Virginia justices reject lawsuit against Randolph College admitting men

By Chris Rizo | Jun 8, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline)-The Virginia state Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Randolph College's decision to admit men.

In a 5-2 decision, the high court rejected a lawsuit brought forth by students, alumnae and benefactors who said they decided to affiliate with the Lynchburg, Va., college because it was not co-ed.

The nine plaintiffs argued that they chose to attend the college "specifically in order to obtain a four-year liberal arts college degree . . . in a single-sex environment."

The justices said Friday that the school, founded in 1891, had no contract guaranteeing students it would remain an all-female institution.

In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, the court said the plaintiffs "failed to plead facts" that would show that required the college "to operate an academic institution predominantly for women during the four years that the plaintiffs expected to attend the college."

He added, "Even though the plaintiffs referenced numerous documents, this Court, just as the circuit court, has reviewed the documents and can find no such promise."

Dissenting were Justices Donald Lemons and Charles Russell.

Additionally, the court dismissed a related lawsuit that sought to bar the liberal arts college from using its assets for co-ed purposes.

After voting in 2006 as part of a strategic plan to turn Randolph-Macon Woman's College co-educational, Randolph College began admitting men last year, hoping to boost enrollment numbers.

"This is an historic day for Randolph College," college President John Klein said in a statement Friday. "With the litigation resolved, we can now center all of our energy, time and resources on continuing to move this college forward."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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