Assimilating women at The Citadel


Lt. Gen. John Rosa, president of The Citadel, said soon after stepping into the school’s top post in 2006 that the military college needed to better assimilate women.

Shannon Faulkner, the first woman to attend The Citadel, enrolled in 1995. She sued the school and was admitted under court order. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the all-male policy at the Virginia Military Institute, also a state-funded military college, was unconstitutional.

At the time, some students and alumni waged campaigns against coeducation, complete with T-shirts and bumper stickers saying “Save the Males” and “1,952 Bulldogs and One Bitch.”

After the court’s 1996 ruling, The Citadel’s board voted to open its doors to women. In the fall of 1996, four women enrolled.

The number of women has been growing slowly over the years. In the fall of 2011, the most recent data available from the state’s Commission on Higher Education, 218 undergraduate women were enrolled.

Allegations of hazing and gender discrimination have surfaced at the school on several occasions over the years. The school has said it is making a concerted effort to curb those problems.

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