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Bates College

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
2 Andrews Rd
Lewiston, Maine 04240
(207) 786-6255
Email address
School Information
Bates College is a coeducational, nonsectarian, residential college with special commitments to academic rigor and to assuring in all of its efforts the dignity of each individual and access to its programs and opportunities by qualified learners. Bates prizes both the inherent values of a demanding education and the profound usefulness of learning, teaching, and understanding. Bates was founded in 1855, over 150 years ago, by people who believed strongly in freedom, civil rights, and the importance of a higher education for all who could benefit from it. Bates is devoted to undergraduate education in the arts and science, and commitment to teaching excellence is central to the college’s mission. The college is recognized for its inclusive social character; there are no fraternities or sororities, and student organizations are open to all. When founded in 1855, Bates was the first coeducational college in New England, admitting students without regard to race, religion, national origin, or sex. In the mid-19th Century, Oren B. Cheney, a Dartmouth graduate and minister of the Freewill Baptist denomination, conceived the idea of founding the Maine State Seminary in Lewiston. Within a few years the seminary became a college, and it was Cheney who obtained financial support from Benjamin E. Bates, the Boston manufacturer for whom the College was named.
General Information
"The Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is an institutional partner in the advancement of the college’s commitment to inclusive excellence and educational justice. Through close collaboration with the campus community, the OEI works to create a welcoming, inclusive, physically safe, and appreciative educational experience for all constituents. The OEI is committed to training and development of all campus community members. As a thought leader in our racial and equity work, the OEI is supporting faculty and staff as they move through the first stages of racial equity training, members from the office helped lead the first year Centering Racial Equity workshop for the class of 2023 and will be developing a strategic plan for training and workforce development moving forward. Along with racial equity training for faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, the college has hired their first Vice President of Equity and Inclusion to help frame the next iteration of this work as a senior administrator. The VPEI will build on the good work of colleagues, previous and current, in meeting the every changing and growing diversity of needs in the campus community." (source:

Actions Taken

Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • In 2020, Bates College President Clayton Spencer announced the funding for new Social Justice Internships, as well as an expansion of racial equity training campus-wide. This includes a Mellon Presidential Grant.
  • The Office of Equity and Inclusion sponsors a Social Justice Speaker series. Previous speakers have included Shaun King and Ibram X. Kendi, among many others.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • After a "long talk" with Ibram X. Kendi, Bates now requires all STEM faculty to participate in a semester-long education process to create an "equitable and inclusive learning environment for STEM interested students from historically marginalized or minoritized backgrounds that will promote their success in STEM." In addition, they will actively promote work by "BIPOC students."
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • Bates will partner with the Central Maine YWCA for an anti-racism rally and march in April 2021. The event purports to provide resources for ending "structural racism" as a public health threat that affects "access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, political power, and other social determinants of health."
Last updated October 13th, 2022
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