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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Statement of U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance on the University of Alabama's Action Plan to Combat Racial Discrimination In Fraternities And Sororities

BIRMINGHAM – The University of Alabama, which claims the largest fraternity and sorority community in the nation with regard to overall fraternity and sorority membership, today announced the adoption of an action plan to enhance the University’s ability to prevent and respond to racial discrimination, and to increase diversity within the University’s fraternities and sororities. In developing the plan, the University consulted with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  


In Fall 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division contacted the University to inquire about the allegations of race discrimination in the selection process for new members in the University’s traditionally white sororities, and the University’s response.  At that time, the University had undertaken a series of efforts to demonstrate the University’s commitment to a discrimination-free campus environment and to increase diversity in the University’s recognized Greek organizations. Following subsequent discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division, the University developed an action plan to memorialize the University’s efforts and serves as a roadmap for future efforts to remove barriers to the Greek system and improve how the University responds to allegations of discrimination.  Specifically, the plan clarifies expectations for students and student organizations, and establishes clear and consistent procedures for reporting, investigating, and responding to allegations of discriminatory conduct. 


“Greek life is a vital part of the college experience for many students. With today’s action plan, the University of Alabama makes a commitment that this important component of University life, which plays a significant role in the formation of relationships students will carry forward into their adult lives, is not tarnished by racial barriers,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. “We look forward to the University’s prompt and full implementation of the action plan. We appreciate the students who came forward with allegations about discrimination in sorority rush and made this action plan possible. We urge the community to contact our office if they have any concerns about discrimination or other civil-rights violations on any campus.”


            To make complaints about potential civil-rights violations, including complaints about discrimination based on race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status, please call or e-mail the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Intake Specialist at (205)244-2185 or  To file a written complaint, mail the complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama, 1801 Fourth Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203. 

Updated July 6, 2016