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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Citadel Predicts Women Will Survive 'Hell Week'

CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- The sky was still dark when the young men jogged into the courtyard and began shouting for new students to get out of their bunks. Moments later a song by the heavy metal group AC-DC echoed through the cavernous dormitory.


The song was "Hell's Bells" and this was the start of a "hell week" at The Citadel, a tortuous period of in-your-face military training known by all graduates of the school as the time in which new students will either decided to remain in the state-supported military college or leave. With four women among the 568 freshmen, what happens to the Class of 2000 has become a soap opera here, complete with live television reports from the college campus featured throughout the day.


As college barbers administered what school officials described as a short, "unique female Citadel haircut" -- above the ear and off the neck -- to the women, school officials continued to predict that the four would succeed here. By midday the four had already outlasted the school's first female cadet, Shannon Faulkner, who dropped out a year ago after a half-day of military indoctrination, citing isolation and stress from her court case to force the institution to admit her.


"Everything is going well," said Brigadier General Clifton Poole, the school's acting president, at a mid-morning briefing. He and other Citadel officials have maintained that the school had no choice but to admit women, dropping a 153-year-old policy, after the Supreme Court ruled June 26 that a similar male-only admission policy at Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional.