Black Woman Rejected From Sorority

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A black woman's attempt to join a white sorority at the University of Alabama has been rejected for the second straight year.

Melody Twilley, a 3.87 grade-point-average student who sings first soprano in the campus choir, was notified Sunday that she was not being invited to join any of the 15 all-white sororities.

Twilley also was rejected for membership last fall, when she hoped to become the first black to be accepted into one of the school's 37 white fraternities and sororities. A woman who described herself as being half-black, Christina Houston, said last week that she broke the color barrier at Alabama last year by joining a previously all-white sorority, Gamma Phi Beta.

Twilley, 18, was the only black to seek membership in a white Greek organization this fall. Though she alleged race may have been behind her rejection last year, she told the campus newspaper, The Crimson White, that the Greek system at Alabama is not all bad.

``It's elitist and it's somewhat racist, but I still believe that that racism is more from the women that are not even in the sorority,'' she said. ``I honestly think that most of that close-mindedness comes from alums.''

Twilley attended the prestigious Alabama School for Mathematics and Science. She came to Alabama driving a new sport-utility vehicle that was a gift from her father.

``If someone with the qualities of Melody Twilley can't get into a sorority, we have some substantial problems in our Greek system,'' said Norm Baldwin, president of the Faculty Senate, which has pushed for integration.

``It's a very sad day for the Greek system and the University of Alabama,'' Baldwin said Monday. ``It reinforces a lot of negative stereotypes that people would like to go away.''

Of 731 women who participated in sorority ``rush,'' about 625 received membership invitations.
Administrators and faculty leaders have pushed for integration of the school's Greek system, which for decades has been a seedbed for state leaders, including the current governor, Don Siegelman.

School officials have kept close watch on the issue since then-Gov. George C. Wallace made a celebrated ``stand in the schoolhouse door'' in 1963 in an attempt to keep two blacks from enrolling in the all-white university.

President Andrew Sorensen has said he would not mandate integration or institute a quota system, but another administrator said officials would continue working on an end to segregation.
``Change is maybe the hardest thing people do. I can't say we do it with any less difficulty in Alabama,'' said Sybil Todd, vice president of student affairs.

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