It's sorority rush week at the University of Alabama, and over 2,250 girls—the most to ever rush at Alabama or any school in the country—are currently marching from house to house, grit-smiling their way through small talk and idiotic skits in the hopes of becoming Chi Os or KDs. This is just one year after the student paper revealed that these all-white organizations purposely blocked black women from membership well into the 21st century.
never will you see more Cartier, Yurman, Tory or Lilly in your life than Alabama rush
— Taylor Gill (@tayl0rgill) August 10, 2014
The Crimson White reported that in 2013, at least four sororities blocked two black girls from pledging them, as their alumnae felt Alabama wasn't ready for desegregated Greek life. (Before 2013, only one black woman ever pledged a traditionally white sorority.) Last week, Marie Claire spoke to active sorority members and alumnae about how bad the discrimination really was—here's one recent grad's explanation of the process:
"It's not that we've never had black girls come through rush," says Melanie Gotz, 22, a 2014 Alabama graduate and member of Alpha Gamma Delta. "I would see them in the first round, and then they all disappeared. I just figured they didn't make the grades. Until this year, I didn't realize that they were being automatically dropped after the first round. I feel really naïve now—I didn't really think racism existed in such a blatant way anymore."
For all the continued interest in these organizations, it's not clear that real, systemic change has been made within them. After the Crimson White's report came out last year, school administrators forced sororities to engage in continuous open bidding, which resulted in 21 minority women getting bids at the end of 2013.
Despite that bit of progress, #RushWeek photos of "potential new members" shared to Twitter and Instagram this week look pretty similar to those posted last year.
Welcome to rush week at Alabama pic.twitter.com/tsYPhOm5DB— Rebekah Jacobsen (@rebekahjacobsen) August 11, 2013
Chapters will hand out bids to all new pledges next Saturday.
[Images via Twitter, Instagram]