The Citadel will break with tradition and install locks on all cadet rooms amid concerns about safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Male cadets at the state military college have no locks on their barracks doors. Female cadets can lock their doors from the inside. The tradition had evolved in keeping with the spareness of military life and with the school's honor code, which mandates that cadets do not steal.
Now, all cadets will get keys to lock their doors from the outside by next semester. Installing the locks will cost about $125,000.
"This decision in no way compromises the honor system. The personal standards that a cadet does not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do remains the centerpiece of The Citadel experience," said the school's president, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John Rosa.
The idea had been discussed before the Virginia Tech shootings. But a review after that incident shows "times have changed and society has changed" and locks are needed, Rosa said.
"My job is the safety of every student," he added.
The Citadel's Board of Visitors approved the change at a regularly scheduled weekend meeting.
The college's commandant of cadets, Greg Stone, said locks will mean "a new way of operating" but won't change the way cadets interact.
College attorney Mark Brandenburg said the locks will help safeguard the college from legal liability. But he said it is about more than lawsuits. "We weren't at the standard of care we wanted to be," he said.