(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — South Carolina’s state military college in Charleston, a school accustomed to longstanding uniform requirements, is now considering an incoming freshman’s request to wear a traditional Muslim headscarf as part of her uniform.
“The college is reviewing the request at this time,” spokesman Col. Brett Ashworth said in a school statement.
The Citadel declined to release much information about the student, other than to note she is a freshman who has been accepted for the fall semester.
Citadel students are required to wear uniforms at nearly all times. All cadets receive a book of regulations called “The Blue Book” upon admission, and are required to abide by the rules, including that “proper wear of uniforms is expected of all cadets,” and that “cadets will wear authorized uniforms at all times when performing any duty.”
Citadel students aren’t even authorized to wear civilian clothes at any time during the academic year, but there are a few exceptions: if they are at the beach, or if they are upperclassman departing or returning from furlough.
For a Muslim woman to be allowed to wear a headscarf would make history for a school rooted in discipline and uniformity. “The Citadel will approve requests for accommodation of religious practices unless accommodation will have an adverse impact on a competing institutional interest,” according to the school’s religious accommodation policy.
Some people on social media reacted strongly to the request, saying the school shouldn’t make an exception for the Muslim student. That such an exception would be made for a Muslim woman is significant during a time of heated discussion surrounding the religion of Islam.
There are three Muslim students who currently attend the military college, Citadel spokeswoman Kim Keelor told ABC News.
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