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Wow!

WOW! That’s about all I can say at the moment about the past few days on campus. It has been an unbelievable, overwhelming time.

Our students have done an amazing job. That should be obvious from all of the attention this issue and their reporting have received. The story that ran last Wednesday in The Crimson White (http://bit.ly/17ZKynR) was one of the best examples of responsible journalism that I’ve seen in 36 years of work in the media.

Many comments have noted that it is Pulitzer Prize quality reporting. I concur and the prize committee will be receiving it.

But it’s not just the reporting that makes me proud. It is the way they have handled themselves. These students are members of the same Greek system that they are criticizing. They have endured disapproval, condemnation and censure from the people with whom they live, study and party.

And, once the story ran, the local, state and national media descended to interview them live, on tape or by email. And they came through all of that like pros. They were composed, well-spoken and great representatives of the university and student media.

I could not be any more proud of our students!

I must say thank you to the dozens of alumni who have taken the time to remark about the coverage and praise them for doing it. Your comments and compliments have been invaluable encouragement to the staff.

A special thanks to our alumni at The Birmingham News and al.com, led by John Archibald, who sent pizzas to the newsroom during production to express pride in their work. And to the 17 alumni, including former editors Rebel Steiner and Sherrel Wheeler Stewart, who purchased a half-page ad to show their support of diversity on campus.

Also, thanks to the Reverend Jessie Jackson who took time out of a visit to Birmingham to travel to our newsroom and spend more than an hour with the students, commending them on their courage and reporting.

I would be remiss if I don’t express my admiration for the students who spoke out against the continued recruitment practices in sororities, the students who have raised their voices loudly since our first story ran and the students who organized and participated in discussions and rallies on campus to express their beliefs.

As I’ve told the students, we publish a newspaper. We don’t make change. But the students, faculty and staff of this institution can produce change. And they have.

Four black women have accepted bids to traditionally white sororities as of Friday (9/20). So now, when asked how long it takes to change the world, we can answer NINE days.

It’s why many of us got into this profession.