Vice recently ventured down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to film a short documentary on UA's segregated Greek system, which made national news last month after the Crimson published an expose into a qualified candidate who was barred from pledging because she was black. That girl was the granddaughter of University trustee John England, Jr., and he makes an appearance in the documentary. He also happens to have its smartest take. "She had a 4.3 grade point average and had a chance to look at Alabama up close," he says, after laying out his family's impressive credentials. "How she feels about it now, I don't know."
It's, of course, a supremely fucked-up reality that many of the taxpayer-supported houses on Old Row don't generally accept African-Americans. It's wrong, and the university, hopefully, is taking steps in the right direction to fix the problem.
There's a nagging feeling, though, that the focus of this film—John England aside—isn't really on the right people. According to Alpha Gamma Delta whistleblower Melanie Gotz, the vast majority of sorority members wanted to take England's granddaughter. They were stopped by an alumni system that will not allow black people in their beloved sororities, and a secretive organization called the Machine that pulls the strings in Alabama's student government. The documentary focuses on things like a... beginning-of-the-semester pool party, and not, you know, the real, systemic reasons why segregation still exists.
I hope enough people of the year 2013 will fix this issue. They just need to beat back their shitty alum system first.