Volume 78, Number 3

June 2003

Citizen-Soldier-Parent: An Analysis of Virginia Military Institute’s Parenting Policy

Adina H. Rosenbaum

After discovering for the first time that one of its female cadets was pregnant, Virginia Military Institute (VMI) rewrote its parenting policy to provide for the expulsion of any student who becomes pregnant or who impregnates someone else. In this Note, Adina H. Rosenbaum argues that this new policy violates both Title IX—the federal statute banning sex discrimination in education—and the United States Constitution. Rosenbaum demonstrates that it is a violation of the pregnancy regulations promulgated pursuant to Title IX to expel women for being pregnant and that, in analyzing whether they have been discriminated against, the treatment of pregnant women should be compared to the treatment of similarly able nonpregnant men and women. Thus, the VMI rule, which expels pregnant cadets while allowing similarly qualified cadets to remain in the Corps, fails to meet the requirements of Title IX, even though it also calls for the expulsion of men who have impregnated women. Rosenbaum argues that the policy further violates Title IX because it will have a disproportionate impact, leading to the expulsion of all female cadets who become pregnant but not of all male cadets who impregnate someone. Finally, she explains how, through the policy, the State of Virginia infringes on VMI cadets’ constitutionally protected right of privacy, particularly their right to make procreative choices without state interference.