South Carolina General Assembly
110th Session, 1993-1994

Bill 4170

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

                    Current Status

Introducing Body:               House
Bill Number:                    4170
Primary Sponsor:                Sheheen
Type of Legislation:            CR
Subject:                        Single-gender colleges
Date Bill Passed both Bodies:   19930527
Computer Document Number:       BR1/15346SD.93
Introduced Date:                19930506
Last History Body:              House
Last History Date:              19930527
Last History Type:              Received from Senate
Scope of Legislation:           Statewide
All Sponsors:                   Sheheen
Type of Legislation:            Concurrent


Bill  Body    Date          Action Description              CMN  Leg Involved
____  ______  ____________  ______________________________  ___  ____________

4170  House   19930527      Received from Senate
4170  Senate  19930527      Adopted, returned with
4170  Senate  19930526      Debate adjourned
4170  Senate  19930520      Committee Report: majority      08
                            favorable, minority
4170  Senate  19930513      Introduced, referred to         08
4170  House   19930512      Adopted, sent to Senate
4170  House   19930506      Introduced, placed on
                            Calendar without reference

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)


May 20, 1993

H. 4170

Introduced by REPS. Sheheen, Delleney, Fulmer, Harrison, McElveen and McTeer

S. Printed 5/20/93--S.

Read the first time May 13, 1993.


To whom was referred a Concurrent Resolution (H. 4170), to declare the public policy objectives and state interests of the State of South

Carolina in establishing single-gender institutions, etc., respectfully


That they have duly and carefully considered the same, and recommend that the same do pass:

Majority favorable. Minority unfavorable.


For Majority. For Minority.



Whereas, the federal courts in various jurisdictions have held that single-gender institutions of higher learning provide valuable and unique educational opportunities and are constitutionally permissible based on legitimate public policy considerations which justify single-gender education; and

Whereas, studies conducted by several scholars have concluded that for a variety of reasons single-gender institutions have advantages over coeducational institutions in numerous areas, and the data developed suggests that the differences between a single-gender student population and a coeducational one justify a state's offering single-gender education; and

Whereas, a state nevertheless must provide constitutionally permissible single-gender opportunities in higher education based on public policy considerations which justify single-gender classifications as being in the best interests of the providing state; and

Whereas, the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, declares and stipulates that the public policy considerations and state interests of South Carolina in establishing, supporting, and providing for single-gender institutions of higher learning are as follows:

1. Policy of Diversity.

South Carolina believes that its institutions of higher learning should be diverse as to size, competitiveness, program emphasis, student population, and location so as to provide students with a variety of academic opportunities and experiences. In compliance with this policy of diversity, South Carolina has established a variety of diverse educational post-secondary institutions ranging from small colleges to large regional universities, from liberal arts programs to specific research-based programs, from two-year institutions to four-year institutions with no graduate programs and to four-year institutions with comprehensive graduate and professional schools. In this context, a policy of diversity should include places for single-gender institutions within the overall higher education system of this State. The single-gender institutions this State has supported over the years have been as a result of the legitimate state interest and desire for diversity in its educational institutions, and a belief that a diverse state program that includes both single-gender programs and coeducational programs better meets the individual needs of students than does a program or policy that requires all students, without regard to individual needs, to attend coeducational colleges.

2. Policy of Meeting Need and Demand.

A need for single-gender educational programs exists in South Carolina in the opinion of its citizens, and a public demand for them continues. The citizens of South Carolina want these programs and the public interest is well served by them. A tremendous demand exists now and has historically existed for the type of single-gender opportunities the State has offered. It may be true that this demand is somewhat unique to South Carolina and other similar states and does not necessarily exist throughout the country but, nevertheless, where sufficient demand has existed for particular single-gender programs of either gender thereby justifying the expenditure of public funds to support such programs, the State of South Carolina has supported such programs and has a valid state interest in doing so. The current single-gender situations in South Carolina are popular, fully-subscribed, and flourishing and clearly the State has a legitimate public policy interest in offering and providing the types of educational experiences, including single-gender ones, that its taxpayers and citizens desire and support. In addition, where a single-gender institution produces graduates of a particular discipline, training, or expertise, and the record shows that this type of training could not be as successfully developed at a coeducational institution, a legitimate and important state interest is served if the State through its agencies and programs or the nation through its agencies and programs utilizes these graduates for compelling state or national needs.

3. Policy of Autonomy.

In the system of higher education in place in South Carolina, each institution of higher learning is governed by a board of trustees which governs the institution subject to the general law and in conjunction with the Commission on Higher Education. The General Assembly has directed the Commission on Higher Education and the state's institutions of higher learning to seek to create an environment in which each institution can pursue its own mission within the broader statewide framework.

The missions of South Carolina's sixty-two public and independent post-secondary institutions vary widely. Research universities offer degree programs through the doctoral level and professional programs consistent with their respective missions. In addition, their missions emphasize funded research and public service activities that complement academic programs. Within the context of their variety of roles and missions, senior colleges offer a broad range of degree programs including graduate programs at the master's degree level in selected fields as well as public service and research programs. This comprehensive system as a matter of public policy should include an institution's right to choose to offer a single-gender program if sufficient demand for such a program exists and if the program fits within the broad framework of the overall state educational system.

The General Assembly as part of its stated public policy of allowing each institution the autonomy within certain guidelines to develop individualized mission statements and programs has therefore determined that it is consistent with its stated policy of institutional autonomy for an institution to offer a single-gender opportunity accomplished through the enactment of such vehicles as specific admission requirements based on gender or other similar requirements.

4. Policy of Economy of Resources.

The resources of the State of South Carolina available for higher education are becoming more and more scarce, and it is mandatory and a compelling public policy and state interest that the available resources and funding for each institution of higher learning be used in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Studies have shown that single-gender programs provide a diversity of choice for the individual and varying needs of students in the most efficient, economical, and prudent manner possible and with the maximum utilization of the resources and assets of the State. This is true because single-gender programs avoid the duplication and additional expense that would be incurred if an attempt was made to offer the unique characteristics of a single-gender program at a coeducational institution. A single-gender institution can deliver some specific programs including those with holistic or adversarial characteristics at less cost than can a coeducational institution and the State has a legitimate public policy interest in providing these types of programs at the least possible cost. Also, consistent with its policy of providing single-gender educational opportunities for the reasons enumerated herein, the State of South Carolina has found that the physical plant of a single-gender institution must have certain characteristics different from those of a coeducational institution for the purpose of ensuring privacy, safety, and for other such considerations. To attempt to construct or adapt the physical plant of a single-gender institution for the purpose of making it suitable for coeducation would be prohibitively expensive.

Consequently, given the fiscal situation in South Carolina and given the competing demands on its scarce resources, it is in the best interest of the State and a prudent public policy for single-gender institutions to be part of this state's higher education system so that unique programs may be offered to interested students in the most economical and efficient manner possible without unnecessary duplication and additional expense.

5. Policy of Choice.

Single-gender institutions and their programs provide a freedom of choice to students and their families, and the General Assembly believes as a matter of public policy that this is a freedom for individual choice that does not need to be destroyed. Ample choices and opportunities for college educations in mixed-gender coeducational environments exist in South Carolina and in other states and those individuals desiring a single-gender choice should also have the opportunity to make such a choice. Single-gender institutions are not inherently unconstitutional or unlawful, and the General Assembly believes that as a matter of public policy it has a duty to offer its citizens the widest range of educational opportunities it can offer in the manner allowed by law, including single-gender opportunities, so that interested students are free to choose an institution which, due to its distinctive educational methods, is not diminished or impaired as a result of a coeducational requirement; and

Whereas, for reasons and policies above provided, South Carolina has historically supported and continues to support single-gender educational institutions as a matter of public policy based on legitimate state interests where sufficient demand has existed for particular single-gender programs thereby justifying the expenditure of public funds to support such programs; and

Whereas, presently in South Carolina single-gender educational opportunities exist for men at The Citadel, but do not exist for women in all areas; and

Whereas, the members of the General Assembly, by this resolution, express their belief that it is appropriate for this State to begin the process of providing single-gender educational opportunities for women. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the General Assembly for the reasons stipulated in this resolution hereby declares that the public policy objectives and the state interest of the State of South Carolina in establishing single-gender institutions of higher learning for the purpose of providing single-gender post-secondary education opportunities to its citizens are as contained in this resolution.

Be it further resolved that a committee of ten members is created to assist the State of South Carolina in carrying out its responsibilities of providing single-gender educational opportunities for women, and the committee shall formulate recommendations for the General Assembly to consider in exploring alternatives for the provision of single-gender educational opportunities for women.

Five members of the committee shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and five members of the committee shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The members of the committee shall meet as soon as practicable after appointment and shall organize, elect officers, and adopt rules to govern the proceedings of the committee.

The committee shall submit its report to the General Assembly at the beginning of its 1994 session at which time the committee shall be dissolved. During its deliberations, the committee shall be staffed by such personnel as provided and assigned by the Speaker of the House from House staff and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate from Senate staff.