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Students to hold "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" protest against racism on campus

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George C. Wallace, as Alabama Governor, blocks the entrance at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. (AP Photo) George C. Wallace, as Alabama Governor, blocks the entrance at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. (AP Photo)

On the same day school president Dr. Judy Bonner released a video statement acknowledging segregation in the greek system, students at the University of Alabama announced plans for a protest against on-campus racism.

The events is being called "Stand in the Doorhouse 2013," a play off of the 1963 protest involving then-governor George Wallace, who stood at the entrance to Foster Auditorium in an attempt to block two black students -- Vivian Malone and James Hood -- from the classroom, keeping his promise of segregation in Alabama.

"When our tuition money subsidizes repeated acts of racism, we are allowing George Wallace's dream of segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever to live on. This is unacceptable," organizers stated in a news release.

Along with recognizing the issues plaguing the greek system, Bonner ordered immediate changes.

"While we will not tell any group who they must pledge, the University of Alabama will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Bonner said.

Below is the open letter published in a "Letter to the Editor" by The Crimson White:

Inspired by the bravery of the Greek women who decided that our status quo is no longer acceptable, we, the concerned students and faculty of UA, demand immediate, sustained and transparent support from our leadership, the administration, including the president, to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

By appealing to conscience and standing on the moral nature of human existence, we see the following steps not as requests but as moral imperatives that our administration, led by President Judy Bonner, must immediately undertake:

1. Publicly, transparently, and directly acknowledge that our greek institutions are largely segregated and that this segregation is, by its very nature, racist;

2. Publicly demonstrate that this racism will not be tolerated through the following actions:

A. Immediately adjust current Greek Affairs regulations so the women of the greek system who are ready and willing to welcome sisters of diverse races and backgrounds into their homes may do so;

B. Actively implement protection for these women who have been bullied, intimidated or otherwise coerced by alumni members into believing that it is unacceptable to welcome women of color into their sisterhood;

C. Transparently demonstrate that this intimidation is unacceptable by severing all ties with greek alumni members who perpetuate this continuing segregation, including the dismissal of the director of president's and chancellor's events, Emily Jamison, who serves as the Chi Omega recruitment advisor;

D. Actively teach students the importance of the commitment to diversity through investing in required diversity education, developed through continued discussion with the students who already have demonstrated their commitment to this cause;

E. Rigorously implement regulations through the Office of Greek Affairs, which will work to create a more inclusive and diverse experience for our students, including, but not limited to, a formalized recruitment process for both sororities and fraternities, which is delayed and limited to the spring semester, thus offering students the opportunity to become involved with activities across campus;

F. Require that all greek organizations adopt and implement transparent, non-discriminatory practices in their recruitment processes, otherwise revoke the leases of greek housing, which are held by the University, thus publicly held by the people of the state of Alabama.

We expect that from these immediate actions, a long-term, continued commitment to improving the state of racial justice on campus will develop. We believe the student body is eager to learn about, work toward and directly confront the current racial politics of our campus. We are eager to turn our campus into a shining example for not only our state or the South, but the entire nation.

You have recruited the best and brightest. Walk with us as we march together holding a torch of equity and justice as a beacon of light for which we can all be proud.

With hopes of immediate action, respectfully signed,

Concerned Students and Faculty

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