LEWISTON — An uptick in crime on the Bates College campus has prompted the school to reassure students and staff that the administration is working with local police to help prevent more incidents and ensure safety, according to a letter from President Clayton Spencer.

“We have a fundamental duty to protect the safety and well-being of our students, as well as our faculty and staff,” Spencer said in the letter released Tuesday. “Thus, we take very seriously any incident in which members of our community are harmed, threatened with harm, or made to feel unsafe.”

Bates College’s crime log from Sept. 1 to Oct. 17 reports two instances of sexual assault, one a rape that was referred to Bates’ Title IX officer.

The Title IX Team’s role “is to eliminate, prevent, and redress all known instances of bias, harassment and discrimination, including sexual violence, stalking, and relationship violence,” according to the college’s website.

There were nine burglaries, six instances of criminal mischief and six of criminal trespass, five disorderly conducts, five reports of suspicious vehicles, 11 reports of suspicious persons, nine bicycle thefts, four other thefts and five instances of vandalism.

The president’s office declined to comment on Title IX reports since they are confidential, however, students can also file complaints with the police.


Spencer said the college is working closely with the Lewiston Police Department on each investigation while also analyzing trends. Bates has hired a safety consultant with experience in college and university settings to help identify solutions while taking into account the complexity of the national landscape and how community, safety and privacy intersect, Spencer said. The consultant will help assess the campus’s greatest risks and any gaps in the college’s mitigation strategies.

“It should be noted that many of the thefts involve individuals not affiliated with Bates,” she said. “Understanding the specific circumstances of the recent incidents is essential to developing effective preventive measures. . . . Enhancing safety within any community requires a multilayered approach and the engagement of everyone.”

Lt. Derek St. Laurent of the Lewiston Police Department said his department’s responses to campus incidents in recent weeks have largely been “crimes of opportunity,” adding that the department and the college have a good working relationship and officials hope to address the problems with some simple steps.

“Some of this happens when students leave their rooms unlocked, sometimes going to the bathroom or down the hall to a friend’s room,” St. Laurent said. “But (crime) is one of those things where we’re all in the same boat.  . . . When someone calls, we respond.”

Students, faculty and staff can call Campus Safety 24 hours a day at 207-786-6254. Spencer said Campus Safety can give rides or escorts and can connect students at any time to residence life coordinators for housing and personal needs. Bates College also has blue light boxes across campus for emergencies and a Campus Safety emergency line at 207-786-6111.

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