Originally created 04/01/97

Study: Citadel making effort to integrate



CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Citadel is making a good-faith effort to bring in women cadets and should not change its tough military training system because women are now enrolled, a consultant reported Monday.

"In the minds of many, the issue of women at The Citadel is identical to the issue of abusive practices at The Citadel," Robert McDannell wrote in a nine-page report filed with U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck.

Mr. McDannell said some people see changing the state military school's training system as the answer. He warned that would create resentment among male cadets and alumni.

"The backlash on the women and the administration would be terrific and may well destroy any chance women have of succeeding there," he wrote.

The Citadel dropped its all-male admissions policy after a protracted court fight.

{jump}Four women enrolled last summer, but two dropped out after a semester, saying they had been hazed and harassed, which included having their clothes set afire.

Judge Houck, who ruled The Citadel's allmale admissions policy was unconstitutional, asked Mr. McDannell to assess the college's progress in bringing in women.

Mr. McDannell concluded The Citadel's plan is adequate but improvements can be made.

"Our overall assessment ... is that The Citadel is trying hard to not just comply with the court, but to truly assimilate women," the study concluded. "Their failures in this area are caused by a lack of expertise or information and not by a lack of desire or effort."

Mr. McDannell, a retired Army colonel who worked at West Point when women joined the cadet corps there, was assisted by two other consultants in The Citadel study.

Of the two women who remain, "we believe the degree of respect and acceptance held by them is proof women can, and will, succeed," Mr. McDannell wrote.

But his report also said male cadets routinely refer to women derogatorily. There should be "zero tolerance" for such behavior, he said.

Citadel spokesman Terry Leedom said school officials were studying the report and would respond today{ on Tuesday}.

Earlier this month, a college-appointed committee made a number of similar recommendations. That group also concluded the college moved too quickly and enrolled too few women cadets.

Mr. McDannell recommended setting detailed goals for measuring the progress of the plan, which governs even the smallest details, from where women live to how they wear their hair.

"Caution must be taken to allow the women cadets to be both women and cadets," the report said. "The goal of the program is not to convert women into men but to allow women equal protection."

The report suggested ongoing sensitivity training classes for male cadets and a regular forum where women cadets can discuss their concerns.