Main building at Deep Springs College.

From a small, exclusive college for the very bright in a remote area east of Big Pine, a gender issue has gone to Inyo County Court. Deep Springs College, long an all-male school, was poised to go co-ed by a vote of the Board of Trustees when two members raised legal opposition.

Last September, the Deep Springs Trustees voted to admit women in 2013, after a transition period.  In February, Dave Hitz, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said that most board members believe that “effective training must include women and men working together.”  Hitz said Deep Springs founder, L.L. Nunn, wanted students who would train to become leaders in society. In 1917, women could rarely play that role.  Now, they do.

Sometime in May two trustees filed suit to stop the majority of the Board of Trustees from altering the Deep Springs College Trust when it comes to the gender of students.  One of their briefs says, “The purpose of the Trust is limited to the education of ‘promising young men.'”  They allege that the Trustees have no legal basis to alter L.L. Nunn’s Trust establishing Deep Springs.

Board members who do support coeducation also quote Nunn’s trust which says that they do have the authority to make changes if they would “better carry out the purpose of the trust.”  The Trustees have said they believe Mr. Nunn’s expectations were that the Deep Springs education work would “develop”, evolve and change over time.

A status conference in this case was scheduled for Inyo Superior Court in Independence at 9am, Friday.

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