Sororities reopen bidding process

The presidents and delegates of the Alabama Panhellenic Association announced Monday that each sorority would be allotted an amended 360 members, which permitted the sororities to reopen the bidding process. The announcements were made following a closed meeting Sunday night called by University of Alabama President Judy Bonner with advisors from each Panhellenic sorority, which The Crimson White was denied access to.

APA President Brandi Morrison read a statement from The National Panhellenic Council manual of information that describes the continuous open bidding process. The manual recommends that in these “Continuous Open Bidding” cases the total for each sorority be determined either through average chapter size, rounded down to the nearest whole number, median chapter size or the size of the largest chapter.

“Continuous Open Bidding is the opportunity for any Panhellenic chapter that has not reached its total chapter size in the formal recruitment process and/or is below Panhellenic total chapter size to pledge additional new members,” UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen said in an emailed statement.

All chapters are allowed, Andreen said, to extend bids or offers to unaffiliated women up to the designated Panhellenic total number. They are allowed to extend these bids throughout the regular school year.

President Bonner released a statement before the Board of Trustees meeting Friday and said the University administration was working in partnership with local chapters and organizations to “remove any real or perceived barriers.” This meeting came after The Crimson White released an article revealing discrimination in the Panhellenic sorority formal recruitment process.

“We are going to help our young people do the right thing,” Bonner said after Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Andreen then released a statement Monday confirming she had mandated use of continuous open bidding.

“Dr. Bonner, in cooperation with local sorority chapters and their national organizations, has mandated use of continuous open bidding to remove barriers in order to increase diversity in our sororities,” Andreen said.

As permissible by Bonner’s mandate, the APA met Monday evening to discuss a proposal on how many new members each sorority should be allocated.

An amendment was brought forward by representatives of Phi Mu to allow each sorority an allocated 360 members. The amendment was seconded by representatives from Chi Omega and was only opposed by one of the sororities present at the meeting, Sigma Delta Tau.

The amendment was approved by majority vote. After the meeting was called to an end, the APA released the following statement: “The Presidents and Delegates of the Alabama Panhellenic Association voted to raise Chapter Total to 360, which is size of the largest chapter, to allow all NPC member groups to participate immediately in the continuous open bidding (COB) process.”

The bidding process is open to any girls who have not previously been offered a bid and who are not already affiliated with the greek system.

“Students who went through the recruitment process but did not receive a bid can be considered,” Andreen said.

Andreen said freshmen and upperclassmen who did not participate in the formal recruitment process are also eligible for consideration.

“The only stipulation is that they be a full-time female student at UA and meet the sorority’s members requirements, which include academics,” she said.

The implications of what this means for the University Panhellenic system are still unclear, as well as whether or not alumnae will be involved in the process.

“We’ve never done this before,” Kat Gillan, director of greek affairs, said.

Andreen said all Panhellenic sororities are included in the process but did not specify whether or not it will be mandatory.

  • JimfromBham

    President Judy Bonner “mandated” the open bidding solution. A few questions:

    1. Does “mandated” mean is was a requirement, or merely a suggestion?
    2. What has become of Emily Jamison, the Chi Omega advisor and alum who allegedly interfered with Chi O’s efforts to extend a bid to one of the black applicants? Jamison is also a UA employee who holds a well paid position like “Director of Events for the Chancellor and President”.
    3. Is there any truth to the rumors that bids have already been extended to the black ladies originally involved in this mess?
    4. Why did Sigma Delta Tau oppose this solution?
    5. Will the sorority alums be allowed to continue to interfere?
    6. What will happen next year?
    7. Did President Bonner disclose any of the legal advice she had received during her discussions with the Greek organizations? If so, what did she mention?

    This has been a PR disaster of the highest magnitude so far. Let’s hope this solution is the start of a good outcome.

    • JimfromBham

      Sorry, one more item:

      9. What role did the national Greek organizations play in this situation? They issue charters to the UA chapters which contractually prohibit discrimination. The national organizations could void or revoke the UA chapters’ charters, along with the licenses to use logos, slogans, etc.

      • AllyBama

        Sigma Delta Tau opposed because they are a very small chapter that does not participate in formal recruitment.

  • SusieQ

    SDT is a traditional Jewish Sorority with a small member ship. Not sure if that would have anything to do with the vote. Maybe other chapters having the chance to continue to pledge new members hurts their chances to continue to get new members. They are traditionally very liberal so maybe they just don’t like interference. I have already contacted my sorority and was told if anything alumni encouraged the house to step up. No one in the house knew the young woman and she had close friends in other sororities. It was assumed she would pledge there. Many times girls are dropped in order to invite others back when it is pretty well assumed they will pledge elsewhere. For instances, girls with sisters who are actives are often dropped from other houses in order not to “waste” in invitation back. I understand the traditionally African American Sororities aren’t really happy with all this, as they fear they will loose potential members. I think there may be one white girl in the traditional black sororities. I don’t know anything about the fraternity system.
    I agree there should be an investigation on the University employee who was accused of thwarting a sorority’s desire to pledge someone because of race. Our alumni can recommend someone for membership and they can technically send a “non rec” based on character issues but are not supposed to interfere in the voting process other than see to it that rules such as legacies must be invited back at least once and if legacies is invited back to the preferential party, the legacies go to the top of the bid list.

    • JimfromBham

      Thanks for your in depth reply, SusieQ. This PR mess is now in the national media.

    • SykesFive

      The CW earlier reported: “Sigma Delta Tau, a Panhellenic and traditionally Jewish sorority that does not participate in formal recruitment, has reportedly also pledged black members in the past.” http://cw.ua.edu/2013/09/11/the-final-barrier-50-years-later-segregation-still-exists/

    • ProudGrad

      SusieQ – as a graduate of UA and member of a traditional African American sorority (I pledged at UA, as well), I don’t think that the current members on campus “fear they will loose potential members” as you stated in your response to the article.

      • SusieQ

        Just something a very close friend who is a member of one of those sororities told me. She is highly involved with her program

  • DrumminD21311

    “Judy Bonner: Gather round you little wenches. You really messed up this time. You really screwed us over. Now that all the infiltrators have been handled, let’s get down to business. How are we gonna fix this? The only way we can. Just let everyone in.”

    Sorority Girl: Let everyone in?

    Judy Bonner: Did I stutter? Just let everyone in.

    Sorority Girl: But we don’t want to let everyone in. We just want to ensure that all women that we feel would make a valuable contribution to our sorority are given the chance to prove themselves to us, regardless of the color of their skin.

    Judy Bonner: Who offered her a bid? Get her out of the room immediately. I never want to see her face again. ::Sigh:: You see what you make me do? Why do you make me do things like this? Until you can figure out a way to keep black girls out without stirring up a national brouhaha, you’re just gonna have to let everyone in. Meeting adjourned.”

    • TXDoula

      Hate, in any form, is inappropriate. The young women who are current members are on the right side of history in this debate. They are the ones who went to the media and blew this story wide open…and to that I say well done!

      • thabe331

        a few of them did

    • Dustin Swift

      I found this post entertaining.

  • T.R.

    How exactly does re-opening bidding guarantee a lack of racial discrimination in who gets offered the bids?

  • mxm123

    Judy Bonner aided and abetted segregation in these sororities. Please resign Ms Bonner

  • thabe331

    I would be too insulted to take a bid from racists

  • thabe331

    I really hope that nationals brings down the hammer on these chapters. I know as a proud member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity I would be insulted if brothers of mine conducted such vile practices

    • DeLane Califf

      Really, how many black members do you have?? I am all for diversity and have been hoping this would change since I was a sorority member in the 70s. Most national sororities and fraternities are integrated and have been for years, but to my knowledge, the only fraternity at Alabama that has been integrated was also almost ruined by the other fraternities and called vile names. Since I live in another state, I find the idea that this is even an issue in either sororities or fraternities to be a blight on the system. However, I know that the black sororities and fraternities do not particularly want to lose good members to non-black Greek organizations. What do they have to say about all this – has anyone asked that question?

      • thabe331

        of my three littles, two were black

        • DeLane Califf

          Thank you for your response. I understand that every school is different. As I said, I do not live in Alabama, and race is not an issue in my home. In fact, I am proud to have an “adopted” son who is black, so my children have been raised differently. However, you cannot force people together – it has to be a mutually agreed upon relationship. I continue to ask if the historically black Greek organizations have been included in the conversation, because to not include them would be insulting. I think it will be the women at the University who will drive this conversation, not the men. They need to get on board. While it is a conversation that needs to occur, it will go a lot farther without the interference of people who just want to bash the school and the Greek institutions. I’m not implying that you are, but an awful lot of comments on this board are from outside of the University.

          • thabe331

            I believe I read that there are 16 sororities and 2-3 historically black sororities. It appears as though they are marginalized on campus as I saw that they said any black girl that tried to get in one of the lets call them historically white sororities has basically been black listed from the historically black sororities. It appeared a reactionary measure lashing at the system and I don’t think it’s helpful if that is what is going on. I have looked up some stuff and have found claims in this newsletter that my brothers did not join “The Machine” whatever that is, as they claimed that it went against our creed. I’ve yet to find a picture of them yet. The “Machine” appears from an outsiders view to be not much more than an off the wall conspiracy theory.

  • TeeToeJackson

    The solution here isn’t to force the chapters to integrate. We’ll just have one token at every house. They couldn’t do affirmative action for bidding, so the mandated re-opening is “another chance” to let the chapters have a more diverse pledge class.

    The key here is to let the chapters have a more active role in choosing their pledges instead of alumnae effectively vetoing the chapter’s recruitment choices. The active chapter members clearly saw a lot of potential in the two black rushees at the heart of this.

    PA