18 February 2004
The administration and Board of Visitors have received many questions recently about personal issues relating to cadets, our pregnancy policy and procedures. Some have advised us to fully disclose information relating to such issues in order to quell rumors or correct false information.
We want to address your concerns as fully as we can. As much as we might like to respond to your questions, we cannot comment on specific cases because of privacy laws. No college official can give out personal information on any cadet without permission of that cadet. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is clear and unequivocal; we will not violate it. We will have to accept criticism as a consequence of upholding our legal and ethical responsibilities.
Our pregnancy policy was adopted in 1997 to comply with Title IX and a consent decree issued by the federal courts. The Board of Visitors discussed the ramifications of this policy with our attorneys at length at the last board meeting on February 7th. Our legal counsel categorically stated that we must comply with Title IX which deals specifically with pregnancy.
While we respect the rights of alumni to their opinions, the law and the courts view pregnancy as a medical condition and consequently that is The Citadel's position. The Blue Book on The Citadel's web site contains the policy and a copy follows this letter.
Some alumni have suggested that The Citadel should stand on principle and fight instead of hiding behind legal excuses. They reference the current debate over pregnancy and issues such as our previous decision to discontinue cadet-led prayer in favor of a moment of silence in the mess hall. While members of the Board of Visitors and the administration may agree personally with some points alumni express, the fact is that The Citadel teaches obedience to the law. To follow only those laws with which we agree would be sending the wrong message to cadets and to society.
It is a testament to the value of a Citadel education that alumni feel so passionate about events at the college. The board of visitors, the president and the administration need your prayers and would appreciate your support as we navigate these challenging issues and comply with the law of the land. Sincerely,
The Citadel Blue Book Regulations 2003-2004
MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY -- Cadet life is stressful, physically demanding, and requires the full-time commitment of all cadets. Consequently, cadets, male or female, are not permitted to be married nor are they permitted to have custody of, or direct legal responsibility for a child. A cadet who is married while enrolled at The Citadel must resign from the Corps of Cadets.
PREGNANCY POLICY - Pregnancy is considered by The Citadel to be a temporary disability. Once a cadet is known to be pregnant, the college physician will consider at what point to put them in a Temporary Disability Status (TDS). Pregnancy, in itself, is not a punishable offense. Hence, no cadet is disciplined solely for becoming pregnant or for causing another person to become pregnant.
On the other hand, the state of being pregnant may effectively preclude one (at a medically determined point in the pregnancy) from performing cadet duties and meeting the standards expected of a cadet and will be treated the same as other temporary disabilities. Once it is discovered that a female cadet is pregnant, she is referred to the college physician. The physician will verify the pregnancy and determine at what point the cadet is placed in TDS.
The pregnant cadet has the following options:
1. To remain in school as long as she does not miss more than 3 weeks of school per semester.
2. Voluntarily withdraw from The Citadel. Readmission procedures will be the same as stated in the temporary disability policy for all cadets.
3. A cadet who desires to remain in school but who exceeds the trigger point for time in temporary disability status, excused military duty (XMD), or excused physical training (XPT) status may be sent to appear before a Standing Medical Review Board using the same procedure as for any cadet in the category.