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Housing change at North Georgia: All students to live on campus; men can bypass Corps of Cadets

POSTED: December 16, 2007 5:03 a.m.

Men living on campus at North Georgia College & State University no longer have to be members of the Corps of Cadets.

Further, all freshmen and sophomore students, both men and women, must live in campus housing.

College officials announced the changes Tuesday as part of revisions to a campus residence policy that had been in place since the early 1970s.

The college, one of six senior military colleges in the United States, is changing its policy in response to an opinion from state Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker's office.

The office "determined that North Georgia's existing policy would not survive judicial scrutiny as currently written," said college president David Potter.

That's because the policy "treats students differently based on gender without being substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental objective," Potter added.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. has asked North Georgia to change the policy to become effective in the fall semester of 2008.

"We are in agreement with the legal opinion and are proceeding with the chancellor's request," Potter said.

The matter first came to light in the spring.

Potter announced the proposal in a March 8 memo that was later posted to the college's Web site.

A legal consultant had determined that the 134-year-old college "may be at risk for a legal challenge to the policy," Potter said in the memo.

"If so, consequences might include monetary damages and a loss of federal education funding. Based on this analysis, (a North Georgia administrative) team developed concerns about supporting a policy that might run counter to their professional commitment to uphold the law."

Administrators and military leaders met with some 50 to 75 alumni and others on March 2 to discuss the issue.

At that four-hour meeting, consulting attorney Forrest Hunter of Atlanta firm Alston & Bird told the group that the current residential policy made the college vulnerable to a legal challenge.

He added that the Georgia Board of Regents' legal counsel agreed with his findings.
John Douglas, a North Georgia graduate of 1976, voiced his concerns at the meeting.

One "overriding factor" has remained constant through the college's history, Douglas said, and that is "resident male students would participate in the military program."



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