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Military Institute May Bar Women, Virginia Attorney General Says

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Virginia's attorney general, J. Marshall Coleman, says the all-male Virginia Military Institute (vmi) has the right to exclude women.

The attorney general's opinion was requested by General Assembly Delegate Floyd Bagley "at the request of a male constituent" affiliated with the National Organization for Women, according to Mr. Bagley.

"The General Assembly has empowered the vmi Board of Visitors with the discretion to establish admission requirements for prospective cadets," the opinion said.

Also, Mr. Coleman wrote, "the state system of higher education provides3women with an equal opportunity for an education [at other schools] in programs offered only to men at the Institute."

Mr. Bagley said that he simply wanted to know whether the policy violated the state or federal constitutions.

"He [Mr. Coleman] did not say it would not violate the national Constitution," he said.

"I know the question has come up at vmi," Mr. Bagley said. "There are a good many grads of vmi who don't have sons, and they are very proud of their school and would send daughters if they could."

Virginia Military Institute may remain all male.

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