Only a single black woman, Carla Ferguson in 2003, had ever been given a bid from a Panhellenic sorority during formal recruitment before today. But this year 21 black women and 169 women who identified as members of other racial minorities ran alongside their new sisters on Bid Day, each clutching an invitation to join a Panhellenic sorority at The University of Alabama.
According to a statement from Deborah Lane, associate vice president for university relations, all 16 Panhellenic sororities participating in formal recruitment extended bids to black women. Through mutual selection, black women accepted bids from 10 different Panhellenic sororities.
“Every young women identifying herself as African American received a bid,” Lane said. “None withdrew from recruitment or were released.”
Last fall, The Crimson White reported that black women going through formal recruitment had been dropped one-by-one during rush because of alumnae interference. In response, the University instituted a continuous open bidding (COB) process, whereby Panhellenic sororities could extend bids throughout the year to qualified women of their choosing. In an update on Greek integration earlier this year, UA President Judy Bonner said 21 black women had accepted bids to Panhellenic sororities through continuous open bidding.
This year’s Fall 2014 formal recruitment was the biggest thus far, with 2,276 women participating in the process, 195 more than last year’s 2,081. A total of 2,054 women received bids this year, 159 more than the 1,895 who received a bid last year.
Rachel Stannell, an incoming freshman and a new member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, said she enjoyed going through the recruitment process over the past week.
“Everyone’s just been friendly and kind, it’s just been awesome,” Stannell said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was just awesome.”
This year a new online voting process was used during formal recruitment to keep track of mutual selections. Stannell said she had to log in through her Panhellenic account in order to vote each day.
“It was very simple,” Stannell said.
Lane said that while the University may not be where it needs to be, it is on its way.
“We have not reached our destination, but we will continue to move forward with resolve, energy and enthusiasm,” Lane said. “And, while numbers are not the only measure of success, they do indicate that we are making progress. The University of Alabama will continue to focus on creating and sustaining a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students.”