University Rescinds Mass Suspension of Black Greek Organizations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) rescinded a mass suspension of all its Black Greek-letter organizations, last month, after some students questioned why White groups were not treated the same way. A school official wrote six Black groups saying they were being suspended from campus activities, citing member apathy and lack of participation in a campus governing board. The official, Charles Judkins, said apathy also was a problem among White groups. But the vice president of student life, Andy Marsch, lifted the suspension in a letter stating the groups were still encouraged to become more involved in the governing body, called the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). “UAB deeply values the involvement of the entire Greek system, and NPHC and its chapters are no exception,” he wrote. The suspension originally “was to encourage involvement in the NPHC as the governing body of your chapters,” Judkins, coordinator of student leadership and Greek affairs at UAB, had imposed the suspension. He was out of town and unavailable for comment, said UAB spokeswoman Dale Turnbough. Arthur Harris, undergraduate president of the Student Government Association and a member of a Black fraternity, says it appeared the university was singling out Black organizations. “Student apathy is all over campus. There’s not one well-functioning organization,” Harris says. “Why are they targeting ours and not the others?” Marsch says there was no racial motive behind the suspension and that student apathy is rampant on all college campuses. Judkins, the author of the suspension letter, is himself Black. “This may seem like a racial issue, but it’s not only being done to Black Greeks. Something, though not this drastic, was done to White Greeks as well,” to boost participation, Judkins said earlier. The 17 fraternities and sororities active on the UAB campus have 457 members total. The half-dozen Black organizations have a total of 68 members.
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