NEW YORK – A decision by Wells College (search), which has been all-women since 1868, to begin admitting male students in order to boost enrollment has riled female students.
Many students are threatening to leave the upstate New York college, but two have moved beyond threats and filed a lawsuit that says the decision to enroll men constitutes a breach of contract and fraud.
College administrators say the decision was necessary for the school's financial survival, because there aren't enough female applicants. Administrators don't want to admit men until the current freshman class graduates in 2008, and say the heart and soul of the school won't change.
"We are surviving as a college that will continue to educate women and will do so in a way that honors our history and meets the needs of current generations of students," said Wells spokeswoman Ann Rollo.
But many of the young women at the Aurora, N.Y., school say allowing men to attend would compromise the tight-knit community.
"We all leave our doors unlocked. We can run around in our nighties. It's all girls and we feel really safe and that will change," said student Starbuck Hersey.
A hearing on the lawsuit against the school is scheduled for Dec. 16. Until then, the school is actively recruiting male applicants.
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