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College Students Sue To Ban Men

Claiming they were deceived about attending a women's school, two Wells College students are suing to prevent the school from admitting men until after this year's freshman class graduates.

The suit was filed on behalf of freshman Lauren Searle-Lebel of Arcata, California, and sophomore Jennifer LaBarbera of Fredonia, New York.

The students seek preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the school, founded in 1868 as a woman's liberal arts college, from admitting men before fall 2008. The suit also seeks undetermined punitive damages and "any other such further relief as the court deems just and proper."

Ann Rollo, vice president for external relations, was traveling Tuesday and not immediately available for comment. The college had no other response.

The suit accuses Wells of breach of contract through its admissions process, and violating state general business law by engaging in fraud and "deceptive acts."

Peter D. Carmen, the students' lawyer, said while the college was actively recruiting females, the trustees had been developing the plan to admit male students.

The lawsuit filed Monday in state court in Cayuga County also alleges that campus tour guides were specifically instructed in their 2003-2004 training manual to say "no" when asked if the college was going coed.

"We're asking for very limited relief," Carmen said. "We just want the women who applied to, and were accepted by, a woman's college to be able to graduate from a women's college."

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