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Citadel’s Women Survive ‘Hell Week’

Associated Press

The four female cadets at The Citadel have survived “Hell Week"--the military college’s grueling initiation of running, push-ups and other tests of physical endurance.

They will join other first-year cadets at class Monday, after Sunday’s scheduled day at the beach. As of Friday, five men had dropped out, leaving 578 freshmen.

“The people who make it through the first weeks have made it through the most difficult part--adjusting to the military lifestyle,” said senior Charles Perreault, spokesman for the cadet regiment.

The college ended 153 years of accepting only male students last year after Shannon Faulkner won a court battle and became the first female cadet. She fell ill and dropped out the first week, citing stress and isolation. Thirty-two other cadets also quit.

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Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, an Emory University women’s studies expert who opposed coeducation at The Citadel, said there is a good chance the female cadets will do well at the college.

“They are pioneers,” she said. “They are on a mission. They are perhaps more motivated than the average male cadet.”

Cadets reported to campus Aug. 24. They were up before dawn Wednesday for physical tests, and roused from bed that night to stand at attention in a dark barracks courtyard. “Hell Week” also included constant orders to run or do push-ups.


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