Virginia College Students Fight State’s Attorney General

Virginia’s public university students are angry with state’s attorney general over gay rights.


Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has a fight on his hands, and it's one he had to know was coming. The recently elected Cuccinelli wants Virginia public universities to abandon policies designed to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It's a controversial stance, and students are fighting back. 

College students at Virginia's public universities are furious with Cuccinelli, the Washington Post reports. Even with many schools on spring break this week, thousands of students—from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary to Virginia Commonwealth University and Christopher Newport University—have started Facebook groups and planned rallies against Cuccinelli's requests. 

"I've never gotten so many E-mails from students wanting to do something," Brandon Carroll, president of the student government at Virginia Tech, tells the Post. Any erosion in gay rights at state universities is "going to make us lose top students. It's going to make us lose top faculty." 

Cuccinelli asked the state's public universities to pull sexual orientation from their policies because such language required approval by the state's General Assembly. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he agrees with the legal reasoning behind Cuccinelli's request, the Post report says. 

"There's a long list of opinions. It's all separation-of-powers issues," McDonnell tells the Post. "But that doesn't mean that a governor can't say to his managers, 'I will not tolerate discrimination in this administration.' " 

  • Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.