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College To Appeal Federal Order To Admit First Female Cadet

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The Citadel will appeal a federal district judge's order to admit Shannon R. Faulkner as the first female member of the South Carolina military college's corps of cadets.

The July 22 ruling by U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck of Charleston, S.C., left open the possibility that the 152-year-old institution would not be required to admit other women, provided the state establishes an alternative military-style leadership program by the fall of 1995.

But the judge said the Citadel must admit Ms. Faulkner to its corps of cadets immediately, ruling that barring her in the absence of an equivalent program for women violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Since the state had done nothing since Ms. Faulkner sued for admission to help develop an alternative program, Judge Houck said, he had no choice but to order her admission.

The state and the Citadel "do not have a single case to offer in support of their position that a lack of demand for single-sex education on the part of women justifies [their] providing such an education only for men,'' he said.

High Court Ruling Sought

Ms. Faulkner was admitted to the all-male Citadel after she left blank questions about her sex on application forms. The school withdrew its admission offer when it learned she was female, and Ms. Faulkner sued. She has been allowed to attend day classes but not to join the Citadel's corps of cadets.

Judge Houck has scheduled a hearing this week to consider the practical matters of Ms. Faulkner's admission, such as whether she will be required to shave her head, as male cadets do, or to live in a barracks with male cadets.

Citadel officials said they would appeal Judge Houck's order.

"An institution as venerable as ours should not be required to transform itself by being forced to become coeducational until after the United States Supreme Court has ruled'' on the issue, said Lieut. Gen. Claudius E. Watts 3rd, the institution's president.

The only other state-funded, all-male military college is the Virginia Military Institute, which has been sued by the U.S. Justice Department. Unlike the Citadel case, there is no female plaintiff suing to enter V.M.I.

A federal district judge has approved a V.M.I. plan to offer a military-style leadership program for women at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. The Justice Department has appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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