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Formerly All-Male Vmi Loses 2nd Female Cadet

Tue., Aug. 26, 1997

The Virginia Military Institute lost its second female cadet Sunday evening, shortly after a picnic on the parade ground where freshmen met their parents for the first time since joining the Lexington school’s grueling Rat Line.

Amanda Harris, of Gettysburg, Pa., decided after talking to her parents Sunday afternoon that VMI’s military education was not for her, and she had left the campus by 8.30 p.m., sources said.

Messages left at the Harris home in Gettysburg went unreturned Monday.

Departing students are routinely asked to write a short statement explaining why they want to leave. Citing privacy laws, a VMI spokesman declined to say what Harris wrote.

A source said Harris left because she was uncomfortable with the rigors of the school and its Rat Line. Another source said that Harris had been unsure she wanted to stay since late last week and that school officials arranged for at least one other female cadet to speak to her Friday to give her a boost.

VMI’s first coeducational class in the school’s 158 years has lost two women and 23 men in the last week, including two men who left Sunday. The class now has 28 women and 407 men.


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