Life After the Citadel: Shannon Faulkner Reflects on Her Historic Battle with the Elite Military College

Shannon Faulkner talks to Juju Chang about her battle.

ByABC News via logo
December 7, 2009, 7:36 PM

Dec. 8, 2009— -- The first female cadet at the Citadel, South Carolina's elite all-male military college, said she's proud of the women who have graduated the school, even though she herself resigned shortly into her tenure there.

Fifteen years after Shannon Faulkner entered the Citadel's ranks by winning a legal battle, she says she's proud that women have the choice to go to the school, in part because of her actions.

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the school's male-only admissions policy unconstitutional, and the South Carolina woman was allowed to enroll. But she didn't stay very long.

Faulkner faced harassment and death threats. She had to be protected by federal marshals, and wore a panic alarm around her neck. Her dorm room was equipped with security cameras.

Faulkner told "Good Morning America" that she felt constantly alone.

She spent just one week at the Citadel. During that time, Faulkner battled extreme physical and mental stress, and passed much of the week in the infirmary, suffering severe dehydration. And then she left.

"It's hard for me to leave because this is something I have worked for so long," she said shortly afterward.

The male cadets on the campus celebrated Faulkner's departure.

Speaking of her reaction to the celebration, Faulkner said she was "embarrassed for the school. That's not the school that I wanted to be a part of."

Faulkner had fought a legal battle against the Citadel for two years before she was allowed to enroll.

The South Carolina woman had applied to the school, and the Citadel, simply by not asking for gender on their application, accepted their first female cadet.

"I was good enough for them," she said. "They looked at my academic record. They said I was an ideal candidate."