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All-male Deep Springs College invites female applicants

Deep Springs College, founded as an all-male school, plans to admit women in 2013

Deep Springs College, the small but prestigious school and ranch north of Death Valley, has begun accepting applications from women for the first time in its 95-year history.

Despite an ongoing legal battle aimed at stopping the shift at the 28-student campus, college officials announced this week that they are inviting women to apply for admission in 2013.

Deep Springs' trustees voted last year to break with the all-male tradition at the 120-square-mile ranch, about 55 miles southeast of Mammoth Lakes, as a way to keep up with contemporary ways of training future leaders.

But in May, two college trustees sought to block the change in court. Critics contend that enrolling women would violate the campus’ founding trust and mission to educate "promising young men" in a setting away from the distractions of women and drinking.

Deep Springs is a tuition-free two-year college from which many graduates transfer to Ivy League universities.

Officials also said they plan to admit a class in 2013 that is at least half women, according to a release.

But the process could be derailed due to litigation, the college warned. Though Deep Springs’ trustees approved coeducation, the college is still “working through a legal process to implement this decision,” the release said.

Although the college is optimistic enough to begin recruiting female students, officials cannot say for certain they will be able to admit any in the summer of 2013.

“Since submitting a college application never guarantees admission, we hope this won't discourage applicants from getting interested in Deep Springs,” the release said.

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-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: Deep Springs College students hold an informal meeting. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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