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Trustees try to block admission of women

May 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

BIG PINE, Calif., May 10 (UPI) -- Two trustees of an all-male college in California are trying to block the school's decision to admit women in the fall of 2013, court papers show.

The two trustees of Deep Springs College, a small school and ranch north of Death Valley, filed paperwork in Inyo County Superior Court Wednesday seeking to block the admission of women to the school, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The two trustees claim admitting women would violate the school's 95-year-old mission of educating "promising young men" in a setting that combines liberal arts with physical work.

In September, Deep Springs' trustees voted 10-2 to admit women for the first time as a way to keep up with current ways of training future leaders, the Times said. In February, the school asked the court's permission to re-interpret or change its founding documents, arguing the word "men" at the time the college was founded was meant "to describe mankind as a general reference to the species."

Kinch Hoekstra and Edward Keonjian, the two dissenting trustees, said the school is thriving without female students and there is no reason to admit them.

"If the trustees wish to have a coeducational college similar to Deep Springs, they are free to donate or raise the funds to create one according to their own vision," their court filings said.

Deep Springs was founded in 1917 by banker and electric power pioneer Lucien Lucius Nunn as a place for young men to study away from the distractions of women and alcohol. It is a two year college from which many graduates transfer to Ivy League universities.

President David Neidorf, who supports admitting women, said Wednesday he had not yet read the trustees' legal filing, but the school plans on recruiting women this year for the following school year.

Whether that happens, he said, "depends on the speed with which this is decided in the courts."

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