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University of Alabama sororities accused of blocking blacks

A judge who sits on the board at the University of Alabama has recommended the school investigate charges made by a student-run publication that sororities have intentionally blocked black women from pledging.

The Crimson White said that sororities at the Tuscaloosa, Ala., school intentionally avoided asking two black women to pledge. The newspaper also said that alumni outright barred the sororities from accepting black pledges in other instances. The two women at issue seemed to meet all the standards for acceptance into a campus sorority, but none of the 16 organizations at the campus extended an offer to pledge, the paper said.

A judge who also serves on the board for the university agreed the situation seemed odd and said school heads should investigate.

One of the women has as 4.3 grade point average and was salutatorian in her high school graduation class, USA Today reported.

At least one of the sororities has agreed to investigate — and vows any uncovered discrimination will not go unpunished.

"Pi Beta Phi leadership has begun investigation [into] the allegations in The Crimson White article," said the group's grand president, Paula Shepherd, in an email reported by USA Today. "If any of those allegations are found to be true, those members, alumna or collegiate, will be held accountable for their actions."

The dean of students, Tim Hebson, also weighed in with an email to The Crimson White: "Every UA organization should be committed to making sure that [its] policies are held to the highest ideals and that its actions and decisions help make sure this campus is inclusive and welcoming."

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