Shannon Faulkner took her place in a long gray line Saturday at The Citadel, becoming the first female cadet in 152 years of all-male Southern tradition at the publicly funded military college.
Faulkner entered the campus by a side gate, not seeing protest signs at the main gate, including a banner held by a dozen women that read "Save the Males.""It's a black day for The Citadel," said Sallie Baldwin. "Shannon does not speak for us. She's not welcome here."
On the opposite corner were about 50 supporters, with signs reading "The Males are Saved" and "The Citadel Mentality is Not Now a Reality."
Faulkner, stern-faced, would not talk with reporters when she arrived on campus shortly after 7:30 a.m. with her parents and lawyers. She was escorted in by federal marshals.
"All I can say is everything is going well," she said as she walked into her band audition later, her flute case and sheet music tucked under her arm.
Faulkner has said she will not be the last woman to wear The Citadel gray uniform. College President Claudius Watts, however, said that while the school accepts the courts' decision to allow Faulkner into the Corps, it will press on with appeals to keep other women from following her.
"The courts have ruled. It's a lawful order. As a military person, I salute and move forward," Watts later told an assembly of relatives that included Faulkner's parents.
On Friday, two U.S. Supreme Court justices rejected the school's latest bid to stop her.
As knots of cadets watched from across the courtyard of Law Barracks, Faulkner was greeted by cadet Alex Pettett, a senior who commands India Company. Other cadets helped move her luggage upstairs.
"I would say a couple days ago, it hit me a little harder, but since then our cadre has been training and is prepared for this, and she'll be treated no differently. Today is just another day," Pettett said.
"I'd say confidence is extremely high. Morale is very high, too," he said.
But other male cadets appeared to ignore Faulkner as they assembled in a courtyard, one indication of the isolation she could face.
Unlike other cadets, Faulkner, a 20-year-old junior, will have a private room, with video cameras mon-i-toring the hallway outside for security.
Faulkner has taken classes at the 2,000-student school since January 1994 under court order.
But she was not allowed to take military training as a member of the corps of cadets until The Citadel's last-ditch appeals were turned down twice at the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday - first by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, then by Justice Antonin Scalia. Neither gave a reason for the rejections.