Clifton Poole, interim president for the Citadel, spoke to the 1,700-member Corps of Cadets at the South Carolina military college on January 13 after two of the four female first-year cadets announced they would not be returning to the formerly all-male school. Poole admitted that the Citadel’s anti-hazing system had broken down and stated at a press conference following the cadet meeting that “all incidents of hazing will be reported to law enforcement.”
Eleven male cadets face discipline regarding charges by Kim Messer and Jeanie Mentavlos that the men set the women’s clothes on fire, put cleanser in their mouths and sexually harassed them. Messer and Mentavlos stated that the Citadel failed to keep the women safe and that they could not return to the school. Mentavlos’ brother, Michael, also plans to withdraw from the school just three credits short of graduation.
Messer’s lawyer questioned the Citadel’s commitment to making coeducation work. Attorney E. Paul Gibson said,” I question … if (the Citadel administrators) know how seriously they’ll have to approach (coeducation) to make it work. The Citadel has expended huge amounts of capital and energy to prevent the entry of women. That’s what it impressed on the corps. Now they say they’ve made a 180-degree turn.”