CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Following the 25 year anniversary of filing a lawsuit against The Citadel, Shannon Faulkner, returned to the campus Saturday for a speech that left thousands of Citadel alumni upset.
Faulkner attended the Citadel back in 1994. Shortly thereafter, she stopped attending the school. She credits her removal to threats, attacks, and stress after filing a lawsuit against the school’s male-only policy.
Saturday, she spoke at the Pat Conroy Symposium. During her speech she said she was a Citadel Alumni and a “mother” to all women who graduated from the school.
After hearing such remarks, Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets in 1999, expressed extreme frustration.
“I just sort of felt like the comments she made were a slap into the face to many of those women who graduated from The Citadel,” Mace said.
Mace says claiming to be an alumni after taking a few classes, filing a lawsuit, and attending the school for a short period of time is a disgrace to the people that actually graduated.
“That doesn’t make you an alumna of the citadel corps of cadets, you do not wear the ring,” she said. “To make that statement undercuts everything that every woman went through to earn it.”
Mace took to Facebook, sparking over one thousand reactions from people who agree with her, many who are Citadel alumnae.
News 2 reached out to Shannon Faulkner. She declined an interview, but sent the following statement:
“Many people do not remember that I went to classes as the only non-cadet day student for a year and a half. I received nearly half on my college credits from The Citadel. I disagree with Ms. Mace, but I will not be disrespectful to her or any other. As I said on Saturday, I believe in The Citadel. I believe in the women at The Citadel. I am proud of each and every one of them. I do not take credit for their accomplishments; I merely opened the door,” said Faulkner.
Mace says she isn’t upset that she is speaking publicly at The Citadel, but wants to make sure no one’s hard work gets discredited.