Student decides not to attend The Citadel over Muslim hijab
A 17-year-old Muslim student has opted to attend a private military college in Vermont after being told she couldn't wear a hijab if she attended The Citadel. (Source: CNN)
Norwich, VT (WCAX) -
Seventeen-year-old Sana Hamze says she'll soon call Vermont home.
When she gets to Norwich University, she'll be making history. The incoming cadet asked for a religious accommodation to wear a hijab allowing her to cover her head and neck as part of her Muslim faith.
Norwich granted that request.
Hamze's first choice, The Citadel, said no.
"Why is it causing a big uproar for a Muslim student who wants to wear a hijab to go to a military college when the military itself makes accommodations for it?" Hamze said.
Norwich President Richard Schneider says the school made the right decision, altering the dress code policy for cadets for the first time in 200 years.
"One of my responsibilities to our students is to prepare them for the future, whether they are going to be working to working for General Electric, WCAX or the United States Military," Schneider said.
When Schneider spoke with Channel 3 last week he said the decision was unanimous with his board of trustees, but he acknowledges not everyone — including some in the University's alumni community — will agree with the move.
"Sometimes you can have different points of view about things, this is America," he said. Democracy is messy, and that is okay. We need to be talking with each other, we learn from each other when we do that."
As for Hamze, she says the accommodation will allow her to pursue her passion.
"Me trying to attend The Citadel and Norwich University wearing my hijab is simply because I want to be in the U.S. military," she said. "I want to serve this country."