Racial integration of Alabama fraternities and sororities fails to pass student Senate

By Travis Gettys
Friday, March 21, 2014 15:41 EDT
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The University of Alabama’s student government failed to pass a resolution Thursday night supporting the full integration of its fraternities and sororities.

The measure was instead sent to committee, reported The Birmingham News, where it will die with the end of this year’s Student Government Association Senate session.

The bill’s co-authors believe the measure was intentionally killed through procedural “manipulation” to keep it from a vote.

“My fellow senators chose rather to send it to committee, so that they would not have to be listed as having voted against the legislation,” said Chisolm Allenlundy, an SGA senator and bill co-author.

But Speaker of the Senate Cole Adams disputed the allegations, saying senators did not want to rush the bill through to a vote because they had too many unspecified “technical questions.”

“Clearly something as important as this resolution should be given due consideration and thought,” Adams said.

But co-author Katie Smith said other senators laughed at her as she introduced the bill on the senate floor.

“We have all had ample time to consider this issue since it went national in the fall of 2013,” Smith said. “Voting against this resolution was very clearly voting against the very idea of integrating Greek organizations.”

Adams said opponents were concerned about the “verbiage and intent” of the measure and said Smith was unable support her claims.

“Many senators felt the resolution was not ready to be debated in its current form and were loathe to suspend the rules on a resolution that seemed to be thrown together at the last minute without thought to the implications of its language or without gathering evidence to support said language,” Adams said.

But Smith said she wrote the bill last fall and removed it after being told the SGA didn’t want to “take a stand” on the issue, and she said it had been reviewed by many professors and students before she introduced it.

In addition to Smith and Allenlundy, the bill was co-authored by senators Anthony James and Justin Thompson.

Their bill makes note of unfavorable national media attention the university and its Greek system received after discriminatory recruitment practices were revealed in August.

Allenlundy said he understands that some senators felt that the bill was meant to rebuke the Greek system, but he said that was not the co-authors’ intent.

“It would have demonstrated that the SGA does in fact take a stand on this issue, because up until now very few statements have been made regarding racial integration by the SGA,” Allenlundy said. “In addition, if my fellow senators did not agree with this particular resolution, perhaps they should have themselves produced a resolution espousing their views on the matter.”

The University of Alabama was desegregated by federal court order in 1963 over the objections of then-Gov. George Wallace, who famously stood in a doorway to block two black students’ entrance.

Wallace eventually gave up his protest when National Guard troops arrived.

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