Nearly a week after the University of Alabama came under fire for persistent segregation in its sorority system, school officials are set to announce a deal that would clear the way for black women to be admitted to the school’s prestigious and historically white Greek organizations.
The deal, which a university spokesperson confirmed to TIME, is the first step toward ending more than a century of systematic segregation in the school’s sorority system.
The move comes after a story last week in the school’s student newspaper, the Crimson White, about a highly qualified black student being denied a bid to join any of the school’s prestigious, historically white sororities. Despite receiving excellent scores during the recruitment process from current sorority members, the young woman — who requested that her name not appear in the paper’s story — was reportedly blocked by alumnae. The sole reason, according to current sorority members: she was black. Another black woman was also denied a bid. Some alumnae even threatened to pull financial support from their sororities if they accepted black members.