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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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40 years in, women reflect on Corps

Photo by Alli Bradshaw
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the integration of women, the Corps of Cadets Association is holding a weekend-long event.
 
Photo by Alli Bradshaw To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the integration of women, the Corps of Cadets Association is holding a weekend-long event.  

The history of females in the Corps of Cadets has not always been one of acceptance, but this weekend past and present female cadets will gather on campus to reflect on how the organization has changed in the last four decades.
Put on by the Corps of Cadets Association, the weekend-long event “40 Years of Women in the Corps” is a time for people to get together and share memories, said event coordinator Amanda Fleming.
Sandy Barth, Class of 1983 and former cadet, said she will not be able to attend the event, but thinks the opportunity to share experiences is important.
“I remember an incident that happened just to me and I’ve never forgotten about it after all these years because I just couldn’t grasp it,” Barth said. “We were going to some kind of function and we had to be in a nicer uniform than what we usually wore and I had a late class that day so I didn’t march in with my unit. So I changed by myself after class and was running to get there and there was another female student there with her mother who looked at me with the most horrible expression on her face along with her mother and just looked at me and my uniform and called me a name. I just couldn’t believe that someone would do that to a person who they didn’t even know just by what uniform I was wearing.”
Barth said this experience is still hard to talk about and that, as a member of one of two all-female outfits, it was often hard to get to know any of the male cadets because of a stigma placed on women.
“It was still pretty discriminatory,” Barth said. “Some of them, to put it mildly, were very discouraged to get to know us in fear that there may be retribution once their upperclassmen found out that they were even talking to some female in the Corps.”
Barth said there were a select few men who made strides to get to know the female cadets.
“I can still remember a few names that were what I would call ‘the welcome exception,’” Barth said. “Those were the ones who would get to know you and who were very likeable, very professional, the type of people you would hope to find once you got on to active duty.”
Years later, Barth said it’s about time a woman Corps commander was named.
Alyssa Michalke, who was named the 2015-2016 Corps commander this week, said she has been motivated and encouraged by female cadets that preceded her.
“The perception from the Corps has done a complete 180 since women came in 40 years ago,” Michalke said. “The hostility and adversity that they faced 40 years ago was insane and that was even from their fellow cadets and even from their fellow female cadets. The hazing in the female outfits was bad, if not just as worse as it was in the male outfits.”
Michalke said she believes that the amount of female involvement in the Corps will increase in the years to come and is excited to meet more female cadets at this weekend’s event.
The event will feature a tour of the Quad, a baseball outing, a luncheon and a run hosted by the Corps. Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to contact the Texas Aggies Corps of Cadets Association.

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