University of Alabama President Judy Bonner issued a video statement on Friday about the recent progress made by Panhellenic sororities to integrate.
After The Crimson White’s article “The Final Barrier,” which detailed alumnae interference in Panhellenic sororities’ attempts to integrate, UA administration established a continuous open bidding process in which all 16 Panhellenic sororities were allowed to extend bids to increase their size to 360 members.
Bonner said, as of Friday afternoon, 72 bids have been issued by Panhellenic sororities, 11 of which were extended to black students. Four black women have accepted bids so far, and Bonner expects more to do so in the near future.
“The process of open continuous bidding will continue,” Bonner said. “And we will see these numbers increase over the next few weeks.”
Bonner said that these bids are only the first in a series of steps needed to be taken to ensure integration on campus.
“We have taken the first steps toward removing barriers and ensuring access and opportunity throughout our Greek community,” Bonner said. “I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a Greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities.
“As your president, it makes me proud to know that the UA family has embraced and is working together to achieve this goal,” Bonner said. “We have reached this point because of the efforts of so many of our administrators, students, faculty, staff and alumni who have and continue to work diligently to uphold our values and our expectations of access and opportunity.”
In an interview with AL.com, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley commended the University’s efforts.
“I had the utmost confidence in the leadership at the University to make sure this issue was addressed,” Bentley said Friday. “Today’s news is a positive first step.”