Court Blocks Coeducation Plans of Deep Springs College

DSCF2232-2Deep Springs College, in a secluded valley in the eastern California desert, is a highly selective educational institution which has a very small student body. The nearest town is 40 miles from campus. Students agree to stay on campus during the full academic term. Drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited.

The college does not grant bachelor’s degrees but after two years at Deep Springs, a large percentage of the student body transfers to highly selective undergraduate institutions. Tuition at the two-year school is free. But all students are required to work 20 hours a week at the college’s cattle ranch and alfalfa farm.

The founder of the college, Lucien L. Nunn made a fortune providing electricity to miners throughout the West. He envisioned a college where young men could learn and govern themselves without the distractions of modern society. Throughout Deep Springs College’s 96-year existence, only men have been admitted. However, in 2011 the trustees of the school voted to admit women.

Two trustees who are alumni of Deep Spring College initiated litigation to stop the move toward coeducation and earlier this month a judge of Inyo Superior Court issued a preliminary ruling. The judge ruled that the founding documents of the college, which state that education should be for “promising young men,” must be honored.

A statement released by the college read, “Deep Springs and its Trustees remain committed to a coeducational future for the college. But the ruling prevents Deep Springs from admitting women to the college in 2013. We are disappointed that we cannot move ahead with coeducation this year, but remain confident about the final outcome of the ongoing litigation.”

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