Declan Rexer (DS'19) enjoying views above still-watered pasture land
Declan Rexer (DS'19) enjoying views above still-watered pasture land
Declan Rexer (DS'19) enjoying views above still-watered pasture land (Photo: Tashroom Ahsan)

This Elite Cowboy College Finally Let Women In. But Don’t Say It’s Changing.

For decades, Deep Springs College in California resisted the push to go coed. But even though women are now allowed to attend, it still holds on to the past.

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At the end of an April week that promises the return of summer, Connie Jiang is trying to loosen a hydraulic filter from the underside of a giant red tractor while contemplating her future. Shaded from the high-noon sun and visible only from the waist down, Jiang jabs the blunt end of her wrench against the filter’s stubborn metal casing. A clang rings out against the tinny twang of the country classic “Something to Brag About,” which spills out of the whitewashed mechanic’s shop currently serving as Jiang’s classroom.

“Investigative journalism is always something I’ve really admired,” she says, giving the casing another smack. “If you have a government or some organization that’s, like, trying to hide something, for that to be brought out is important.” The casing finally gives and falls from the tangle of steel above into her oil-stained lap. “I’m kind of running into the same issue that I had in high school,” she says, half-heartedly wiping her hands on her Carhartts. “Everything is just so interesting.”

Jiang is a student at Deep Springs College, an experimental school in a remote California high-desert valley where “everything” does seem to mean almost everything. Since 1917, the two-year institution has taught students using a mix of cowboy grit and high intellectualism, a cocktail meant to prepare the world’s future leaders for a life of service to humanity. Twenty-six students at a time isolate themselves on campus, which doubles as a working cattle ranch. On top of a load of two or three seminars taught by a rotating slate of professors, students govern themselves and take on 20 hours of labor a week—either the hard, physical work required for life on a ranch or the paper-pushing needed to run a school. In addition to shoeing horses, branding cattle, irrigating crops, and milking cows, students choose the curriculum, hire faculty, and select the next class of Deep Springers. Drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed, and there’s spotty internet and little contact with the outside world. For the students who end up here, that’s the appeal.

“Isolation is great for self-reflection,” says Jiang, who came to Deep Springs after being disgusted by the cutthroat get-to-the-Ivy-League environment at her Philadelphia high school. “There were cheating rings and people went insane over this stuff. If you’re cramming Quizlet, that’s not learning, in my opinion, even if you get an A-plus.”

Despite its relative obscurity, Deep Springs is one of the most prestigious and selective institutions of higher education in the country. Students here have an average SAT score of 1500 and compete in a pool of 200 to 300 applicants for 13 spots a year. Graduates routinely transfer to schools like Cornell, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Alumni have gone on to become prominent politicians, diplomats, journalists, mathematicians, and neurologists, and have been awarded MacArthur Genius Grants, Pulitzer Prizes, and Truman and Rhodes Scholarships.

The fact that Jiang is here, working under a tractor, stands out for one obvious reason: she’s a woman. Until 2018, Deep Springs admitted only “promising young men.” It took 100 years, decades of debate, and a five-year legal battle before women finally broke down the institution’s gates and let the modern world roll in. Now the question is, how much of this modern world will Deep Springs tolerate?

Connie Jiang riding in the farm truck in 2021, holding an irrigation hose
Connie Jiang riding in the farm truck in 2021, holding an irrigation hose (Tashroom Ahsan)
Sam Clark hanging around by Cow Camp
Sam Clark hanging around by Cow Camp (Tashroom Ahsan)

From a distance, Deep Springs glints in its valley like a penny in the sand—worn and barely noticeable, a small inconsistency in a wash of nothing. The school sits just west of the California-Nevada border, off a narrow, sometimes one-lane road that winds through coffee-colored mountains and strings together the two nearest points of civilization: frontier town Big Pine, California, and Lida Junction, Nevada, where the last inhabitants lived in a brothel that shut its doors 17 years ago. Each is an hour away by car.

An old, broken-down Army truck adorns the entrance to the school’s long, tree-lined driveway, which opens to the small heart of campus. A cluster of low, dusty buildings are tucked into a collection of cottonwoods and arranged around a central lawn known as the Circle. The eaves of most buildings are decorated with sun-bleached cow skulls, and doors swing beneath rusty horseshoes, hung for either looks or luck. Most indoor life happens in the Main Building, which houses the school’s classrooms, offices, and library. The old Boarding House was torn down last year, forcing students to take meals in their dorm rooms or eat outside. Most choose the latter, which, up until the week of my visit, meant eating in the snow. Over a student-prepared lunch of chicken congee, a first-year told me that during a meal a few weeks before, the cook put a bowl of whipped cream on the ground outside to keep it cold in the snow. “Everyone was like, Oh, is there cinnamon in this whipped cream? This is delicious. It was just dirt being blown into the bowl.”

Most Deep Springers give off a vibe that suggests they were the captain of their high school’s debate team, a model U.N. power delegate, the student-body president, or maybe all three. But ranch life is quick to scuff the polish. In a morning seminar on the 16th- century Chinese novel Journey to the West, four of the classroom’s five students had on muddy work boots, and three wore plaid work shirts. A first-year with ruddy cheeks sipped coffee from a chipped diner-style mug and chewed on his purpled fingernail. Most students had just come from their early-morning horsemanship class, and the conversation slipped seamlessly from talk of their steeds to talk of freedom and self-sufficiency—eternal topics at Deep Springs. “The language of the bodhisattva is, ‘In the event of extreme difficulty, I myself will come to rescue you,’” one student says to the class, running his hands through his shoulder-length black hair. “And so it seems like part of that is coming to learn, What is difficulty that one should persevere on one’s own? And what is difficulty that is worth calling upon the adults in the room to step in and make everything go away?”

A group of students hiking in a marble canyon in the valley
A group of students hiking in a marble canyon in the valley (Tashroom Ahsan)
Milo Vela and Julien Ricou inspecting a tarantula
Milo Vela and Julien Ricou inspecting a tarantula (Tashroom Ahsan)

Deep Springs was built to teach young men to persevere. It was founded by Lucien Lucius Nunn—known to everyone as L.L. Nunn—an electricity magnate who made his fortune in the late 1800s by opening mines and power plants across the American west. By the early 1900s, the five-foot-tall, 100-pound entrepreneur had grown disillusioned with the times. He saw the spirit of the age as “commercial and materialistic” and the masses as “dull-witted, sluggish, incapable.”

Nunn blamed American education, which taught, in his opinion, an impious individualism rather than what was really important: a spirit of service to humanity. Nunn devoted the rest of his life to creating a new educational model, one that stressed leadership skills like self-sufficiency and critical thinking, as well as a commitment to hard physical labor. In 1917, he realized his vision when he bought an isolated ranch in the California desert. He recruited 20 students, gave them the tools to build a school from the ground up, and told them that if they needed any guidance, they should simply tilt an ear and let “the voice of the desert” tell them what to do.

For decades, students came to Deep Springs to get a unique education without any disturbances. But in the middle of the last century, women started pressing to get in: almost every year, at least one application from a defiant female would arrive in the school’s mailbox, petitioning for a chance. In 1985, one mother wrote a formal letter advocating for her daughter’s admission.

“Historically, women, not men, have been excluded from routes of access to power and prestige and institutions of academic excellence in particular,” she wrote. “Far fewer women than men have been in the position of L.L. Nunn to set up a self-supporting college in a privately controlled California valley. Indeed, it is unimaginable that comparable resources should be given to a college with a student body of 25 women.” In 1993, one woman sent a postcard decorated with the word “Evolve” and a note stating her intention to apply.

In 2006, 18-year-old Laura Marcus called Deep Springs to plead her case personally. The student applications officer told her what every woman before had heard: Deep Springs does not admit women. “At that point, I don’t think I had encountered a lot of hard and fast sexism in my life,” says Marcus, who now runs Tidelines Institute, a coed summer program in Alaska based on Nunn’s principles. “The idea that I would be deprived of an opportunity because I was a woman was shocking.”

Lucia Pizarro and Amin Stambuli chatting on the front porch of the dorm
Lucia Pizarro and Amin Stambuli chatting on the front porch of the dorm (Tashroom Ahsan)

At the time Marcus made her call, the debate about going coed had been raging at Deep Springs for decades, with little progress. When Nunn created the school in 1917, single-sex schools were still common. But over time, as men’s schools changed or shuttered in the face of growing gender equality, Deep Springs became a rare vestige of a bygone time.

The school wasn’t just all-male; it was masculine, in the most clichéd sense of the word. David Neidorf, a former Deep Springs president, recalls somewhat dismissively that it became known as a strange enclave full of “cool cowboys who read Nietzsche on the fence post.” For the most part, the image was accurate. By embracing the seemingly disparate traits—the sensitive poet and the rough rancher—Deep Springs grew into a place where men could explore being men. “The setting of the school within a rugged, natural landscape and a culturally hyper-male agricultural setting—the ranching world—intensifies the opportunity for male students at Deep Springs to exercise the tropes of masculinity,” says alumnus Kevin West, who started at Deep Springs in 1988.

This became a defining feature for many students. Self-governance, intellectual acuity, service to humanity—sure. But the opportunity to explore manhood and male camaraderie was what made Deep Springs life-changing. And protecting that was everything. “These trial attempts to be one kind of man or another kind of man at Deep Springs need the safety and sanctity of an all-male environment,” an alumnus told The New Yorker in 2006, voicing a popular opinion among former students.

In 1979, Deep Springs commissioned the first formal study to weigh whether coeducation would improve or harm the place. The debate ping-ponged for another 30 years before change arrived in September 2011, when Neidorf brought the issue before the board for a vote and it passed, 10-2. By the following spring, the student-led applications committee had chosen the first coed class in the school’s history.

By that time, most of Deep Springs’s small alumni pool had come around to the idea. Outside the valley, traditional notions of gender were being questioned. The binary was breaking, and Deep Springers who originally opposed admitting women had to confront an existential question: What’s more important, providing a space for 26 young men to freely test the limits of their gender roles, or creating a new space that recognizes the importance of serving everyone?

Rory O'Hollaren grinning outside her summer home, the Cow Camp cabin in the White Mountains
Rory O'Hollaren grinning outside her summer home, the Cow Camp cabin in the White Mountains (Sue Darlington)
Carmen Simons (left) enjoying a meal with her Term 1 Garden Crew in 2020
Carmen Simons (left) enjoying a meal with her Term 1 Garden Crew in 2020 (Tashroom Ahsan)

Brad Edmondson, who entered Deep Springs in 1976, told me his mind was changed in 2007, when his daughter was applying to college and wanted to go to Deep Springs. “She said, ‘Well, why can’t I go there?’ And I didn’t have a good answer. By that time, there just was no good response,” he said. “Part of it was that society had changed, but part of it was that I had changed.”

West altered his perspective after fellow alumnus James Gibbs probed him with questions. “‘If you are arguing for a single-sex school, how do we factor trans students into this?’” West recalls Gibbs asking. “‘Who’s allowed? Would a single-sex school in this scenario mean that we would allow anyone except for a student who was assigned female identity at birth? And who affirms that female identity?’” After that conversation, West became “a wholehearted supporter” of a coed Deep Springs.

In 2012, the two board members who’d voted against coeducation sued to block the change, arguing that the board was not allowed to alter Nunn’s Deed of Trust, which, under their interpretation, stipulated that the school could admit only “promising young men.” A California judge granted an injunction in January 2013, forcing the school to rescind the acceptance letters that had landed in women’s mailboxes.

Over the next four years, the fight over why women should or shouldn’t be allowed made its way through the state courts. Kinch Hoekstra, one of the board members who filed the suit, told me that his personal argument wasn’t against coeducation but strongly for any kind of single-sex institution. But many saw the lawsuit as the last gasp of the old guard against a changed world. In June 2017, the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case, ending the years-long legal battle. That weekend, Neidorf announced the news to more than a hundred alumni, who had gathered at the ranch for the school’s centennial celebration. Relief rippled through the valley, tinged perhaps with a discreet wisp of trepidation. In one year, the first class of women would finally come to Deep Springs.

Declan Rexer adjusting an irrigation line
Declan Rexer adjusting an irrigation line (Tashroom Ahsan)

In the late afternoon during my April visit, first-year student Carmen Simons takes me on a walk along a fawn-colored road cut between Deep Springs’s lush lower pastures. To our left, two silhouettes move an unwieldy irrigation system across a crop of knee-high alfalfa. In front of us, a pair of hills flank the back edge of campus like a fortress’s gateposts.

Walking is something of a tradition at Deep Springs. With nowhere to go beyond the small cluster of the Circle, students go out—on a hike to the rock formation known as the Druid, a wander to one of the two reservoirs on the edge of campus, or just a slow stroll down dirt roads like this one. Students walk to escape, but also to contemplate. And today, Simons has change on the brain.

Simons grew up in Brooklyn and went to high school at the experimental and selective NYC iSchool, a brick block in Manhattan’s SoHo district. Before her senior year, she spent five weeks at the Outer Coast Summer Seminar in Sitka, Alaska, a program inspired by Nunn’s educational pillars that substitutes community service for Deep Springs’s manual labor. The experience set Simons’s eyes on Deep Springs, a decision sealed by the “profound sadness” she felt when visiting other college campuses. “I could basically repeat the scripts,” she says. “They weren’t demonstrating to me a lot of different approaches to the idea of a liberal arts education and the idea of what an education should do. Which contrasted super-strongly against education for a life of service to humanity, explicitly spelled out.”

Simons was admitted as part of Deep Springs’s third coed class, and she became the first trans woman to attend the college. In many ways, the school has lived up to her hope that it would be a place where things are done a little differently. She spends her time in the kitchen as one of the school’s cooks, has done deep dives into topics like the political ecology of agricultural systems and Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, and expects to complete training to become the school’s first student astronomer just when students complete the observatory tower at the back edge of campus. “It’s a hugely customizable experience,” she says as we approach the dairy barn, one of the school’s few remaining original structures. “Where you put your energy, or what things you like to think about, is in a lot of ways up to you—within the bounds of what is expected of you to do.”

Those expectations are steep—labor, self-governance, rigorous academics—and sometimes limiting. Deep Springers are largely barred from doing anything that isn’t directly focused on their small community. For the upcoming semester, Simons hoped to create an independent study course focused on the indigenous agriculture of the area, which would involve collaborating with the local Paiute Food Sovereignty Program. But that would mean working outside the valley, a “no-no in the founding documents of the school,” according to Simons. Students can’t leave and visitors can’t come in, a setup that can make things seem insular. “You kind of feel like America is another world out there,” says first-year Yinuo Ding, who came to Deep Springs from Singapore. “We always say this thing, ‘outside of the valley,’ as if it’s not our business anymore…. I feel like we are kind of socially disengaged or, in some ways, disinterested.”

This is by design, of course. But these days, people associated with the school wonder if it’s time to let go of some of the old ways and push Deep Springs more firmly into the modern age. “Certain ideas are very traditionalist. And unless somebody is trying to interrogate them, I think we fail to interrogate them as a part of normal life,” Simons says.

Drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed, and there’s spotty internet and little contact with the outside world. For the students who end up here, that’s the appeal.

Deep Springers have always been suspicious of change. In the 1930s, when mechanical tractors became available, students argued that men couldn’t possibly learn the lesson of hard work without plowing the fields by hand. In the eighties, the school still had a hand-cranked telephone, and there was widespread mourning when it was finally replaced. These days, vehicles on campus are still dated and dinged, with torn seat covers and wires spilling out from beneath the dash, and the farm team uses a minimal amount of modern machinery. Most students have killed their social media accounts, and some even refuse to call home—they prefer the more pious practice of handwritten letters. The campus has internet, but the debate over where—and even if—it should be permitted has raged for years. First-years are now initiated with a no-internet first semester, which second-year Ziani Paiz says is “kind of a new tradition.”

But this aesthetic and ideological commitment to tradition has shown up in less benign ways. Between 2006 to 2021, 51 percent of all enrolled students have been white. At the same time, Deep Springs sits on what used to be Paiute land, a fact that’s becoming harder to ignore. In 2020, the Board of Trustees released the school’s first land acknowledgment and diversity statement, saying that overcoming the school’s legacy of exclusion will require a lot more work. The statement doesn’t outline what the work might look like.

But now that the 100-year all-male policy has fallen, Simons and other less traditional students are left wondering: Shouldn’t we push for more? “Everything that’s going on here can make it kind of hard to sit back and look at what we’re doing from a meta-perspective,” she says as we walk, the wind moving her wavy, waist-length hair. “To direct more energy towards, like, how we can grow this place beyond what it is right now to what it could be?”

After we pass the dairy, Simons and I cut across campus toward the lower reservoir, nestled in the pastures on the other side of the school. To get there, we shimmy between the dorms and the chain-link fence wrapped around the Boarding House construction site. In Nunn’s time, and long after, the students would have rebuilt the new structure themselves. These days, a crew comes in every weekday from Bishop. No one seems to mind.

Left to right: Milo Vela, Nathan Becker, Kerinna Good, and Francesca Reilly in Summer Seminar
Left to right: Milo Vela, Nathan Becker, Kerinna Good, and Francesca Reilly in Summer Seminar (Tashroom Ahsan)
Alice Owen reading in the Main Building
Alice Owen reading in the Main Building (Tashroom Ahsan)

Two years after Deep Springs went coed, the school hired its first female president, Sue Darlington, who took the reins in August 2020. Now only a handful of staff and faculty members bridge the gap between the Deep Springs of before and after. The school’s long all-male tradition has already become an institutional memory.

When I first got curious about Deep Springs, this all seemed pretty monumental. In just a handful of years, I thought, everything changed. But when I found myself inside the small community, “change” felt like a four-letter word. “The essence of Deep Springs did not change at all,” Darlington says, somewhat defensively. “And the things that really mattered at the heart of the college’s mission have not changed at all. I resist saying that going coed would make any kind of a huge change.”

Point taken. But the fact remains that the school went through a five-year legal battle that followed five decades of angst about change. When the school went coed, the whole point was to let the past go. Wouldn’t some ideological and structural shifts be welcome? ​​“Nothing except for women has changed, nothing about how the college is running itself,” Simons says. “The only institutional change is the fact that women are now admitted.”

In an interview before my visit, Simons told me that the school sometimes felt like an all-male space that women had been allowed into, as if women “are intruding upon something that’s considered a little bit sacred.” Last year, the school obtained a collection of feminist literature, and Simons says some students felt it was “semi-disrespectful or unnecessary” to place it in the room in the main library that houses Nunn’s personal collection of books.

But Simons was the only student I spoke to who said that coming to Deep Springs as a woman was anything other than completely positive. “I didn’t feel any animosity, except probably from myself,” says Rory O’Hollaren, who was part of Deep Springs’s inaugural coed class in 2018. “Our second-years were all men. And they held us to the same standards that they have held first-years at Deep Springs in the past, which are really high.” Jiang told me that “within the student body, the sort of macho labor spirit or culture doesn’t really exist. Oftentimes the women are better or equally good at labor.” And Paiz says that “all of the alums, when they come to visit, are like, Yep, hasn’t changed at all,” she says. “They were like, We can’t even tell the difference. We can’t even see which ones are women. All you guys have short hair.”

Horses Lefty, Mick, Starbuck, and Tex grazing on the mountain between workdays
Horses Lefty, Mick, Starbuck, and Tex grazing on the mountain between workdays (Tashroom Ahsan)

Neidorf, who led the school through the coed transition, says that when the first class of women came to Deep Springs, the imbalance of power in favor of the men was tangible. They led the committees and student-body meetings, and the long-standing custom of first-years learning the ropes from second-years meant that old traditions were passed down—for better or worse. “That first cohort of women felt like they couldn’t blink because they felt the responsibility of being the first wave,” he says. “You could tell them a million times they didn’t need to feel this way, but they still did.”

When Deep Springs went coed, the student body voted to place a two-year moratorium on all media, in an attempt to keep the first class of women from feeling watched. I was the first journalist allowed in after the moratorium lifted, but that happened only after months of back-and-forth and the establishment of ground rules. My time on campus was strictly controlled—I was allowed in only from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and I couldn’t deviate from a set itinerary. Most students ignored my presence completely.

After I’d done some phone reporting prior to my visit, the student communications director sent me an email saying that some students felt “uneasy” about my asking if being a woman at a historically all-male school was ever challenging. He reminded me that the student body views coeducation “as a natural evolution of Deep Springs, a continuation of shared human experience, rather than a stark break or revolution.”

The student body still allowed me to come, but it wasn’t always amicable. One student I’d spoken to at length on Zoom averted her eyes both times I saw her in person. She was the same student who warned me that Deep Springers don’t like visitors. “We’re terrified of strangers,” she said. “We’re just weird.”

Nathan Becker enjoying some cream of mushroom soup on a backpacking trip up Wyman Creek
Nathan Becker enjoying some cream of mushroom soup on a backpacking trip up Wyman Creek (Tashroom Ahsan)
Amelia Ding, Chen Li, and Rosemary Kelly pondering during a student-body meeting
Amelia Ding, Chen Li, and Rosemary Kelly pondering during a student-body meeting (Tashroom Ahsan)

During my visit, I join four students in the garden to plant purple potatoes. The conversation rolls from theories of irrigation to their first brushes with Deep Springs–style labor to Nunn’s mystical voice of the desert. “I can definitely feel it being here,” says first-year Lucia Pizarro as she pulls weeds from a long row of soil. I ask what that voice means to her and, after a pause, she says, “I’m more comfortable in silence since starting here. It’s grown my thoughtfulness, more thinking before I speak.”

When I ask the rest of the garden crew what the voice means to them, I’m met with silence that would feel awkward in the outside world but is normal here. “I think it has something to do with accountability insofar as being a Deep Springer,” second-year Sam Clark finally replies, tossing a clump of weeds over his shoulder. “The desert is a place, in some sense, of isolation. And being isolated in terms of the broader world…allows one to participate in a way that is not just performative but rather sort of integral to the function of the community.”

When Nunn chose Deep Springs’s remote location, that was his intention—to create an environment that would force his students to serve their small community. That, in turn, would teach them to serve all of humanity, even humbly. “[Nunn] talks about political leaders and big, obvious ways that you can live a life of service,” says O’Hollaren. “But he also talks about this characterization of the noble blacksmith, someone that, whatever job they’re doing, just knows how to do it really well and who makes what they’re doing a service to others.”

Deep Springers throughout the years have embraced this more conceptual sense of service, each giving it an individual personal meaning. At the same time, though, Deep Springers are constantly debating what it means to be of service—and questioning whether they’re practicing what they preach. As the world outside the valley grows more volatile, some students are starting to get self-conscious about their lives here. If they’re removed from society, can they really be serving it? “It’s impossible to go to Deep Springs and not constantly be confronted with that question,” O’Hollaren says.

Back in the garden, I ask the students what a life of service means to them.

“One in which you’re always questioning what it means to live a life of service,” Pizarro says.

“That’s too philosophical,” Clark replies. “Thought and action aren’t two separate spheres.”

“Sam lives a life of the mind,” second-year Nathan Becker quips.

“They’re not different to me,” Clark says. “It’s really easy to think thought can’t be action, but thought is a prerequisite to action. You can’t act before you think.”

Purple potatoes in hand, Clark turns to me with a serious look on his face. “Are you living a life of service?” he asks.

Without really thinking, I say no.

He furrows his brow. “Then wha—.” After a pause, he says, “Then what are you doing?”

I fumble and backtrack. I had forgotten about the noble blacksmith, about the idea that doing something well, no matter what it is, could push the mundane to the virtuous. I hadn’t read enough Nunn, hadn’t been steeped in this debate long enough.

“I’m trying to figure it all out, you know?” I finally manage. I add that I believe serious journalism can be an act of service.

“Well,” he says, “just make us look good.”

Neidorf announced the news to more than a hundred alumni, who had gathered at the ranch for the school’s centennial celebration. Relief rippled through the valley, tinged perhaps with a discreet wisp of trepidation. In one year, the first class of women would finally come to Deep Springs.

It’s late afternoon when Simons and I finally reach the reservoir. Beyond the pastures, the mountains fold into the horizon like wrinkled silk, every crevice shaded purple-blue. The water appears in front of us, a pool so clear the bottom glows turquoise. Orange willow stems frame the reflection of the perfectly blue sky. I dip my hands in and wash off dirt from gardening.

In the summer, students come here to swim in the morning, after the cows have been milked and the fields irrigated, but before classes begin. When second-years bang the gavel on the final student-body meeting of their Deep Springs careers, they mark the occasion by jumping into the cold water and emerging clean and new.

Since the beginning, the boys of Deep Springs swam here naked. When the school went coed, students questioned whether the ritual should continue. In typical Deep Springs fashion, they brought a motion before themselves for a vote. The decision was unanimous: once again, tradition won.