Fifty Female Cadets Report To The CitadelCHARLESTON, S.C.
This year 50 women were among those reporting to The Citadel last month. It is the largest class of freshmen women to enroll at the state military college.
The cadet corps of about 1,950 will have a total of about 125 women, or about 6 percent of the students. And school officials said the percentage is expected to increase in the coming years.
“My guess is that we could someday reach 10 percent or 15 percent,” says retired Maj. Gen. John Grinalds, the president of The Citadel.
The college has already surpassed the goal for admitting women it set following the contentious court fight over admitting women.
Shannon Faulkner sued in 1993 to attend The Citadel, which had an all-male cadet crops. Two years later, under a court order, she was admitted as the college’s first female cadet. She dropped out after less than a week, citing stress and isolation. But the next year, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the all-male policy at Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional, The Citadel began admitting women.
“Our first goal was 5 percent. That’s what we were aiming for,” Grinalds says. Surpassing that “is sort of a surprise but I think more and more women have become aware of the kind of education that The Citadel offers,” Grinalds says. He added that as more women move into executive positions, women see the value of the military college.
Grinalds said women make up between 15 percent and 20 percent of cadets at the federal military academies. In those cases, he said, students receive pay and a free education, although they also have to make a military commitment.
He added there is a limited pool of women interested in a military education and there are a number of other competing schools.
Given that, he said, it’s unlikely women would ever comprise more than 15 percent of The Citadel cadet corps.
“We have no limit or cap on the number of women,” says John Powell, the college’s director of admissions. The school graduated its first African American female cadets this past spring (see Black Issues, May 23).
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