Common Reading 2017

During Orientation, the first-year class and many others in the Bates community will share the experience of reading the selected Common Reading for this year, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson.

A committee of Bates students, faculty, and staff met throughout the fall and early winter to consider and review a wide range of books to use as the Common Reading this year. After considerable deliberation, we chose Just Mercy for a number of reasons. With social justice and mass incarceration at the foreground of conversations on this campus as well as other colleges around the world, Just Mercy, offers timely and accessible insight. Additionally, as you embark upon the start of your time in college,  Stevenson’s journey and work provide an incredible example of the responsibility of education and the opportunity for making a difference in the world.

We hope that you will enthusiastically engage with the project of considering your own beliefs about justice and mercy with those of the new community into which you are about to arrive. In your four years, within our beloved liberal arts community, it is our hope that you will have opportunity for these beliefs to be questioned, reinforced, challenged, supported, complicated, and affirmed.

We ask that you dive into this wonderful selection prior to your arrival in August. As you do, consider all the viewpoints presented and reflect upon your own life philosophies as you prepare to embark upon the intellectual and personal journey that awaits you at Bates.

You should be able to find Just Mercy (2014) at your local bookstore, wherever you regularly purchase books, or via the Bates College Store.

We can’t wait to see you and start the conversation. In the meantime, enjoy the book and your summer.

Warm regards,

Margaret Imber, Associate Dean of the Faculty

Carrie Murphey, Assistant Dean of Students for First-Year Programs