State News Roundup
Gov. L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia has endorsed a proposal by the Virginia Military Institute to establish a state-funded military-training college for women.
The plan represents an effort to comply with a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that V.M.I.'s all-male admissions policy is unconstitutional. The Court ordered the school, which receives public funding, either to admit women or to establish an equivalent program for them elsewhere.
Governor Wilder last month embraced the school's plan, which would provide $6.9 million in state funds for construction, operating expenses, and scholarships to Mary Baldwin College to set up the Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership.
Compelling V.M.I. to admit women, Mr. Wilder said, would "destroy the unique character of its program,'' which includes training methods that were found "unproductive for women.''
The program at Mary Baldwin College "envisions a physically and mentally holistic environment that is uniquely adapted to the training of women,'' Mr. Wilder said.
Mr. Wilder said he will introduce legislation to help fund the women's military institute before he leaves office in January.
Officials of the U.S. Justice Department contend, however, that the proposal would still constitute separate but equal education for women. The department plans to pursue the case until women are admitted to V.M.I.
West Virginia's educational-broadcasting agency is embroiled in a legal dispute with a private fund-raising group over financial assets and membership lists.
The Friends of West Virginia Public Radio, an independent, nonprofit membership group that raises money for the state's public-radio station, filed suit last month against the Educational Broadcasting Authority, which supervises the state's three public-television stations and one public-radio station.
The private group and the state agency had worked closely together for more than a decade, according to the chairman of the F.W.V.P.R., Stephen West. But in August, the state established the Educational Broadcasting Authority Foundation, which Mr. West claimed was created to circumvent state laws against fund-raising by state agencies.
"They are using our name and our mailing lists to raise funds, without the public knowing it,'' Mr. West said.
The Kanawha County Circuit Court has issued a restraining order barring the foundation from raising funds under the guise of Friends membership, and a full hearing on the issue is scheduled for later this month.
Public school students in New York State will no longer be allowed to solicit donations for charity while on school property, except for school-related activities, under a resolution passed by the state board of regents.
The board passed the resolution last month to "protect students, who are a captive audience, from exploitation by outside organizations, while assuring that school-related fund-raising which benefits the school community may continue,'' according to a statement by Lizette Cantrez, the deputy commissioner for legal affairs for the state education department.
Chris Carpenter, a spokesman for the department, acknowledged that the new resolution has created confusion, but said that new guidelines should resolve most of the questions.
The guidelines will be presented to the board next week and distributed to all schools before the ban becomes effective in mid-November.
The New York State School Boards Association opposes the measure. "Our stand is that there shouldn't be an outright ban,'' said Bill Pape, a spokesman for the group. "The decision is best left to local communities instead of using the cookie-cutter approach.''
Vol. 13, Issue 05