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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.
  • Bates offers "Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Workshops" and are available to all faculty, staff, and students."
  • All Counseling and Psychological Services staff members "have engaged in a multi-day training on racial equity / social justice." The Department also states that it is "committed to social justice and examining the impact of systemic and historical issues of power, privilege, and access to resources at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels."
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."
  • The college's 2021-2022 Equity and Inclusion Report states that the Office of the Dean of the Faculty has a "primary responsibility for efforts in recruiting and retaining a diverse and excellent faculty, working to create inclusive curricula and pedagogy across departments and programs, and ensuring that we provide effective academic support and advising for all students."
Disciplinary Measures
  • Bates provides a "Report a Bias Incident" link which takes users to an external website where community members can then fill out the report.
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."
  • The college's 2021-2022 Equity and Inclusion Report states the following under its overview section: "During the 2021-22 academic year, the president and a team of colleagues undertook a structured consultation process with students, faculty, and staff to understand their experiences with equity and inclusion efforts at Bates and solicit ideas for approaches that we should consider to improve our consistency and effectiveness in this work."
  • The Office of Equity and Inclusion announced that effective February 27, 2023, "Leana E. Amáez, a seasoned equity and inclusion leader and longtime advocate for underrepresented populations, has been named vice president for equity and inclusion."
  • Bates has an "Equity, Inclusion, Access, Anti-Racism and Educational Justice Resources" webpage.
  • Bate's provides an "AntiRacism Resource List" which includes: "White Fragility: Why Is It So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism" by Robin DiAngelo, "White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America" by Dr. Margaret A. Hagerman, and "When black people are in pain, white people just start book clubs" by Tre Johnson.
Symbolic Actions
  • The Department of Theater and Dance at Bates states the following regarding anti-racism efforts at the college: "In light of this and the recent events that have shaken the nation, we, as a department, will hold ourselves accountable by challenging our own pedagogies and practices in order to make substantive changes that will support the efforts of antiracism and ensure that this progress is sustained and compassionate, while helping us to become more effective teachers and mentors."
  • The English Department at Bates issued a "Statement on Anti-Racism" which reads as follows: "We recognize that the undoing of white supremacy, colonialism, ableism, transphobia, heterosexism, and all exclusionary modes of power must be active, continuous, and conscious labor. To ensure that our commitment to anti-racism is matched by our praxis, the English department is undertaking a review of our curriculum as well as of our research, teaching, mentoring, and hiring practices."
Last updated November 16th, 2023
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