The University of Alabama chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, which is historically all White, has been exposed for ostracizing one of its black recruits who is in the running to become this year's homecoming queen.
Halle Lindsay is one of four black sisters in Alpha Gamma Delta. She accepted a bid into the organization in 2013 during an open bidding process amid the university's decision to formally integrate its sororities.
Lindsay's nomination in the homecoming elections makes her the first African American candidate for queen who is a member of a PanHellenic sorority.
Lindsay’s campaign has gained a lot of support on campus and beyond; however, GroupMe screenshots were allegedly leaked earlier this week indicating that her own sorority sisters aren’t backing her campaign because they are concerned they will lose their rank in the Greek social hierarchy, according to an op-ed in the university’s newspaper, The Crimson White.
“There will be so many consequences and they don’t tell you that until after you vote because everyone’s supposed to have a ‘choice,’” one of the messages read…“If we keep going against the Machine we…will not have as many opportunities to be involved on campus,” the last message ended.
The “Machine,” as referenced in the messages, is like a “secret society” on UA's campus comprised of members of the most prestigious greek orgs who push their favored candidates into power positions in student government and other influential seats.
Other students have gone against the machine before and exposed their practices, including Elliott Spillers who was the first black candidate to be elected president of the student body in several decades, beating out the machine's candidate and causing quite a stir in the process.
Who knew that in 2015 organizations would go through such lengths to suppress diversity?
We could say the issue has nothing to do with race and it's all about popularity, except...the machine's chosen candidate is a White, blonde-bombshell named Kate Katsafanas. (Coincidental? Probably not...)
If the machine was concerned about making a difference on campus — which is what homecoming queens and kings are supposed to be all about — why not support Lindsay who would literally be making history if she won? (or Spillers for that matter during the student government elections).
Lindsay’s own sorority didn’t even nominate her for queen in the first place, a campus group called “Blend,” a student run organization that aims to promote diversity on campus which Lindsay used to chair.
Some of the older sisters and alums from Alpha Gamma Delta suggested that while each sister should vote for whomever they want, they should publicly support the candidate that the machine is backing, particularly on social media.
"While it is okay to support her and vote for her if you REALLLLLLY feel called to do so, posting your support on social media is not fair to the rest of the house or future members of Alpha Gam," a member allegedly wrote in the leaked messages.
Not all of Lindsay's sisters are in agreement about how to cast their votes. One of her sisters, Xan Nicola, dedicated a lengthy blog post to Lindsay's run for Homecoming queen explaining why she supports her as well as why others should follow suit.
"Even if Halle weren’t my sister, she’d have my full support in this election. But the fact that she is completely finalizes my decision. What is a sorority sister if it’s not someone you can count on for support? Sisterhood is where support begins," Nicola wrote.
The University of Alabama has made headlines many times for their lack of efforts to support diversity and their traditionally segregated Greek organizations. Just a few months ago, at the start of this school year, another University of Alabama sorority, Alpha Phi, received harsh criticisms for their degrading, whitewashed recruitment video.
Students like Lindsay and Spillers along with the members of Blend are working toward changing the campus dynamics, but their progress is being stifled by this “secret society” that uses social status and intimidation to discourage their peers from stepping out of the Jim Crow days.
“It is completely unacceptable for any organization to engage in intimidation and coercion in any fashion. We have worked hard to help ensure the integrity of elections held on our campus and will continue to take allegations of improper activities seriously,” a representative of the University reportedly told Fusion.
Lindsay finds out this Friday if she was voted queen, but regardless, she has achieved a great milestone by making it to the official top five in the homecoming court.
We're proud to announce that Halle will serve as a member of the 2015 Homecoming Court as she placed in the Top 5! Final results on Friday!— Halle Lindsay (@halle4queen) October 7, 2015