Bethany College had its very own unit of the Student Army Training Corps, or SATC. The SATC was created by Congress as part of the Selective Service Act of 1917. It’s purpose, according to the SATC Training Manual, was to utilize effectively the plant, equipment, and organization of the colleges for selecting and training officer candidates and technical experts for service in the existing emergency. The SATC was a voluntary program that inducted 200,000 men on its first day. These men were given private status, which gave them no way to avoid enlistment.
As a small school, Bethany College was required to have at least 50 men to become an active unit. On October 12, 1918, the Bethany College Messenger called for male students to help their Alma Mater by joining the SATC and telling their eligible friends to do the same. The article is very pro-SATC and patriotic. It seems optimistic and hopeful. Seen below is the article from the Messenger.
The Daisy, Bethany College’s yearbook, featured several pages on the SATC in the 1919 book. The tone of the excerpt seen below is very different from that of the Messenger’s article just one year prior. While the writer extends gratitude and thanks towards the students who stepped up and joined the SATC, they also seem to show some hesitance about writing pro-war. Instead of phrases claiming the SATC as a great opportunity, the writer calls the SATC “peculiar” and bashes on the Government’s attempt to socialize America’s educational institutions.
It would be interesting to know who wrote each piece, but such information is not provided. The first article is more formal, like it is a statement from school officials themselves, while the latter seems more like a personal opinion piece. It is very possible that the hype of the war was getting students and faculty excited to have their own unit of the SATC, while after the war was over and the buzz had settled, students were questioning the significance and true intentions of the organization.
Pictures taken from Bethany College Messenger October 12, 1918 and Bethany College Daisy 1919.
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