The Citadel military college announced that it has denied a request from a newly accepted Muslim student to wear a hijab in a religious exception from the required uniform, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The student does not plan to attend the storied public college in South Carolina as a result, her father told the Post. The report didn’t identify the student or her father.
The century-and-a-half-old institution holds that it has never made an exception to its uniform regulations and that dressing students identically is key to instilling patriotism and teamwork in its recruits.
In a statement sent to the Post, Citadel president Lt. General John Rosa said the school came to the decision after prolonged consideration and he hoped the student would still enroll in the fall.
“Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model,” Rosa wrote. “The standardization of cadets in apparel, overall appearance, actions and privileges is essential to the learning goals and objectives of the college. This process reflects an initial relinquishing of self during which cadets learn the value of teamwork to function as a single unit.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told the Post that he spoke with the student’s family on Tuesday. The student cried when she learned the news, according to Hooper.
“She told the commandant it wasn’t fair that she has to choose between practicing her faith and going to the Citadel,” Hooper said, as quoted by the newspaper.
Hooper told the Post that CAIR is considering “all options” in terms of pursuing legal action against the college.