Collegiate Women Pacifists
During the Second World War a small minority of American college women explored ways to demonstrate their peace convictions to a skeptical, and sometimes hostile, public. Like drafted C.O.s, these women viewed alternative service work as a "moral equivalent of war." They devoted their energies to peace activism and to offering support and friendship to conscientious objectors, and their persistence led to the creation of all-women Civilian Public Service units.
Many of these women became part of networks at liberal arts colleges affiliated with the historic peace churches. While the federal government operated the Army Specialized Training Program and other military institutes on campuses across the country, peace activism remained strong at more than a dozen liberal arts colleges where administrators and professors recruited for Civilian Public Service. 1 These colleges produced many young careerminded women who embraced the C.O. position and supported the cause by moving to CPS sites to join conscientious objectors in their work.
Institutions in higher education with Quaker, Mennonite, and Brethren ties channeled thousands of students into the Civilian Public Service program. Administrators of the historic peace church colleges conferred with each other regularly about the impact of conscription on their schools. In August 1942 seven colleges, most with Mennonite constituencies, formed a coalition to promote campus alternatives to military training. These schools, all of which had students involved in Civilian Public Service, were Bethel, Hesston, and Tabor in Kansas, Freeman in