Dress code

The Citadel rejects incoming student’s request to wear hijab

Incoming Citadel freshman known as knobs stand in formation as they read from the Guidon while waiting to be issued a uniform at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

An incoming student will not be allowed to wear a hijab, school officials at the Citadel announced on Tuesday. The female Muslim student who is expected to begin attending the famed South Carolina military college later this year had logged a request with the school to be granted permission to wear a hijab, the traditional — and increasingly controversial — headscarf worn by many Muslim women in the U.S. and around the world. Granting such a request would have amounted to a landmark shift as the Citadel is known for its strict uniform dress code that a spokesperson for the school said has never been altered in its nearly 175-year history.

Lt. Gen. John Rosa, the school’s president, said he hoped the decision wouldn’t discourage the prospective student, who has not been identified, from attending the school as planned. He explained the thinking behind the decision primarily as a matter of adhering to a tradition of rigid uniform guidelines. “As the Military College of South Carolina, the Citadel has relied upon a highly effective educational model requiring all cadets to adopt a common uniform,” Rosa said in a statement. “Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model.”

The request by the prospective student — and the fact that the school was considering — became an issue last month when a cadet at the school, Nick Pinelli, wrote a post on Facebook lashing out at the possibility of the Citadel granting such an exception. “Equality means the same set of rules for everyone, not different rules for different people,” Pinelli wrote. “It means accepting everyone, and giving them the same tools to succeed as the rest.” On Tuesday, Pinelli lauded what he described as a “thoughtful decision” by the school’s leadership in a post on Facebook.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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