Devastated, torn and overwhelmed with hurt Kimbrely Dandridge’s only comfort zone in the summer of 2010 was her room in building ‘I’ at Ole Miss apartment complex, Campus Walk.
At Campus Walk, journalism major ‘Kim’, 20, spent hours gazing the empty parking lots trying to erase the memory of the past year’s heartache. She had been rejected from what she calls a ‘black sorority’, due to an error in notary.
“I was really upset,” – she said. “I just felt so unfairly treated. I had a really good resume to back up my application and then they chose to discard me due to one stupid mistake!” Kim, now a member of ‘Phi-Mu’, recalled.
“I practically spent the entire summer weighing up my next move,” she said, little knowing the distress would increase before it would cease.
Unlike many other African-American female students at Ole Miss, Kim decided to rush in the fall of 2010 as a result of a long summer’s consideration. She said she decided to defy family and racial traditions because “God intended it to be that way.”
The stress related with this decision was “immense”, she said. In fact, on a few occasions the pressure from family, acquaintances and other students became so vast that ‘Kim’ broke into tears.
“One time after I decided to rush, a friend of mine came to me and said she was so disappointed in me and that I had betrayed my people and that I should support ‘their’ cause.” She said.
“Being a member of a black sorority or fraternity is a pride thing. It means a lot to our community and people look at you differently if you aren’t a member. But I remember coming to the conclusion that I did apply, and they rejected me for a silly reason. So I moved on.”
After rushing, Kim was called back to three different houses, two of which she didn’t want to mention and the other being Phi-Mu. “I was super excited, because this practically meant I could choose which one I wanted.” She said.
However, things developed differently than what Kim expected and on the subsequent nights she was cut from two of the three houses.
“I received a phone call late at night from some of the girls from the two houses and they informed me that their alumni had told them to cut me as they weren’t ready for a black girl yet.” She said and continued: “Needless to say, I was in shock”.
She accepted Phi-Mu’s bid, hoping the commotion surrounding her would finally calm. It did not.
A week after she was accepted by Phi-Mu a BlogSpot was posted to discussion site http://www.collegeacb.com under the headline “Ole Miss Phi-Mu takes black girl = laughing stock of Ole Miss.”
The post received more than fifty replies, many of them condemning Kimbrely and it was hereafter blocked by the university network, but not removed from the site.
“That was the low point. It really hurt that people were so strongly upset with my situation. As if I didn’t go through enough with the black community.” She said.
Kim has since received much appreciation and support from sisters in the Phi-Mu sisterhood. A journalism major and member of Phi-Mu, Marie-Anna Breland, 20, says Kim was an obvious choice.
“We like anyone who is involved in the university and Kim definitely was. She is really making a difference out of the goodness in her heart and has very high moral standards,” Marie-Anna said.
She continued: “She also had very good grades and was a very kind person so we decided to give her a bid and luckily for us she accepted.”
Since Phi-Mu accepted Kim they have been on the receiving end of some positive press, but Marie-Anna criticizes that and says they should not be receiving special praise for something that should not even be mentioned.
“All the girls in our house are equal, regardless of race or religion. We don’t wish extra pressure upon anyone.” she finished.
Another member of Phi-Mu, Samra Ward, 19, says she aspires to do what Kim does for the community: “It seems like she’s involved in everything! And she does it because she wants to help, not because of anything else and you can only admire that.” She said.
Kim summons the past years escapades up as a long and hard-fought personal victory for herself: “It has been very tough, but in the end I prevailed. God has his own plans for everyone and I am more than happy with what I’ve gotten so far,” she said.
“Recently, the girl who condemned me for betraying my people came up to me and told me how proud she was of me. She said sorry and actually thought I was helping to improve the racial barriers. That made me smile.” Kim finished.