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South Carolina’s military college, The Citadel, is considering a uniform exception request from a Muslim student.
In its near 175-year history, the school has never granted a change to its uniform policy, the Washington Post reported. But that could change if the public college decides to make an unprecedented exception for a Muslim student who has requested she be allowed to wear a hijab due to her Islamic faith.
All cadets at the military school are expected to follow the inveterate uniform requirements which stipulate wearing the dress code almost all the time.
Social media reactions were strong as students and alumni grappled with the idea of an exception being made for one person at an institution where individual needs take a back seat. The fact that tradition might be altered for a Muslim student was not lost on some, however, many were more concerned about the loss of values at an institution where discipline and consistency are high standards.
“The Citadel should be able to tell the prospective student to wear what they tell her to wear,” wrote cadet Nick Pinelli on Facebook, according to the Post. “Not because they are concerned with the religion she is trying to practice or the speech expressed by doing so, but because they are concerned with the execution of an essential part of the system the Citadel puts in place.”
“This girl should be welcomed to the Corps with open arms, as should any person of any religion, race, gender, or identity. That’s equality. It’s not equality to let one of those groups follow a different set of rules,” wrote Pinelli, who is an intern for the Trump campaign.
Another cadet’s response was anger at the idea of the school making changes to its policies and traditions, calling it a “blatant disrespect to what a military school stands for.”
“I can’t wear a tshirt around campus that says ‘I love Jesus’. Why? It’s not because of religious intolerance, it’s because it does not meet uniform requirements that all 2400 of us are held to,” the cadet wrote, according to the Post.
“Am I offended that I can’t wear a religious tshirt? Nope. Why? Because I accepted the system that I have become a part of, and I’m willing to let it change me and join a long line of men and women who I will be honored to call my brothers and sisters.”
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