Bates College Updates Campus Safety Policies Following Safety Incidents

Bates College will continue to make changes and improvements to its security protocols following several on-campus safety incidents this year, according to an email sent to students by Associate Dean of Students and Director of Operations Blake M. Reilly and Director of Campus Safety Paul Menice on May 8.

Campus safety improvement projects outlined in the email include additional cameras at entrances and exits to residential buildings; improvements to to ID scan technology at building entrances; improved lighting in several areas of campus, including the Historic Quad, Frye Street, and the Chu and Village parking lots; increased information about blue light security phones on campus; increased Campus Safety staff presence; and more opportunities for students to engage with Campus Safety staff members.

According to Reilly and Menice’s email, these plans were made following consultation with outside experts, a review of campus by internal staff and discussions with the Bates community. They come in the wake of what Reilly and Menice referred to in their email as “a number of troubling incidents related to college safety and security.” This academic year, a student was hit by a truck outside of Parker Hall, a student was struck by an unidentified man on Alumni Walk, a student was assaulted outside of Pettingill, a student claimed to have had items stolen from inside a residential building, several student bicycles were stolen and six student vehicles were vandalized in the Village parking lot. In general, crime at Bates rose in 2022, though this is partially attributable to a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Several changes to improve campus security are already ongoing. Reilly and Menice’s email said that efforts are “underway” to improve campus lighting in several locations. Since the fall semester, Campus Safety officers have also increased their presence on campus and hosted several events to increase student interaction, including an ice cream meet-and-greet, cookie and pizza giveaways and a luncheon over winter break for international students.

Over the summer, further changes will be made. Before the beginning of the fall semester, the systems that students use to scan into buildings will be “upgraded with technology that improves the safety and security of these devices,” according to the email.

Also over the summer, additional security cameras will be added to residence halls. Referencing concerns about both campus security and ensuring that students do not feel inappropriately surveilled, the email explained that cameras will be added to the entrances and exits of residential buildings and not to hallways or living spaces. They also shared the college’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Use Policy, which explains that under normal circumstances cameras are not continuously monitored and footage is deleted after 14 days. It also lays out the college’s policies governing the release of footage and the authorization of camera usage.

Students who need to contact Campus Safety for any reason can use one of the 140 blue light security phones on campus or dial 207-786-6254. Campus Safety officers can provide safe rides and escorts, connect students to necessary resources and respond to emergencies. Students with general questions about new policies should email Menice at [email protected].