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Va. court upholds women's college move to coed

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2008/06/06 18:14

A former all-women's college did not break a contract with female students when it decided to enroll men, a divided Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday.

In a 5-2 decision, the court rejected a claim by nine female students at Randolph College — formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College — that promotional materials and other publications promised them four years at an all-female institution.

Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. wrote in the majority opinion that the court could find nothing in marketing materials promising the school would stay single-sex.

The decision affirmed Lynchburg Circuit Judge J. Leyburn Mosby Jr.'s dismissal of the lawsuit. The dissenting justices said dismissal was premature, and the students were entitled to a trial.

"We're all very relieved," Randolph College President John Klein said. "This seemingly endless litigation is now over." Klein said a student and some staff members rang the college bell to celebrate.

"We hope now we can focus on the students who are here and who want to come here," he said. The board voted in September 2006 to begin admitting men to the school, beginning last fall.


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