Will the Citadel break 175-year strict uniform rules to accommodate Muslim request?
The 175-year-old military college in South Carolina has NEVER made an exception to their uniform policy – for religious reasons or otherwise. Now, one student has recently requested that she be allowed to wear the hijab, as required by her Muslim faith, and the Citadel is considering the request.
The word is spreading on social media, and fellow students, alumni and others have had plenty to say. The fact that the very first exception to the uniform rules might be allowed for a Muslim student stings for many.
One cadet, Nick Pinelli, who will graduate in May, wrote his objections on facebook:
It’s no secret that you can’t wear what you want when you’re at the Citadel. You’re punished even for wearing what you want when you’re not on campus. But, those who come here are signing up for that, no matter how much they hate it (we do). So it’s not unfair to those people who want to join an organization with the intentions of excluding themselves from the regulations, it’s unfair to those who practice within the realms of those regulations. It’s unfair to the school having to change rules and adjust to the individual, when the individual could’ve gone to USC without incident. Your expression of self shouldn’t place a burden of cost on others. It’s not equality to let one of those groups follow a different set of rules.
Another cadet responded:
It is a blatant disrespect to what a military school stands for. We come here and willingly give up our individuality and become a part of a group that upholds the time honored traditions of this school. So for anyone to come, not even walk through our hallowed gates, and force the school to go to extreme lengths both financially and resourcefully, to accommodate one person, isn’t right. I can’t wear a tshirt around campus that says “I love Jesus”. Why? It’s not because of religious intolerance, it’s because it does not meet uniform requirements that all 2400 of us are held to. Am I offended that I can’t wear a religious tshirt? Nope. Why? Because I accepted the system that I have become a part of, and I’m willing to let it change me and join a long line of men and women who I will be honored to call my brothers and sisters.
UPDATE ON THIS STORY: Citadel Punishes Cadet with 33 Hours of Marching For Leaking Hijab Story
UPDATE 05/10/16: Citadel Says NO EXCEPTIONS To Uniform Policy
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