Tension at The Citadel escalated on Monday as administrators ordered two female cadets to take final exams out of uniform and restricted their on-campus movements amid complaints the pair were hazed.
The military college insisted Kim Messer of Clover, S.C., and Jeanie Mentavlos of Charlotte, N.C., wear civilian clothing as a precaution against having them answer to upperclassmen during an ongoing investigation. Because the women are living off-campus this week, the college also told them to limit their visits to classrooms, the library and computer labs.
Paul Gibson, a Charleston attorney hired by the women’s parents, called those restrictions unwarranted and unreasonable.
“They didn’t do anything wrong and they’re being treated as if they did,” Gibson said. “These women had earned the right to wear these uniforms. They should be able to wear the uniforms.”
Citadel spokesman Terry Leedom said the administration’s decision is intended to insulate the women, and protect the college, from any misunderstandings over routine military commands directed at freshmen.
“We don’t want anybody trying to correct them,” Leedom said.
The college also on Monday suspended a second cadet for his alleged involvement in hazing complaints involving Mentavlos, Messer and a third male cadet. Unlike the first cadet who was kicked off campus Saturday as exams began, the second cadet facing disciplinary action is being allowed to take the end-of-the-semester tests.
Mentavlos, whose parents were in Charleston, and Messer spent Monday night at an undisclosed locale off-campus.