Shannon Faulkner

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Shannon Faulkner
Known forFirst woman accepted into The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina

Shannon Faulkner is an American educator known for being the first woman admitted into The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. She currently teaches English in Greenville, South Carolina.


Faulkner was born in Powdersville, South Carolina, United States, graduated from Wren High School in January 1993.[1][2] Faulkner was angry that The Citadel would not allow women.[3] Faulkner became the first woman to attempt to enter the Corps of Cadets at The Citadel, which previously had a male-only admissions policy.[1][2] Her application to the school was accompanied with having her gender blanked out of her high school transcripts.[4] Faulkner enrolled after a successful lawsuit, Faulkner v. Jones et al., against the military academy.[5][6] The suit alleged that the Citadel, which received state money, was "denying her equal protection under the Constitution."[7] Her lawyer, Val Vojdik, said, "We are seeking educational opportunity... We are seeking equal access to a public program we pay for."[8]

Faulkner was allowed to attend classes as a day student by January 1994, but was not allowed to live on campus or wear the uniform.[2] On campus, she was called "Mrs. Doubtgender" and faced other slurs from cadets.[9] In 1994, bumper stickers appeared on cars in South Carolina that read "Shave Shannon," in an attempt to humiliate her.[10] In August 1994, a judge ordered Faulkner to shave her head like the way the male Citadel students did each year.[11] In 1995, T-shirts for sale appeared in Charleston reading "1,952 bulldogs and one bitch."[12] In July 1995, Faulkner and a federal judge, C. Weston Houck, toured the woman's college that the state of South Carolina wanted to open as an alternative for women.[13][14] Later that July, the same federal judge ruled that she should be admitted fully to The Citadel, and The Citadel planned to appeal the decision.[15] In 1995, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Faulkner must be fully admitted.[6] During the time she fought The Citadel in court, she "endured taunts and death threats."[16] She was also called "Shrew Shannon" by The Citadel's newspaper, and the article was dismissed by the president of The Citadel, Claudius Watts, as "satire."[4][9]

Faulkner matriculated into The Citadel with an otherwise all-male corps of cadets on August 15, 1995 under the escort of United States Marshals. After only four hours of initial training, she suffered heat-stress.[16] She was one of five cadets who became ill.[17] She spent the remainder of the first week in the infirmary before voluntarily resigning, citing emotional and psychological abuse and physical exhaustion.[4] After her departure, the male cadets openly celebrated on the campus.[18][19] She told Oprah Winfrey on her show that she had gained weight during the court trials due to the stress she was facing.[20] Diana Nyad criticized Faulkner for gaining weight and for not being fully prepared for training.[21] Faulkner was one of thirty cadets to drop out.[22]

Two decades later, in a 2012 interview with the Post and Courier newspaper, Faulkner said that what precipitated her leaving so abruptly was a threat to kill her parents by a person present when she entered.[23] Her parent's home was vandalized.[4] In 1999, she told the Associated Press, "I went into it knowing I may not get anything out of it. I was doing it for the next woman."[24]

Writer Pat Conroy paid for Faulkner's education after she left the Citadel, and she became a middle school teacher in South Carolina.[25] Faulkner attended Anderson College.[24] After graduating in 1999, she was hired by Carolina High School.[24]

In August 1996, four women were admitted to The Citadel.[26] By December 2009, The Citadel had graduated 205 female cadets since Faulkner's admission.[19] In March 2018, Faulkner returned to The Citadel as an invited speaker at a symposium about Conroy.[27] Her statement that she would not criticize the school and considers herself "a Citadel alumni" drew a sharp attack from state representative Nancy Mace, who was the first woman to graduate from The Citadel in 1999.[1][28][29]

Faulkner is currently an English teacher in Greenville[30] and pursuing a graduate degree at Southern Wesleyan University

In popular culture[edit]

Faulkner is mentioned indirectly in the King of the Hill episode "Jumpin' Crack Bass". In the episode, she is referred to as "that pushy gal who's tryin' to get into The Citadel".

Garry Shandling makes reference to Faulkner in Season 4, Episode 8 of The Larry Sanders Show, entitled "Nothing Personal".

Lisa Simpson's experience in The Simpsons' 8th-season finale, The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, broadly resembles Faulkner's.[31]


  1. ^ a b c Byrd, Caitlin. "Nancy Mace pushes back after Shannon Faulkner claims to be Citadel grad: 'She doesn't wear The Ring'". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  2. ^ a b c "Shannon Faulkner". People. 42 (26): 58. 26 December 1994.
  3. ^ Manegold;, Catherine S. (1994-09-11). "The Citadel's Lone Wolf; Shannon Faulkner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  4. ^ a b c d Wilgoren, Debbi (1995-08-19). "Female Cadet Leaves Citadel". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  5. ^ Kuersten, Ashlyn K. (2003). Women and the law: leaders, cases, and documents. ABC-CLIO. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-87436-878-9.
  6. ^ a b Bobrick, Elizabeth (June 2000). "Arms and the Woman". Women's Review of Books. 17 (9): 8 – via EBSCOhost.
  7. ^ MANN, JUDY (1994-01-26). "No Women Need Apply". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  8. ^ "Trial Opens in Woman's Suit to Join Citadel's Corps of Cadets". Washington Post. 1994-05-17. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  9. ^ a b "Woman at Citadel Tells of Harassment". The New York Times. 1994-02-19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  10. ^ Goodman, Ellen (1994-08-06). "Shannon Faulkner's Haircut". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  11. ^ Jordan, Mary (1994-08-02). "Judge Orders Female Cadet to Shave Head for Citadel". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  12. ^ Jordan, Mary (1994-07-23). "Citadel Ordered to Admit Woman". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  13. ^ MacLachlan, Suzanne; Mutch, David (5 July 1995). "Shannon Faulkner, toured the women's college". Christian Science Monitor. 87 (153): 2 – via EBSCOhost.
  14. ^ "Citadel Segregation Plan is Rejected". Washington Post. 1995-06-08. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  15. ^ Hanson, Cynthia; McLaughlin, Abraham (26 July 1995). "Shannon Faulkner is set to become the first female cadet". Christian Science Monitor. 87 (168): 2 – via EBSCOhost.
  16. ^ a b "Shannon Faulkner". U.S. News & World Report. 119 (9): 28. 28 August 1995 – via EBSCOhost.
  17. ^ McLaughlin, Abraham (16 August 1995). "Five cadets--including Shannon Faulkner". Christian Science Monitor. 87 (183): 2 – via EBSCOhost.
  18. ^ "Case Study 1: Shannon Faulkner and the Citadel". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  19. ^ a b Chang, Juju; Sintay, Liz; Clarke, Suzan (2009-12-08). "First Female Cadet at the Citadel Looks Back". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  20. ^ "Citadel's First Female Cadet Tells of the Stress of Her Court Fight". The New York Times. 1995-09-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  21. ^ Nyad, Diana (22 August 1995). "Shannon Faulkner Criticized For Drop Out". Morning Edition (NPR). Retrieved 8 March 2018 – via EBSCOhost.
  22. ^ "Sadness and Shame at The Citadel". The New York Times. 1995-08-22. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  23. ^ Hawes, Jennifer (October 19, 2012). "Where is Shannon Now". the Post and Courier. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c "Shannon Faulkner Teaching English". Washington Post. 17 October 1999. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  25. ^ Chang, Juju; Liz Sintay; Suzan Clarke (8 December 2009). "Life After the Citadel: Shannon Faulkner Reflects on Her Historic Battle with the Elite Military College". ABC - Good Morning America. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  26. ^ Pressley, Sue Anne (1996-12-14). "2 Citadel Women Say Cadets Set Fire to ClothesS". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  27. ^ "Shannon Faulkner says, 'I do consider myself a Citadel alumni' during her historic return". The Post and Courier. March 3, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  28. ^ "Nancy Mace fires back at Shannon Faulkner after Saturday event at The Citadel". WCSC-TV. March 5, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  29. ^ Streicher, Brad. "Citadel alumni express frustration with Shannon Faulkner's speech on Saturday". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  30. ^ "1st woman to enter The Citadel talks about brief time there". Washington Post. 2018-03-04. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  31. ^ Matthew A. Henry (2012). The Simpsons, Satire, and American Culture. Springer. pp. 161–163. ISBN 978-1-137-02779-5.
  • In the Company of Men: A Woman at The Citadel (Simon Pulse:Reprint edition 2002) by Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel.
  • In Glory's Shadow : The Citadel, Shannon Faulkner, and a Changing America (Vintage:2001) by Catherine S. Manegold.

External links[edit]