On November 15, 2017, Douglass Morency started as Bates College’s new director of campus safety. Taking over from interim head, Paul Menice, Morency hopes to bring a fresh, new set of ideas to Bates security.
Born in Haiti, Morency moved to northern Virginia at a young age when his mother got a job at the World Bank. “I grew up Virginia in a very eclectic neighborhood and school system,” Morency remarked. “I was in school with everybody from all walks of life. Very working class growing up, I was always involved with different groups, whether it was cub scouts or church groups, athletics.”
From his own experiences being mentored by such a supportive group of people, community engagement was always high on Morency’s list of priorities. “One thing I knew about myself was that I love working with people and with everyone helping me out and keeping me on the right path, I wanted to do the same and pay it forward.” This mindset propelled him to his first career on the Washington D.C. police force after graduating from Howard University.
Pivoting out of that field, he then went to work security at a private school in northern Virginia, implementing new protocols surrounding active shooter events and emergency responses. But then he spotted the Bates job announcement looking for the new head of security.
For Morency, “It was the first time I had ever seen a job announcement being framed in the sense of community, outreach and supporting students from different walks and students from the LGBTQ+ community, just working outside the scope of your title and just being part of the community. I said this is me, this is what I want.”
Though he has only been on campus for a few short months, Morency is already working to implement his own security philosophy. When asked what that means to him, Morency answered, “My focus is more supporting the students and to make sure that they have the good college experience they are here to have. Along the way if issues arise, you know, try to figure out how to take care of them and to really find a learning opportunity with those situations and to move forward. I think for me, also makeing sure that whoever we are dealing with has their dignity is intact once we’re done and there’s respect that is given on both ends. We must look at it through a lens of understanding and compassion and trying to find a way through it.”
It seems that Morency opts for a policy of transparency and aims for easy relations with the student body. Students come to Bates, and any college really, looking for an experience that will be enriching both academically and socially. Morency aims to support students in all those endeavors.
When asked how he found the Bates student body and community, he answered without a pause. “They’re nice,” he plainly informed me. At the start of his career here at Bates, it is clear that both the students and the administration are working to create a cohesive and symbiotic relationship with the new head of security.
Strengthening the student-security relationship is high on Morency’s to-do list. Last semester on a snowy day before finals week, security had a pop-up cocoa stand for students outside of commons. There were even security members who came in on their day off to help distribute the chocolaty treat to stressed students walking into Commons.
Talking about his team, Morency noted that there is a lot of longevity there. But as retirements approach, he is not opposed to diversifying the force.
In the more immediate case, security is “expanding the safe rides program. By doing that we are going to add two more driving positions, non-security, not uniformed, just driving positions to help with transporting students around campus and some locals off campus. When it’s time to go out there and roll it out, I’d like to talk to folks in the community, do a little presentation and tell them about Bates. If there’s a group…[of single moms like what his mother had] in Lewiston I will found out and I will go to those groups and say ‘hey we have these jobs and this is what we’re offering, this is what the community is like, this is what our approach is.’” Gaining some minority and female perspective on the force would be a welcome addition.
So far, things are off to a great start. Time will tell of all the lasting impression Douglass Morency has on the Bates community.