Coeducation Transition News
This page is dedicated to news and updates regarding implementation of the Board of Trustees September 2011 decision to pursue a legal policy of coeducation at Deep Springs. The most recent news appears at the top; scroll down for earlier entries.
Please direct questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
When will Deep Springs admit women as students?
Deep Springs is pursuing legal permission to become a coeducational college, but the legal process is lengthy. Unfortunately, we are NOT able to accept applications from women for the class entering in 2015.
12.5.14 Update From Trustee Chair Dave Hitz
I have hopeful news. The Superior Court judge who presided over our trial last spring has ruled that women may attend Deep Springs. Specifically, he ruled that "promising young men" in the Deed of Trust should be modified to read "promising young people."
To clarify the legal situation, let me return to an analogy that I shared two years ago: "Solving legal problems is like climbing a mountain. If one path to the top is blocked, you seek another. You must obey the law, but you can always try a new strategy if the first one doesn't work or is too slow." Remember that our first legal path was blocked, so in this trial we made four different legal arguments about why women should now be allowed to attend Deep Springs. This was a strong ruling because the judge agreed with three of our four arguments. Any single one would have been sufficient. I invite you to read the judge's ruling.
We don't yet know what this means, practically. As I said in my last update: "We might be done in a year. Or there could be more appeals, by either side, possibly even to the California Supreme Court. That would take many years." We do know that the upcoming class, starting in summer of 2015, will definitely be all-male. We are deep into the college application season so it's too late to admit women for next year in any case. Beyond that, I would describe TDS as "cautiously optimistic". We're reassured by the strength of this ruling and hope it will help us resolve the uncertainty on coeducation soon, but it's too early to tell.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Dave Hitz DS'80
Chair, Trustees of Deep Springs
11.26.14 Court Issues Ruling on Trust Modification
Judge Stout of the Inyo County Superior Court has issued a decision directing that the LL Nunn Trust be modified. The conclusion of his decision (page 51) reads, in part:
The Court hereby decrees that the L.L. Nunn Trust should be modified by substituting the word "people" for "men" in the phrase "for the education of promising young men" in paragraph 1 of the instrument.
We won't know how this decision impacts the future until more details are ironed out over the next few weeks. We will post ongoing news here as it becomes available.
Consideration of applications for the class entering in July 2015 is (of necessity) already well advanced; we are *not* currently accepting applications from women for the upcoming year.
9.10.14 Parties File Final Responses to Proposed Judgments on Trust Modification
Below are the three final responses to proposed statements of decision, filed today. The judge's decision is expected by mid-November.
8.27.14 Parties File Proposed Judgments on Trust Modification
The Inyo County Judge asked each party to submit a draft of a proposed judicial decision this week. Each party has two weeks to submit a final comment on each other's filing. After that, we wait for the judge's decision, which may not be issued until sometime in November.
7.14.14 Update From Trustee Chair Dave Hitz
5.13.14 Modification Trial Set to Continue May 27
The Trustees finished with their presentation of witnesses, but the trial has been lengthened by the opposing respondents' effort to subpoena testimony from the Attorney General or her designee, regarding the Attorney General's formal consent to the modification of the LL Nunn Trust. The judge scheduled another day for the trial after he has had time to review the briefs submitted on the matter.
The proceeding will continue May 27 via telephone. At that time the judge hopes to establish a schedule for the submission of final arguments in writing. Documents pretaining to the Attorney General's consent maybe downloaded below:
5.2.14 Modification Trial Set to Continue May 13
Witnesses were still left to be heard after five days of trial (4/28/14 to 5/2/14) at Superior Court in Independence, CA. The court has scheduled final witnesses for May 13. Deep Springs will post transcripts as final versions become available.
4.4.14 Trustees and Opposing Respondents File Initial Trial Briefs for Trial Beginning April 28
1.1.24 Opposing Respondents File New Discovery and Interrogatory Requests
1.1.14 Trustees File Reply to Respondents in Appeals Court
The Trustees of Deep Springs have filed their response to the respondent filing in the appeals Court. (See 10.30.13 below.)
11.18.13 Judge Responds to Respondents Motion to Limit Arguments for Trust Modification
Judge Stout has denied the Respondents motion to limit arguments for trust modification. (See 8.25.13 below.)
10.30.13 Respondents File Appellant Brief
Respondents brief replies to the Trustee brief filed earlier (see 7.25.13 below).
9.27.13 Litigation Update
College Counsel Christopher Campbell (DS'73) has provided a summary of the college's litigation efforts to date.
9.23.13 Judge Responds to College's Request to Modify Injunction
In response to our request to modify the court's injunction in a way that supports normal operations, (see 4.24.13 below), Deep Springs has received an amended injunction.
8.25.13 Respondents Ask Judge to Limit Arguments for Trust Modification
In anticipation of the initial hearing to consider the Trustees' request for legal modification of the L.L. Nunn Trust, the opposing respondents filed a motion asking the Judge to preemptively limit what arguments for modification may be considered at the hearing, now scheduled for April of 2014. The two documents they filed, long with the response from the Trustees of Deep Springs, are available below.
7.25.13 Deep Springs Files Opening Brief in Appeals Court
Deep Springs today filed its opening appellant brief in the California appeals Court, appealing one part of the 2.13.13 Inyo County Superior Court Ruling (the section regarding interpretation of the L.L. Nunn Trust).
For those who have been wondering, there is no further news to report regarding ongoing coeducation matters at the college:
The Trustees' appeal of the judge's initial ruling on interpretation of the L.L. Nunn Trust (posted below on 3.13.2013) is not yet scheduled on the appeals court calendar.
The initial hearing on the Trustees' petition to modify the L.L.Nunn Trust is currently scheduled for April of 2014 in Inyo County Superior Court. Additional filings will be posted as they become available.
The Judge Stout of the Inyo County Superior Court has heard arguments but has not yet ruled on the latest injunction motions (posted below on 4.24.2013).
4.24.13 College Trustees Respond to Preliminary Injunction
The Trustees of Deep Springs College have submitted a petition to modify the terms of the injunction ordered on February 13th. Please see the documents below for details.
3.28.13 Response from Disappointed Women Applicants
Many people have asked what sort of response Deep Springs received form the women who applied for admission to the class entering in 2013, but were rejected when the court ruling in January 2013 went against the college. We have posted their responses in the document below.
3.24.13 College Trustees Respond to Recent Legal Rulings
At their regularly scheduled spring 2013 meeting, March 22 - 24, the Trustees of the Deep Springs Trust and the Trustee Board Members of the Deep Springs Public-Benefit Corporation passed the following Resolution of Continued Support for Coeducation:
The Trustees of Deep Springs have carefully considered the purpose of Deep Springs, how best to achieve this purpose, and changes in society since the college was founded. The Trustees continue to support a transition to a coeducational body.
At the same meeting, the Trustees issued the following statement in response to the recent legal ruling that prevents coeducation from proceeding in 2013:
We are disappointed with the Court's initial ruling on February 13, 2013, but we accept the Court's decision and will not admit young women to the class of 2013. All of the Trustees, except one, remain committed to the Board's 2011 decision to transition to coeducation. We strongly believe that this is the best policy for achieving L.L. Nunn's purpose for Deep Springs, best for its students both now and in years to come, and the best means to assure the future viability and relevance of the institution. Consequently, we will continue to pursue a legal path to coeducation.
There are several legal theories supporting coeducation at Deep Springs. The judge suggested that we consider them one at a time, so this first decision addressed only the narrow issue of interpretation of the trust. As a board, we are appealing that decision. We are also proceeding with our request that the court modify the terms of the trust. There are other options, but this is where we will begin. We wish the process were faster, but in the end we hope and expect to be successful in our efforts to fulfill L.L. Nunn's goal of educating students who are committed to a life of service and responsibility.
For more news about the TDS meeting, see the tab News and Events > College News.
3.13.13 Deep Springs Files Notice of Appeal
Deep Springs has filed a notice of appeal from the rulings of January 8 and February 13 2013.
2.13.13 Inyo Superior Court Issues Opinion Explaining 1.9.2013 Ruling
1.9.13 Inyo Superior Court Issues Initial Ruling Setting Back Coeducation at Deep Springs
In a partial ruling issued yesterday, the Inyo Superior Court set back the effort of the Trustees of Deep Springs College (TDS) to begin admitting women to the college prior to the completion of the ongoing coeducation litigation. The ruling prevents Deep Springs from admitting women to the college in 2013.
We are disappointed that we cannot move ahead with coeducation this year, but remain confident about the final outcome of the ongoing litigation. By stipulation, the Court has so far considered only a portion of the requests made by Deep Springs in its petition to affirm the Trustees' decision to transition Deep Springs College to a coeducational institution.
Deep Springs and its Trustees remain committed to a coeducational future for the college. Judge Stout has not yet issued his full ruling on the limited questions addressed in this phase of the litigation; once he does, TDS will develop the next phase of its legal efforts.
12.19.12 Second-Round Application Notifications Delayed Until Mid-January
Deep Springs has changed its notification dates for admission to the second round of our applications process. For the class entering in 2013, applicants will be notified if they have been admitted to Part II of the applications process in mid-January. This is a change from the mid-December notification we have used in previous years, which is noted on the application form.
As you are probably aware, the College is waiting for a judicial ruling to ensure that we may include women in the 2013 entering class. The Judge intended to make his ruling by December 15 but he recently informed us that his schedule makes him unable to issue that ruling until early January. As a result, we will delay issuing our second-round invitations until we know more.
The due-date for second round essays will also change; it will be at least two weeks after we inform applicants who have reached the second round of their status. For those curious about the second-round essay questions in the meantime, you can download a PDF version of our second-round application here.
We greatly regret having to keep applicants waiting. We want you to know that we are grateful to both our male and female applicants for your interest in Deep Springs, and that we doing everything we can to make coeducation at Deep Springs a reality for the class of 2013.
12.19.12 Joint Statement on December 7 2012 Case Management Conference
11.20.12 Hearing Held as Scheduled November 19
In Bishop, oral arguments were heard Monday on the first three coeducation-related motions to reach the oral argumentation stage. The Honorable Dean T. Stout presided over the three-hour hearing at Inyo County Superior Court; Judge Stout is expected to issue a set of rulings within a few weeks. Almost half of the current Student Body attended the hearing, after which the judge devoted time to answering students' questions about the legal system and careers in the law.
10.26.12 October 30 Hearing Postponed to November 19
10.20.12 Trustees File Response Documents for October 30th Hearing on Respondents Request for Joinder and Injunction
Respondents Opposing Coeducation Also File Response Documents for October 30th Hearing
2012-10-20 Kinch Hoekstra Reply Declaration (58 pages)
10.3.12 Trustees File Opening Documents for October Hearing on Interpretation of the L.L. Nunn Trust
The first link below gives The Trustees of Deep Springs Opening Brief on Interpretation for the October 30 hearing.
The second link gives appendices to the brief: the Deed of Trust, the college's most recent financial statement, and the L.L. Nunn Trust asset list.
The third link gives the Declaration of Christopher Campbell, providing the Court with the entire Gray Book containing L.L. Nunn's Letters to the Student Body.
[Note: some of the following documents are long downloads, so we have provided page counts to alert you ahead of time.]
Respondents Opposing Coeducation Also File Opening Documents for October Hearing
These documents request an injunction to prevent Deep Springs from recruiting or admitting women, a ruling joining the Deep Springs Corporation to the trust interpretation before the Court, and give arguments on interpretation of the L.L. Nunn Trust.
2012-10-03 Declaration of Kinch Hoekstra (86 pages)
9.3.12 Coed Transition Update Letter #6 from Dave Hitz, Trustee Chair
This update describes the current state of the college's legal efforts concerning coeducation.
9.3.12 Coed Transition Update Letter #5 from David Neidorf, College President
This update describes the Trustees' plan to move forward on coeducation in greater detail, and addresses the most frequently asked questions about those plans.
8.14.12 The Objecting Respondents today filed an Amended Objection and Response to the original petition by the Trustees of Deep Springs
8.13.12 Deep Springs Served Additional Interrogatories
Today Deep Springs received a set of "Special Interrogatories" from the respondent trustees, concerning the business and managerial relationships between the Deep Springs Corporation, Trust, and the L.L. Nunn LLC.
8.8.12 Deep Springs Now Recruiting Women Applicants
Deep Springs is pleased and proud to welcome inquiries and applications from women for admission to the class entering in 2013. We invite prospective women applicants to send their contact information to us at email@example.com.
Our first priority in admissions will remain the same; maintaining current standards of academic ability, leadership potential, and desire to assume active and practical responsibility for the ongoing life of the Deep Springs community.
In addition, during a transitional period the college plans to prioritize achieving gender balance in the student body; we plan to admit a coeducational class in 2013 that is at least one half female. Transfer students are, as always, also encouraged to apply.
The Trustees of Deep Springs voted decisively in favor of coeducation, and are currently working through a legal process to implement this decision. We are optimistic enough to begin recruitment, but legal matters are difficult to predict with complete certainty. For this reason we want to inform prospective applicants that we may be prevented from admitting them to the college 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. We look forward to hearing from you.
7.05.12 Status Conference in Inyo County Superior Court
Lawyers for both sides agreed today to a stipulation that three issues will receive a combined hearing on September 24, 2012: First,, the parties agreed to bifurcate Deep Springs' initial petition so that the question concerning interpretation of the Nunn Trust can be heard first. The agreement also established a schedule for the filing of briefs so that the respondents' petition to join the trust to the corporation for legal purposes, and the respondents' request for a court order forbidding admission of women students to Deep Springs may be subject to consideration at the same hearing.>
6.22.12 Status Conference in Inyo County Superior Court
Friday's status conference to set the hearing schedule was inconclusive. The judge asked the parties to return July 5 for a short conversation to schedule the next hearing. The respondents filed a case management statement laying out their current position, but have not yet filed a petition that requires the judge to respond
6.13.12 Respondents File Subpoena for Deep Springs Files
Respondents Kinch Hoekstra and Ed Keonjian today filed subpoenas for thousands of pages of Deep Springs documents from 1960 through the present. The order includes all records and correspondence concerning business operations, finances, fundraising, employment contracts and records of any personnel disputes with staff or board members.
6.12.12 Deep Springs' Coed Transition on NPR
A segment of today's Madeleine Brand Show on NPR was devoted to Deep Springs College and its transition to coeducation.
A transcript, along with links to the broadcast and further audio from Trustee Kinch Hoekstra and College President David Neidorf, is available here: Radio Show
6.12.12 College Files Reply to Objections Opposing Coeducation
The Trustees of Deep Springs have filed their reply to the May 9, 2012 objections in Inyo County Superior Court. The status conference to decide further procedure is scheduled for June 22, 2012. You may download the reply documents by clicking on the links below.
As described in the Coed Update Letter #3 below, the college plans to implement coeducation without waiting for the final outcome (perhaps years away), of the legal question of possible restrictions on the LL Nunn Trust. Those interested in the details of that plan are referred to the latter part of the reply regarding the trust, (the first and second documents below).
6.8.12 Coed Transition Update Letter #4 from David Neidorf, College President
This update describes the college's work to date planning for a coeducational program.
6.8.12 Coed Transition Update Letter #3 from Dave Hitz, Trustee Chair
This update describes the college's plans to implement coeducation without waiting for a final outcome-perhaps several years away-to the legal action to determine whether or not there are restrictions on the use of the LL Nunn Trust.
5.9.12 Update on Court Filings in Inyo County Superior Court
Two trustees dissenting from the TDS vote to pursue coeducation, Kinch Hoekstra and Ed Keonjian, have filed objections and responses to Deep Springs' initial petitions 0f 2/6/2012 (posted under that date below). The status conference to decide further procedure is scheduled for June 22, 2012. You may download the responses and objections by clicking on the links below.
4.05.12 Opposing Trustees Subpoena College Files
3.9.12 Update on Hearing in Inyo County Superior Court
In his March 6 public letter, Dave Hitz (Chair, Trustees of Deep Springs) wrote: "Our initial hearing is scheduled for March 9th. With no objections, the Judge could decide on the spot. However, we've heard from some people who may file objections. If so, the Judge will schedule another hearing to give them a reasonable time to respond to our arguments."
At the March 9, 2012 hearing in Inyo County, Superior Court Judge Stout ordered that Trustees Kinch Hoekstra and Ed Keonjian had filed timely objections through their counsel. He ordered that they file any additional responsive pleadings on or before May 9, 2012 and he set a status conference on June 22nd. At that time he will determine the procedure for the balance of the matter. You may download the petitions to extend the filing period and the judge's orders in response by clicking on the links below.
3.6.12 Coed Transition Update Letter #2 from Dave Hitz, Trustee Chair
2.6.12 Initial Legal Petitions Filed
The Deed of Trust: Deep Springs has filed an initial petition along with supporting documents asking the court in Inyo County California to construe or modify the college's deed of trust to permit coeducation. You may download the deed of trust filings using the links below.
The Withrow Endowments: Many alumni are aware that when alumnus Jim Withrow (DS'27) donated endowment funds to the college, he restricted them to carrying out the purpose indicated in the Deed of Trust. These endowed funds represent approximately 7% of our total endowment. Deep Springs has also petitioned the court to find that the potential admission of women to Deep Springs would not violate the terms of Withrow's restrictions. You may download the Withrow filings using the links below.
12.5.11 Coed Transition Update Letter #1, from David Neidorf, President
9.19.11 Board of Trustees Votes to Admit Women
At their fall biannual meeting, the Deep Springs board of trustees voted 10-2 to accept women applicants for admission to the college. The resolution adopted at the meeting states:
"The Trustees have carefully considered the purpose of Deep Springs, how best to achieve the purpose, and changes in society since the college was founded. Therefore, the Trustees determine that it is appropriate to plan and implement a transition to a coeducational student body, subject to ongoing board review."
Deep Springs has had an all-male student body since its founding in 1917. The board's vote comes after six months of input from alumni and friends of the college via email, letters and listening sessions at several venues across the country, and capped several days of discussion at the college.
In a letter addressed to alumni and supporters of the college, Board Chair Dave Hitz DS'80 announced the decision and explained some of the process involved. You may access the Chair's letter, as well as the college's press release and answers to frequently asked questions by clicking on the links below..