Citadel looks at hair length

Starting next year, female Citadel cadets will be allowed to grow their hair as long as they like, though they will have to pin it up.

ALAN HAWES

It's unlikely female cadets at The Citadel will ever be allowed loose, flowing locks.

But women enrolled at the state's military college will be able to grow their hair as long as they like next year, provided it's securely fastened in a bun that doesn't drop below the bottom of their dress uniform collar. That's if the school's Board of Visitors approves the change at its June 14 meeting.

"But they have to put it up in a bun, no ifs, ands or buts," Greg Stone, the school's commandant of cadets told the board's Customs, Regulations and Cadet Liaison Committee.

The committee approved the change at a meeting Thursday. Col. Joseph Trez, the school's chief of staff, said cadet leaders and faculty members approached Lt. Gen. John Rosa, the school's president, about the change. Rosa, in turn, has recommended that the board change the regulation.

Now, female cadets who are sophomores, juniors or seniors can't have their hair any longer than the top of their dress uniform collars.

Trez said when women were first permitted to enroll at The Citadel, school leaders decided they should have "a distinct cut."

But the new regulations are more in line with those set by the U.S. Department of Defense, he said. They are also similar to the hair regulations for women at the Virginia Military Institute, another state-run military school.

Citadel provost Sam Hines said the new female hair regulations are "important in terms of our ability to recruit women into the Corps of Cadets." Hines also said the change could be appealing to potential women faculty members and might prove helpful in recruiting female faculty.

"I'm not in favor of it, but I know I'm in the minority," Board of Visitors member Col. Fred Price said of the change.

Maj. Gen. Arthur Baiden said "the Corps of Cadets has bought into it." If cadets support it, the change will be a lot easier to put in place, he said.

Women cadets will have even more hair freedom when they are wearing work-out, and athletic uniforms. Braids and pony tails will be allowed, Trez said.

"But no free-hanging hair" will be permitted, Baiden said.

Hair regulations won't change for first-year female cadets, who can have hair no longer than 3 inches.