Citadel Military College has denied a newly-accepted Muslim student’s request to wear a religious headscarf as part of her uniform. The college has denied the student’s request on the grounds that all students submit to “adopting a common uniform” while enrolled at the college.
Earlier this year American Military News reported on a student that was punished for leaking information stating that the college was considering the Muslim student’s request to include a hijab in the schools approved headwear. If the request was approved it would have been the only uniform alteration request ever approved in the school’s 175 year history.
The college is renowned for its ultra strict uniform regulations. Students are required to stay in uniform nearly 24 hours a day and are expected to follow the school’s 35-page booklet on military protocols.
School officials state that this is not a personal attack on the student or their beliefs. There are currently three Muslim students attending the school that adhere to the uniform and dress code. The school states that making an exception for this student would bring the school’s integrity into question.
The institution fears that the reputation the school has cultivated as being fiercely dedicated to discipline and tradition could be damaged by granting a uniform accommodation. The school views an individual sacrificing their personal appearance as a rite of passage and believe it shows dedication for the greater goals of the unit as a whole.
Citadel college has also released a statement saying they hope the student chooses to attend the school in the fall. The school is unwilling to make changes to its uniform but accommodates religious students in several other ways. They allot time for prayer to students that need to pray at specific times, they have created specific menu items to meet the needs of religious students and even provide a shuttle service to local synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship.
The family of the Muslim student that submitted the request to wear a hijab state that they are considering legal options following the school’s rejection. They feel that the student is being forced to choose between their faith or attending the school.
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