Following Assaults, President Spencer Addresses Issues of Campus Safety

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, students, faculty and staff received an email from President Clayton Spencer regarding recent issues of safety and security on campus. The email addressed numerous cases of assault, both taking place on Alumni Walk, and theft that have been reported. While these events have been occurring since the beginning of the academic year, this is the first time that the administration has reached out regarding new safety measures.

The email noted that issues that occurred within the campus community have been handled according to the Code of Student Conduct and Title IX. Crimes that have been perpetrated by outside parties are more difficult to address. 

Spencer indicated that Bates is working with the local police department to investigate these crimes of assault and theft. The authorities are trying to find patterns in the thefts in order to implement measures to prevent them.

In regards to preventing future crimes, Bates has employed a safety consultant to provide information about safety on college campuses nationwide. Spencer wrote of the role of the consultant: “The consultant is helping us to assess our areas of greatest risk on campus, to identify gaps in our current capacity to mitigate these risks, and to explore the most appropriate tools and approaches to address the challenges we currently face.”

Students have been advised to be more aware of their surroundings and take measures such as locking doors and securing their belongings. Students have also been advised that they can contact campus security at any time of day by calling 207-786-6254. 

Those who feel unsafe have access to safe rides and campus safety escorts by calling the aforementioned phone number. The campus safety emergency line is also available at 207-786-6111. The college also reminded students of the blue light system, which consists of a series of call boxes on campus that students can activate in order to request the immediate presence of campus security in the event of an emergency. 

President Spencer suggested that making changes would have to be a group effort, writing that “enhancing safety within any community requires a multilayered approach and the engagement of everyone. To that end, there are steps we all can take to keep our community safe.”

A separate email was also sent to the parents of Bates students. It provided parents with all of the information that was provided to students. It also suggested ways in which students could seek advice on campus life and academics. Parents were encouraged to speak to their students about programming offered by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and by the Multifaith Chaplaincy.