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Details from Sietsema & Metrocurean
I remember Shannon Faulkner very well - it was only 21 years ago when she had half the country wanting her to die. I also remember having very strong feelings that The Citadel (and the military) should remain all-male, and I was very anti-Shannon Faulkner while at the same time feeling very sorry for her, and the abuse that she took. Now that I'm older, and now that The Citadel has hundreds of male and female graduates, I look back and realize my "anti-Shannonism" was based very much on prejudice and preconceived notions - I justified it by saying something that I still think: Institutions (in this case, The Citadel) should have the right to be all-male and all-female. Yeah, I guess I still think that's true - I don't think boys should be allowed in the girl scouts, and I could probably name numerous other examples, although, granted, The Citadel was a government-supported institution. I also felt, fairly strongly, that the military shouldn't be used as a proving ground for civil rights (I'm not saying I was right or wrong; I'm just saying how I felt at the time). But Shannon Faulkner was different - she was made a scapegoat because quite frankly, she was never *physically* cut out to get through The Citadel's rigorous hazing and boot camp-like treatment of freshmen. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, it was all *extremely* carefully planned out - Robinson was hand-picked by Branch Rickey because Rickey knew what type of abuse was coming to be coming Robinson's way, and knew that Robinson could take it, both mentally and physically. Rickey also knew that whoever was first needed to be as-good-or-better than just about every other player; there could be no .213 batting average for Jackie Robinson. Faulkner, on the other hand, was a lone wolf, having almost no support, and she was the wrong person to be "the first." But I think people need to take another look at her, and cut her some slack. This needed to have been an organized, coordinated effort, and the person selected needed to have been a physical bad-ass; Faulkner wasn't that person. But in terms of civil rights? I think she needs to be looked back upon as something of a hero, quite frankly, and I think it should be done now rather than later. And I think a lot of people owe her an apology - not for wanting to exclude her, but for the abuse they gave her - and even though I didn't dole out any abuse, I'll start by being the first.