Judge Stout rules that Deep Springs Trust does not allow co-eds

Inyo Superior Court Judge Dean Stout

Inyo Superior Court Judge Dean Stout

The majority of College Trustees have pushed for the admission of women at the long-time, all-male Deep Springs College east of Big Pine, but two trustees have legally disagreed. They have now won a significant first round, but the legal dispute is not over.

In a 25-page decision, Judge Dean Stout ruled, “The Trust can not be construed as giving the Trustees discretion to admit female students.” Judge Stout’s decision says, “What is best for the future of the school is not the question before this court.” Judge Stout said the Court is limited to determining what Trustor L.L. Nunn intended. Nunn’s trust was executed in 1923.

Judge Stout said the question before him was whether the language of the Trust can be interpreted as giving the Trustees the discretion to institute

deepsprings

Main building at Deep Springs College.

coeducation at Deep Springs College. He ruled it does not.

The majority of Trustees argued that the Trust language gives them broad discretion regarding the gender of the students. The Trust does specifically refer to the “education of promising young men.”

Judge Stout’s decision says, “The Court rules in favor of the objectors. The Trust can not be construed as giving the Trustees discretion to admit female students.”

The majority of Deep Springs Trustees also argued that the Deep Springs College Corporation is a separate entity from the College. The Court decision indicated that these trustees seemed to think the Corporation could conduct co-education at the college. Judge Stout disagreed. He said that the Corporation is also subject to the same ruling as the College.

Trtustees Kinch Hoekstra and Edward Keonjian are the ones who legally opposed the admission of women. They also asked the Court for a Preliminary Injunction to keep Deep Springs from admitting women and to maintain the status quo while the legal battles goes on. The Judge granted the injunction. Stout also noted statistics provided to the Court which said, “…the school has had little difficulty attracting qualified faculty and students under its single-sex policies, and is financially healthy.”

Judge Stout still has to consider whether the Trust can be legally modified. Both sides have a call with the Judge on February 22.

 

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5 Responses to Judge Stout rules that Deep Springs Trust does not allow co-eds

  1. Trouble February 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    So when does the ACLU and the Supreme Court get to debate this one?

     
  2. Desert Tortoise February 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    A contract is held null and void by most courts when it conflicts with state or Federal law. A covenant on the deed to my parents old home in LA prohibited it’s sale to “negros”. This convenant is obviously illegal. The same is, or seemingly ought to be, true of the language in that trust.

     
  3. RLS February 16, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    The decision of the Court is legally correct. Single sex educaion is not illegal (there are approximately 60 women’s colleges in the US). There is great value in having single sex education as an alternative to co-education (this is a form of diversity that many do not consider). The founder of Deep Springs, L L Nunn, believed in single sex education and so stipulated in the school’s founding documents that this was how the school was to operate. Since Mr. Nunn is not here to defend his plan, the Court is obligated to defend it. Just because some believe it would be a good idea to change things does not mean that they have the right or authority to do so. By the way, Mr. Nunn was not anti-female: he created a women’s college in New York as well.

     
  4. familygal February 18, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    @RLS states: “Just because some believe it would be a good idea to change things does not mean that they have the right or authority to do so. By the way, Mr. Nunn was not anti-female: he created a women’s college in New York as well.”

    I completely agree.

    ….seems that the comment would apply to many hot topic issues in society today too, would it not?

    just b/c some believe “it” would be a good idea to change things does not mean they have the right or authority to do so…..doesn’t mean they are anti-anything either.

     
  5. Robert Sterbal January 12, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    What is the name of the female college L.L. Nunn founded?

     

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