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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE ACLU Asks The Court to Rule Quickly in Citadel Case; Seeks to End College's Sex Discrimination Without Costly Trial FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 19, 1993 CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In light of a recent victory in a related case, the American Civil Liberties Union today asked a judge to issue a summary judgment in its sex discrimination case against The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. The ACLU's Women's Rights Project, in cooperation with the ACLU of South Carolina and the New York-based law firm of Shearman & Sterling, today filed a motion for summary judgment to prevent what would likely be a protracted and expensive trial. "Ultimately," said Isabelle Katz Pinzler, director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, "South Carolina taxpayers would have to foot the bill for the school's stubborn resistance to the requirements of the Constitution." In a closely related case, a federal appeals court recently ruled that The Virginia Military Institute discriminated against qualified female students in its admission policies and ordered the school to conform with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court rejected arguments that the exclusionary policy was justified under a government objective of educational diversity. That decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that publicly supported single-sex education cannot exist to the detriment of women. It is therefore directly related to the situation in South Carolina, where female civilians who want to attend The Citadel must juggle their schedules to attend evening or summer classes that in addition offer far fewer fields of study, Pinzler said. The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Charleston Division, on June 11, 1992 on behalf of three U.S. Navy veterans who were barred from entering The Citadel's Veteran Day Program solely because of their sex. The school responded by suspending the program for the spring semester of 1993 -- disrupting the lives of 78 enrolled students. "The sooner the Court directs The Citadel to stop its unconstitutional segregation, the sooner students can get back to the business of learning," said Steve Bates, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina. The ACLU said that if the South Carolina judge orders a trial, it is prepared to present current research that directly contradicts The Citadel's arguments that the male-only status provides any important benefits. Alexander W. Astin, a Professor of Higher Education at the University of California in Los Angeles, is a leading expert in higher education research. Attorneys for The Citadel and VMI have cited his 1977 book, Four Critical Years, in which he discusses the value of single-sex education. Astin examined the effects of allowing women to attend the same 19 universities that were part of his original research and have since become co-educational. In his newly published, What Matters in College? Four Critical Years Revisited, (Jossey-Bass, 1993), he wrote that new data led him to reevaluate his original conclusions. In court papers, Astin said, "the admission of women by colleges that formerly admitted only men has not substantially altered their unique effects on student development as reported..." Students had nearly identical levels of intellectual self-esteem and spent almost the same amount of time studying, doing homework, exercising and participating in sports, Astin found. Their grade point averages and satisfaction with faculty relations and instruction quality similarly remained positive regardless of whether women were present in the classroom, he wrote. "Denying women veterans the educational opportunities offered a state's male citizens is unconstitutional," said Henry Weisburg of Shearman & Sterling. "The Citadel has done everything possible to make sure women feel like second-class citizens who are responsible for depriving male veterans of their education," Pinzler said. "That myth undoubtedly will be put to rest if we go to trial in March or if the Court, follows the VMI decision and grants our motion." --end-- ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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