The University of Alabama's segregated sorority system
will become a thing of the past, according to school officials.
On Tuesday, University President Judy Bonner acknowledged that the on-campus organizations are segregated by race and that she would be implementing measures to increase diversity among the traditionally all-white student groups.
"Our Greek system remains segregated and chapter members admit that during the recruitment process that ended a few weeks ago decisions were made based on race," Bonner said in a video statement released by the university.
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"While we will not tell any group who they must pledge, the University of Alabama will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," added Bonner, who became the university's first female president less than a year ago, the Associated Press noted
The proclamation by Bonner came after reports by the school's newspaper, The Crimson White, that in August two black students had been prevented from entering chapters within the traditionally all-white sororities by school alumnae.
The article reportedly prompted students to gather outside the university's Rose Administration Building in protest of the segregated sorority system.
Among the changes being instituted with the aim of increasing diversity in the traditionally all-white sororities is to begin a recruitment process in which new members can be added at any time. Additionally, the maximum size of the groups would be expanded to 360 people, thereby increasing the chances of prospective members, the AP reported.
Presently there are 18 white sororities and 27 historically white fraternities in the Alabama Panhellenic Association, compared with just eight black sororities and fraternities at the university, which are affiliated with the National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc.
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It was not reported whether or not the new measures would also be applied to the school's traditionally all-black sororities, or the school's fraternities that also appear to be segregated by race.
Founded in 1831, the University of Alabama enrolled a record number of 34,852 students in the fall 2013 semester, of which approximately 13 percent were black.
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