Expand access to day classes at The Citadel
Sunday’s story that the president of The Citadel plans to implement procedures to reduce hazing was not news. There is nothing here, for example, that was not recommended in the 1980 Mood Report. Except this time the promise is for “cultural” change. Yet an essential requirement for cultural change, admission of non-cadets into the Day Program from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., is not addressed.
The Board of Visitors, the president and the alumni know that cultural change can only come to The Citadel when the people who own it, the citizens of South Carolina, become a more integral part of the college.
Cultural change will come only from the admission of non-cadets into the Day Program to sit side by side with cadets. This is already being done with the re-opening of the Veterans Day Program in 2010. As it stands now, non-cadets who are not veterans can attend classes only after 5 p.m., when course offerings are limited.
With the stroke of a pen the Board of Visitors could do what Clemson, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and North Georgia did years ago, and that was, first, to admit women into their Corps of Cadets and, second, to admit non-cadets into day-time classes. Integrity of the Corps remains in each of these institutions.
The Citadel could do that next fall, at least for STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and math). As a start, that would mean The Citadel could begin to educate some of the approximately 8,000 home-bound students in the Lowcountry (according to Clemson) who want to be engineers but who cannot attend evening classes or travel to the University of South Carolina or Clemson, the only other places in the state outside The Citadel that offer engineering degrees.
This two-step process is the best way to stop hazing and the only way for The Citadel to address a much larger problem, one shared by all South Carolinians, which is the need to educate professionals in STEM courses in the Lowcountry to meet global economic challenges so clearly represented by Boeing’s arrival in 2010. Culture is changed through broader educational opportunities, not more rules about hazing.
Finally, there appears to be plenty of room for non-cadets to take STEM courses at The Citadel. Most cadets (52 percent) are from out-of- state and most cadets (33 percent) major in business. Relatively few major in STEM courses.
At the last Citadel graduation I attended, there was one math major — and he was from Taiwan. One more thing: the number of women in the Corps who take STEM courses is proportionally higher than the number of men in the Corps who take STEM courses.
Robert R. Black