January 9, 1997 in Nation/World

Citadel Official Says 11 Cadets Now Face Discipline In Hazing

Associated Press

Eleven Citadel cadets face disciplinary action stemming from the hazing of two female cadets last year, the commandant of the state military college said Wednesday.

An upperclassman, one of two already suspended, allegedly told a female cadet “if I ever see you off campus, I will cut your heart out,” Col. Joseph Trez told U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck.

Houck, who is overseeing the admission last fall of four women to the formerly all-male school, called a hearing Tuesday on school security. Trez, a retired Army colonel, is in charge of The Citadel’s students.

In addition to the upperclassman’s threat, cadets allegedly twice poured nail polish remover on two of the women’s clothes and set them afire, and a rifle allegedly was pushed into a woman’s face, Trez said.

According to Trez, the two women said cadet officers led them to believe they should not complain. However, Jeanie Mentavlos’ brother, a senior cadet, reported the incidents to a member of the college governing board.

Trez said the women told him: “A knob is a knob and just takes what happens.” First-year cadets are called knobs because of their short haircuts. He did not identify which women were involved in which incidents.

The state and FBI are investigating reports that cadets Kim Messer of Clover and Mentavlos of Charlotte, N.C., were targets of the hazing. Two other women have not reported problems but corroborated some details of the incidents, Trez said.

Messer and Mentavlos have said they want to return to campus when classes resume next week, but are worried about security.

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