CHARLESTON, S.C., Aug. 24 -- The all-male bastion that was The Citadel fell to the enemy after 153 years Saturday as four women prepared to enter the military college's corps of cadets. The women were scheduled to arrive on campus and check into the barracks Saturday morning (between 8 and 11 a.m EDT) with about 590 male cadets. Kim Messer of Clover, Nancy Mace of Goose Creek and two unidentified women will have separate rooms in the barracks with male cadets, the Citadel said. The first week of orientation and training, commonly known as 'Hell Week,' became the downfall of Shannon Faulkner, the first woman to live in the barracks as a cadet. Faulkner quit the Citadel, citing stress, less than one week after arriving on campus last August. The Citadel changed its admissions policy and agreed to admit women after an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling in June. 'I sincerely believe that if there is a place where we can make this work, it is at The Citadel,' said Citadel Board of Visitors Chairman Jimmy Jones. 'It's going to be a rather tense time.' Jones said cadets 'took a pledge of sorts that they are going to make it work' during a sensitivity training conference last week. 'These young people are much more flexible than us fuddy-duddies,' Jones said. 'They are accepting it and doing it with enthusiasm.' 'Everybody knows we have a great challenge ahead and the world is watching,' said cadet Charles Perreault.
'We have a chance to prove to the world that we can make this work.' U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck ruled The Citadel's previous all- male admissions policy unconstitutional after the Supreme Court issued a similar ruling in relation to the Virginia Military Institute, the only other all-male, state-supported school in the country. The entrance of the female cadets into the Class of 2000 is expected to be different from Faulkner's entrance into the corps last year. 'The thing that is important is that four young ladies are not coming in under an adversarial type of environment,' Jones said. 'The change has become permanent, and we look foward to the coming years when the number of women increases,' said Val Vojdik, an attorney who represented Faulkner in a lawsuit against the Citadel.