CC students rallying for peace in 1962

by Clare Trissel Davis, Colorado College Project Archivist

As Archivist for the three-year grant-funded History of CC Project, I have had the opportunity to unearth important protest stories from our institutional memory. The Office of the Dean of Faculty records that I’ve acquired from the basement of Armstrong include information about a student group called Commitment, assembled on campus in the early 60s, that opposed nuclear armament. Pictured below are students from Commitment attending a peace rally in Washington D.C. on February 16, 1962.

Commitment (student group), 1962-1963, Office of the Dean of Faculty records, RG-001. Colorado College Records.

In its statement of purpose, Commitment claimed that “as young people living under the threat of nuclear war, we are deeply concerned for the survival of civilization. We are not protesting our armed forces, but we seriously question the moral and practical value of nuclear arms as a means of deterring war and securing peace. We are campaigning for Life, not only for ourselves, but for all Beings which possess this gift.” The group sought to challenge the Springs community to accept responsibility for “supporting alternatives to the arms race” and hosted three follow-up meetings to the College’s 1962 Symposium: “War or Peace in the Sixties: The Issue of Survival in the Nuclear Age” including a talk by Dr. Glenn Snyder on “Deterrence and Defense in Nato Strategy.”

Both Dean Lloyd E. Worner and President Louis T. Benezet supported the group. Benezet acknowledged that some of the 15 “idealistic” students on campus were the brightest and most talented in the student body. Though the group was heckled and challenged by other students on campus, the administration defended the legitimacy of their perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *