of Greek life,” and that “brotherhood and sisterhood continue to manifest and flourish,” finding common grounds to accomplish goals and tear down stigmas.

Associate vice chancellor and Greek affairs board advisor, Clarice Ford believes that these Greeks “will provide the University and its students a great opportunity to create what Greek organizations should look like. They don’t have to be predominately black or white. [You] are the generation that can change the face of it.”

UIS Greek life organizations aim to break down racial barriers through ethical leadership, academics, community service and civic engagement. With three years of hard work, determination and petitioning, senior Kyle Palmer, and now alumni Robert Dixion and Jessica Odigie, were able to accomplish what many students before them could not: Greek life.

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