Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Citadel Refuses Religious Accommodation In Uniform Requirement

Washington Post reported yesterday on a controversial decision by The Citadel to refuse a religious accommodation to its strict student uniform requirement.  The South Carolina public military college will not allow a Muslim student who has been admitted to wear her hijab. According to the paper:
[T]he fact that [the school] was considering an exception ... set off shock waves among alumni. The idea pleased some in the close-knit corps, who felt it could be an important symbol of religious freedom and inclusiveness. But it upset others who felt it would clash with the mission and ideals of the Citadel, where loyalty, teamwork and uniformity are paramount.
At the Citadel, students are expected to leave behind their individuality ... and form opinions based on character rather than appearance. Allowing one student to wear something completely different struck many as antithetical to that mission. And some objected, as well, because exceptions have apparently not ever been made for other religions. Christian cadets have been told not to display crosses, for example.
That the exception was being considered at a time when the role of Islam in U.S. culture is so polarizing ...  made the issue particularly incendiary far beyond the Charleston, S.C., campus.