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The Crimson White Wins College Press Freedom Award

The Crimson White’s editor-in-chief and two reporters have won the national 2013 College Press Freedom Award for their coverage of racial discrimination allegations in The University of Alabama’s sorority recruitment process.

The award, given jointly by the Student Press Law Center and the Associated Collegiate Press, was presented to The Crimson White Editor-in-Chief Mazie Bryant, and writers Abbey Crain and Matt Ford at the National College Media Convention in New Orleans last Saturday. The three will share a $1,500 cash prize that comes with the honor.

The Crimson White’s Sept. 11 article, entitled “The Final Barrier,” detailed allegations that at least two black students who met all the requirements for admission to sororities were denied membership because of their race. The article quoted sorority members who accused alumnae and advisors of making the decision to reject the black students.

The paper reported that it could find just one black student who had been accepted into the 16 Panhellenic sorority chapters in the University’s history.

The article led to the reopening of the sorority bidding process at the University, and ultimately at least 23 minority students, including 14 black women, have now accepted bids into the system.

“Confronting and calling out the greek system at The University of Alabama on society’s most sensitive social issue —race — required exceptional journalistic courage, especially since these students are themselves a part of the greek system,” SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said. “Their reporting continues to reverberate and cause positive change throughout the country. Campuses everywhere are being forced to reexamine whether their fraternities and sororities perpetuate social segregation, holding back the advancement of young African-Americans to further their careers.”