First Woman Cadet Quits Citadel
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Shannon Faulkner, who won a 2 1/2-year legal battle to become the first female cadet at The Citadel, quit the military college Friday after less than a week, most of it spent in the infirmary.
``I don’t think there’s any dishonor in leaving,″ Ms. Faulkner said. ``I think there’s dis-justice in my staying and killing myself just for the political point.″
Just one week after two U.S. Supreme Court justices paved the way for her to join the all-male corps, her lawyer Suzanne Coe said Ms. Faulkner was overcome by nerves.
``It’s very hard for her,″ Ms. Coe said. ``She’s a 20-year-old girl and it’s hard to anticipate what happens next.″
Ms. Faulkner said she did not know what she would do next. ``I know my life is going to be miserable for a while,″ she said.
When news of Ms. Faulkner’s decision spread around campus, other cadets cheered and horns sounded.
The decision ended a week of speculation about Ms. Faulkner’s fitness that began on Monday when she was taken to the infirmary with heat exhaustion.
She spent most of her first week under a doctor’s treatment. She was taken to a hospital for tests on Thursday and cleared to return to duty Friday.
But she again missed activities Friday morning after infirmary staff said she was not ready.
Heat illnesses are not uncommon at the college. College officials said one cadet was taken on a stretcher from a physical fitness test Wednesday for treatment of heat stress. Two others were taken to the hospital Thursday for treatment.
Ms. Faulkner ``couldn’t keep anything down until last evening and I am told she was able to keep some toast down last night,″ said Citadel spokeswoman Judith Fluck.
Ms. Faulkner has been under continual stress since early 1993, when she launched her court fight after The Citadel withdrew its acceptance of her college application when officials realized she was a woman. References to her gender had been deleted from her high school transcripts.
She had received death threats and her Powdersville home was vandalized. Bumper stickers and T-shirts appeared with slogans ``Shave Shannon″ and ``Save The Males,″ during the fight.
Even last Saturday, her first day as cadet, she was largely left alone by the other first-year cadets.
She had been allowed to take classes at The Citadel before this week, but not take the military training.
The state of South Carolina wants to create a separate women’s leadership program at another college, but plans for that program have not been approved by the courts.
While two Supreme Court justices allowed Ms. Faulkner to enter the school this year, the larger question of whether separate but equal educational facilities for women are constitutional has not been resolved by the courts.