Military-Style Women's School Plan Approved

Associated Press

A federal judge has approved a plan that will keep women out of Virginia Military Institute but establish a similar, military-style program for them at the all-female Mary Baldwin College.

U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser ruled late Friday that the proposed Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership must be operational by fall, 1995. Mary Baldwin is a private college in Staunton, Va.

The Justice Department had sued VMI, claiming the exclusion of women at the state-supported school is discriminatory. An appeals court agreed, but gave the state the option of setting up a similar program for women.

Under the plan, the school would not include the 24-hour military atmosphere of VMI, which was established 155 years ago. There would be no Spartan barracks and no boot-camp-like indoctrination, officials said.

But women would be required to wear uniforms and participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

"We are very pleased with the decision," said Lt. Col. Michael Strickler, a spokesman for VMI. "It's a victory for single-sex education--for both all-male and all-female schools."

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