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Data table column changes from character to numeric automatically

I have a jsl script in a table that the user can run to look up values in one column based on values in another column.  The code stopped working recently when SAS was upgraded.  After investigating, I found out that if I only put numeric values in the character column, the data type automatically changes to Data Type Numeric and Modeling Type continuous.

Is there an easy way to lock the attributes so the column does not change to numeric?

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