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Vermont Law
School paying price for denying access to military

Vermont Law
School paying price for denying access to military

The Vermont Law School, located in the town of South Royalton, is paying the price for its refusal to allow military recruiters on campus. The school is one of three law schools across the country that have lost federal grants because of its opposition to a Pentagon policy that prohibits the employment of people who are openly gay or lesbian. "The government is trying to use its force to prohibit independent institutions from speaking up on behalf of individuals who are being discriminated against based on their sexual preference," said Law School president Geoff Shields. The law says a school is ineligible to receive the grants if it refuses to allow recruiters on campus for any reason. Shields estimated that the school's decision has cost it about $500,000 a year in grants. Student loans are not affected. "It's a significant bite for us," Shields said. The Pentagon was unapologetic. "It's all about equal access," said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Defense Department spokeswoman. "When a military recruiter visits a college or high school, we expect to be granted the same access to students as any other individual there to do recruiting." The other institutions that have lost federal grants are New York Law School in New York City and William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn. Now students wishing to meet with military recruiters must do so in New Hampshire. Vermont Law School is part of a group of law schools trying to have the law that withholds federal funding declared unconstitutional. "If all the law schools across the country took the position we did and cut off the recruiters, there would be a huge amount of yelling and gnashing of teeth," Shields said. "We have not had enough of them do that to date to make this a national issue." The University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and Saint Michael's College all allow military recruiters on campus. (AP)

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