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I mention only my State of Virginia, where even today Hollins College, Mary Baldwin College, Randolph Macon Woman's College, and Sweet Briar College remain all women's colleges. But their numerical predominance does not establish — in any sense properly cognizable by a court — that individual preferences for single-sex education are misguided or illegitimate, or that a State may not provide its citizens with a choice. MUW charges tuition but gives no academic credit for auditing.
Our decisions also establish that the party seeking to uphold a statute that classifies individuals on the basis of their gender must carry the burden of showing an "exceedingly persuasive justification" for the classification. The history, briefly summarized above, of single-sex higher education in the Northeast is duplicated in other States. Despite the continuing expressions that single-sex institutions may offer singular advantages to their students, there is no doubt that coeducational institutions are far more numerous. Any other rule would mean that courts and not legislatures would determine all matters of public policy." Williams v. That standard was designed to free women from "archaic and overbroad generalizations . It is understandable that MUW might believe that it could allow men to audit courses without materially affecting its environment.
Rather than compensating for discriminatory barriers faced by women, MUW's policy tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively woman's job.
The test must be applied free of fixed notions concerning the roles and abilities of males and females. A State can evoke a compensatory purpose to justify an otherwise discriminatory classification only if members of the gender benefited by the classification actually suffer a disadvantage related to the classification.
The Court, in the opening and closing sentences and note 7 of its opinion, states the issue in terms only of a "professional nursing school" and "decline[s] to address the question of whether MUW's admissions policy, as applied to males seeking admission to schools other than the School of Nursing, violates the Fourteenth Amendment." This would be a welcome limitation if, in fact, it leaves MUW free to remain an all-women's university in each of its other schools and departments — which include four schools and more than a dozen departments. The Court holds today that they have deprived Hogan of constitutional rights because MUW is adjudged guilty of sex discrimination. The charter of MUW, basically unchanged since its founding, now provides: "The purpose and aim of the Mississippi State College for Women is the moral and intellectual advancement of the girls of the state by the maintenance of a first-class institution for their education in the arts and sciences, for their training in normal school methods and kindergarten, for their instruction in bookkeeping, photography, stenography, telegraphy, and typewriting, and in designing, drawing, engraving, and painting, and their industrial application, and for their instruction in fancy, general and practical needlework, and in such other industrial branches as experience, from time to time, shall suggest as necessary or proper to fit them for the practical affairs of life." Miss. Thus, we are not faced with the question of whether States can provide "separate but equal" undergraduate institutions for males and females. The School of Nursing has its own faculty and administrative officers and establishes its own criteria for admission. I see no principled way — in light of the Court's rationale — to reach a different result with respect to other MUW schools and departments. The Court today leaves in doubt the reach of its decision. The school, known today as Mississippi University for Women (MUW), has from its inception limited its enrollment to women. Mississippi maintains no other single-sex public university or college. School District of Philadelphia, 532 F.2d 880 (CA3 1975), aff'd by an equally divided Court, 430 U. Three years later, the school instituted a 4-year baccalaureate program in nursing and today also offers a graduate program. § 1681 (a), provides in part: "(a) No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, except that: "(1) . The Court of Appeals so viewed this case, and unambiguously held that a single-sex state institution of higher education no longer is permitted by the Constitution. In 1971, MUW established a School of Nursing, initially offering a 2-year associate degree. in regard to admissions to educational institutions, this section shall apply only to institutions of vocational education, professional education, and graduate higher education, and to public institutions of undergraduate higher education; . It seems to me that in fact the issue properly before us is the single-sex policy of the University, and it is this issue that I have addressed in this dissent. The Court nevertheless purports to decide this case "narrow[ly]." Normally and properly we decide only the question presented.