UA Students feel march is key ending discrimination - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

UA Students feel march is key ending discrimination

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A University of Alabama students speaks to anti-discrimination protesters on campus, Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (abc3340.com) A University of Alabama students speaks to anti-discrimination protesters on campus, Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (abc3340.com)
TUSCALOOSA - AL -

   At 7:15 am Wednesday morning, the University of Alabama campus looked as if it had taken  step back in time.  It was the moment some students and faculty had waited for to vent their frustration about racial segregation on campus. "There's a lot of energy behind this movement and we want to be with them saying we stand with them," said Caroline Boxmeyer who works in the College of Medicine.

   A crowd of about five hundred combined students and members of the faculty gathered on the steps of the Gorgas Library.   Most praised the sorority member who revealed two blacks were banned because of their color. "The brave sorority members who are standing with us today, showed us on campus how to open our hand that few students can enact change."

   The demand appears to be serious.  The diverse group of students marched across campus to the Rose Administration Building with a banner reading 'The Final Stand in the Schoolhouse Door' in remembrance of the first stand against de-segregation 50-years ago. "We're taking a stand against this and I believe collaboration between all these groups on campus is the key," said another student.

   The demonstration grabbed University President, Dr. Judy Bonner's attention.  She greeted students as they marched across campus. "To help lift the racial barriers we are here to discuss. Because of the brave African American women who have participated in recruitment, we have started to create an environment where we can support each other," said Khortlan Patterson as read from her ipad while standing next to Bonner.

    Meanwhile, members of the faculty are demanding long-term goals to end racial barriers.  Some of the initiatives include a tougher student code of conduct to help prevent the greek discrimination issue from resurfacing.  Some faculty members also want the school to hire a chief diversity officer to help end racially imbedded discrimination.  "We're adding teeth to our document...in forms of deadlines for when we're working with the administration for real things to happen," said Steve Miller who is president of the faculty senate.

    AT-least one greek student told ABC 33/40 she has seen some resistance. "I've gotten a little bit of flack from my sorority. That's to be expected though. A lot of people are really worried about change."

    But, the large crowd says it will not back down.  "Its really created a place where people of all backgrounds, African Americans, white students, greeks, non-greeks are able to come together."

    In an unprecedented move, the faculty senate which met Tuesday evening says it will meet again in one week to finalize its demands on the University administration.

   Meanwhile, the continuous bidding process which Dr. Bonner ordered the sororities to do is still underway, perhaps through the weekend.  However, its unclear whether bids have yet been extended to any African American female students which is now being encourage among the traditionally all white sororities and vice versa.

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