A Statement Regarding the “Petition Against Censorship at Bates”

The Bates Student would like to address the petition released on Oct. 15 (and subsequent articles by News Center Maine and The Intercept) regarding censorship of The Bates Student by the Bates College administration. 

The Bates Student was not coerced or censored by any member of the Bates administration, the Bates Communication Office, or any other member of the Bates community in the writing or republishing of Elizabeth LaCroix’s article from Oct. 13. 

Mary Pols, Bates’ media relation specialist, asked The Student to temporarily take down the original article, pointing to several misleading statements and reporting inaccuracies. The Student made the decision on its own accord to honor this query. Mary Pols handles all media relations for the college; therefore, The Bates Student, like all other media outlets, is unable to access school administrators in all departments without first communicating with Pols. However, Pols has no authority to require changes or read articles before publishing and did not attempt to exercise such authority. 

Nearly all edits made to the originally published article were additions. Information regarding neutrality statements was reworded for clarity. Additionally, a quote provided by Francis Eanes was paraphrased, as it relayed second-hand information that could not be verified. Commentary provided by employees with first-hand experience was unaltered, or in Jon Michael Foley’s case, expanded. 

Every edit or change in the article was discussed between Elizabeth and myself and approved by me as editor-in-chief of The Bates Student. We corrected inaccuracies that were misleading or confusing, and we allowed additions to both the union and administration side of the story, as shown in the document outlining edits made to the original article linked in the petition.

The staff of The Bates Student takes immense pride in our editorial independence. We are given full autonomy on what is and is not published. In the interests of informing the Bates community, we stand by the edits we made.

If you have any questions regarding the events of the past week, please send us an email ([email protected]). 

Jackson Elkins ’22 and Elizabeth LaCroix ’23

Editor-in-Chief and Managing News Editor at The Bates Student