The Citadel files proposal to begin accepting women

The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. The Citadel is ready to start processing applications from women who want to join its all-male corps of cadets, according to a plan filed in federal court yesterday.

The college would inform women who meet all other standards that they are eligible to enroll if the courts order women into the corps. Accepted applications would be kept on file until the legal question is resolved.

Women rejected for reasons other than their gender will be informed of those reasons, and the school will inform the Justice Department of its action on individual applications.

There are four female applications on file at The Citadel, spokeswoman Judith Fluck said. One is from Nancy Mellette, who has taken Shannon Faulkner's place in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the all-male corps. They have not been processed.

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck told the school last week to file the proposal and scheduled a hearing on it for tomorrow.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the cadet corps at both The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute, the country's only two all-male, state-supported military colleges, can keep their single-sex programs if comparable leadership programs are established for women.

Faulkner began the battle to open up The Citadel's corps to women when she deleted references to her sex from her high school transcripts and was accepted, then rejected when the school learned that she is female. She sued, was eventually admitted, then dropped out in August, after less than a week as a cadet.

Women seeking admission will be sent applications and letters saying The Citadel only accepts men but the policy is under court challenge, according to The Citadel's plan.

The letter will include addresses and telephone numbers for the court, the Justice Department, lawyers challenging the school's single-sex status, and the women's leadership program at Converse College. South Carolina is proposing the women's leadership program as an alternative to female cadets.

Houck has delayed the trial on whether the Converse program is an acceptable alternative until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on VMI. Arguments are set for next month.

There have been 240 inquiries since last summer from women asking for information about the college, Ms. Fluck said.

''We have no way of knowing whether they were inquiring for themselves or other people. It could have been mothers seeking applications for their sons,'' she said.

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