There was a considerable national to-do last year regarding the overwhelming whiteness of the University of Alabama’s 16 “Panhellenic” sororities, which until 2013 had admitted a combined total of one (1) black woman, ever, through the rush process. The school’s administration, embarrassed by this fact, has been pushing for increased diversity in the Greek system, an effort that was undermined somewhat this year when a recruitment video made by the Alpha Phi Caucasian sorority* went viral:
As you can see, the video isn’t intentionally insensitive, just kind of tone-deaf in its homogenously white and swimsuit-oriented depiction of feminine life—but it again highlighted the Panhellenic system’s overall lack of non-white representation, and on that front the university noted in an Aug. 15 press release that some progress has in fact been made:
Of the 2,442 young women who registered for Fall 2015 formal recruitment at The University of Alabama, 93 percent (2,261 women) received bids from the 16 Panhellenic sororities on the UA campus … Of the total number of women who accepted bids, 214 were minorities, a number that increased by nearly 13 percent. And, the number of African American students who received bids increased by 19 percent, to 25.
On the one hand, sure, that’s real progress! On the other hand, the 25 black women who received bids comprise 1.1 percent of the number of women who received them overall, and a “19 percent” increase to 25 is, in individual terms, four people.
*”Caucasian” is not really part of the sorority’s actual name.