CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Citadel's new commandant, Emory Mace, was up before dawn Monday to begin his duties overseeing the military activities of the college's corps of cadets.
Mr. Mace conducted a surprise inspection of Company F, his old cadet company, and then inspected the corps at the 6:30 a.m. formation, school spokesman Terry Leedom said.
Mr. Mace, whose daughter Nancy is one of two remaining female cadets, comes to The Citadel as state and federal authorities investigate allegations that two other women were hazed and harassed.
Jeanie Mentavlos and Kim Messer did not return this semester, saying they felt neither welcome nor safe.
Mr. Mace, a retired Army brigadier general, has made it clear he won't tolerate hazing.
"God help the cadet who gets caught hazing," he said.
"If there is any hazing that comes to light, we will stamp it out very quickly and it will be with public knowledge," he said earlier.
Mr. Mace said his first job is to assess how well the Citadel system is running.
"The Citadel's not broken," he said. "The Citadel just needs a little fine tuning."
His own daughter's first semester did not pass without incident. Ms. Mace turned in a fellow freshman for sexual harassment.
"She told her chain of command about it and it was dealt with," Mr. Mace said. "The cadet came by her room and apologized."
The 56-year-old Mr. Mace, who opposed admitting women to the corps of cadets, is the college's most-decorated living graduate. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second-highest medal for bravery, in Vietnam.
"I wrote the book on tough," said Mr. Mace, who once taught Reserve Officer Training Corps courses here.
"(He) took no crap from any living man, but dished it out in mountainous heaps to anyone who came under his jurisdiction," author Pat Conroy wrote of Mr. Mace in The Boo, his first book.
"He was hell on knobs. They lined the walls outside his room at night and he would walk before them, a muscled symbol of leadership formed by the rigors of the plebe system," Mr. Conroy wrote.
The author later wrote The Lords of Discipline, a fictional account of hazing based on his Citadel experiences.