One of the eminently sensible reasons why the Virginia Military Institute (and other such institutions) wished to remain all-male was the fact that young men and young women tend to be attracted to one another with results that are fairly predictable. Now, having been forced by the state to go co-ed, VMI has found that one of the female cadets, a junior, is pregnant. She is expected to give birth later this month; it is assumed the father is another cadet.
In response to this problem, VMI has announced a policy to dismiss any female cadet who becomes pregnant in the future as well as any male cadet who fathers a child, whether with another cadet, or with a woman not a cadet who lives off campus. “One cannot be a parent and a cadet at the same time,” VMI spokesman Lt. Col. Charles J. Steenburg said in announcing the new policy. “To be a good parent, you don’t leave and go to school and be somewhere else.”
This seems a sensible policy but it has already aroused the ire of groups across the political spectrum, from liberal feminist organizations to conservative pro-life groups. Liberal feminist groups, though, bear the greatest share of the blame for this mess. First they insisted that VMI be forced to admit women into its ranks in defiance of tradition and common sense. As a result, VMI has had to bend over backwards to make accommodations that previously were not necessary and must now deal with issues such as fraternization and cadets in a family way, which did not exist prior to 1997, when the first female cadet was forcibly introduced into the corps of cadets by an edict of the Supreme Court.
VMI’s educational mission, before 1997, was to prepare young men for service to their country through an austere 4-year experience quite unlike the normal “party hearty” collegiate years of most undergrads. It has been forced to dilute that mission as a result of the co-ed ruling of the Supreme Court. The new policy simply seeks to make the best of an impossible situation by in some manner getting the cadets to think before they act.
So far, Virginia’s Republican office-holders (and those seeking office) have given at least tacit approval of the new policy. Gov. James S. Gilmore has laudably said he is not interested in “second-guessing” the VMI board, which crafted the policy. Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark L. Early likewise stated that he won’t “micromanage” VMI’s policies, at least not until the state attorney general’s office has decided whether the pregnancy policy is acceptable legally and constitutionally.
Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner, as one might expect, has hinted that VMI should make “accommodations” for the lovesick cadets. Warner spokeswoman Amanda Crumley said that “Mark understands and respects that there are standards and duties in the military … but he would hope that VMI would follow the example set by The Citadel, which allows cadets in these circumstances to be reinstated.”
Well, “these circumstances” would not be here to plague us, and detract from the mission of either VMI or The Citadel, had the radical feminists not insisted that every nook and cranny of American society be driven into compliance with the ethos of sameness and “equality.”