strategy12:51What new VMI 'rats' go through in Hell WeekWe got an inside look at what it's like during the first week for new freshmen, known as "rats," at the ...Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. "Hell week" marks the beginning of the rats' journey to becoming full-fledged cadets at VMI, the oldest public senior military college in the US, which has been at the center of controversy for decades because of allegations of sexism and racism and its historical ties to the Confederacy.VMI is now led by Cedric T. Wins, the first Black superintendent in the school's 182-year history. During the past year, VMI has removed on-post tributes to the Confederacy, including statues and quotes.Hell week begins with matriculation day, the first step of a challenging six-month program that builds up to "breakout," when the rats become cadets. After saying goodbye to their families, the new rats encounter an intense indoctrination from the cadre, a group of upperclassmen tasked with leading the new class during matriculation. Hell week concludes with an event known as "The Crucible," which presents the rats with a series of mental and physical challenges.