On & Off Campus
Sex-Assault Cases Challenge Home Rule
A quiet candlelight vigil turned into a rowdy protest in March when several hundred students marched from the library terrace to the President’s House shortly after midnight. Calling to President Harward, the students angrily accused the College of not doing enough to notify the campus community about cases of sexual misconduct among students.
The students, fueled by rumors about recent incidents of alleged sexual assault on campus, eventually dispersed (as did the police officers who responded to the noisy gathering) after Harward offered to meet with the students in the morning.
Thus began the issue du semestre,which remained hot for the next several weeks.
In the days just prior to and after the March protest at the President’s House, several women brought sex-assault charges against three male students (the incidents were unrelated). In the first case, the student withdrew from Bates before facing the Student Conduct Committee (SCC), convened to hear the charges. In the second case, the student was expelled from Bates; he then appealed the decision. In the third case, the student was suspended for the rest of the 1998 academic year and the coming fall semester; he is likely to appeal his case.
In each case, the students involved were acquaintances. In at least one case, alcohol played a major role.
Though the College did announce the outcome of each case, students say they want to be informed much earlier, such as when a sex-assault complaint is first filed. “If students had as much information as they could, then things like [the protest] wouldn’t happen,” senior Marino Inchaustegui told The Bates Student.
While students clamored for more immediate information, the administration tried to balance that demand with the need to maintain strict confidentiality in all cases of student misconduct.
In the days following the protest, Dean of Students F. Celeste Branham announced that the College will send notices to the campus community when formal complaints about sexual assault are received by the Dean of Students and scheduled for a hearing through the SCC, where confidentiality is promised.
Throughout the spring, Bates took heat from the statewide media for not involving the local police in cases of campus sexual assault or rape.
Bates officials responded by explaining that sex-assault victims are encouraged to pursue charges with police. However, the police can only be involved if the victim chooses to file criminal charges. If a victim chooses to employ only the College’s disciplinary procedures, then local authorities are not actively involved.
In the sex-assault cases heard this spring, none of the women involved have gone to the police. Indeed, a Boston Globestory revealed that college students rarely go to the police with sex-abuse charges. “Many women are uncomfortable going to local police departments, for one prime reason: confidentiality. Neither the accuser nor the accused wants the rest of the campus in on the case.”
“As a residential college, we work to handle these issues with compassion and integrity,” President Harward said. “Our procedures uphold community standards and we sanction those who violate them. We preserve a victim’s right to pursue what he or she determines is the appropriate next step.
“We are not an arm of, or a replacement for, the criminal-justice system,” he continued.
Opinion pieces in the Portland Press Herald, the Lewiston Sun- Journal,and the Bangor Daily News argued that a college judicial system is inappropriate for dealing with sexual assault.
Those conclusions, however, missed the point that federal regulations oblige Bates and other colleges to have explicit campus standards regarding sexual assault and a system to enforce those standards. In fact, failure to do so could result in the forfeit of federal dollars for financial aid and faculty research.
A campus task force has been formed to research policies, practices, and responses to issues of sexual assault at Bates and other colleges.
Thanks to You
Given by Bates seniors last year to express thanks for the efforts of Bates staff members, the Class of 1997 Scholarship Fund recently granted its inaugural awards.
Christopher Gousse of Lewiston and Brian Houston of Poland are the first recipients of scholarship grants from a fund established for children of Bates employees — particularly the College’s hourly staff.
Gousse, a senior at Lewiston High School, will use his $500 scholarship to help defray the cost of tuition at Wyoming Technical Institute, where he will study business and automobile body repair and custom painting. Kathy Arsenault, Gousse’s mother, is secretary to the dean of admissions at Bates.
Houston, a senior geology major at the University of Maine, will use his $500 scholarship to help finance a three-week geology field trip to the Himalayan mountains. He is the son of Joan Houston, a secretary in the Facility Services department.
The scholarship endowment was established through the traditional Senior Gift. In announcing the gift last year, Senior Gift chair Stuart Abelson ’97 said the fund is an expression of gratitude. “We are very pleased to honor those who befriended us and contributed so positively to our Bates experience. We hope that this fund reminds everyone who works, learns, and teaches here that what is most important about Bates College is Bates people.”
Proof arrived in February that the Bates campus offers something of interest to nearly every visitor, human and avian.
Birders Gail Mackiernan and Barry Cooper of Maryland travel all over the world looking for feathered friends. While traveling in New England in February, they trekked to the Bates campus in search of Bohemian waxwings, a wide-ranging species with vagabond habits. Mackiernan and Cooper were tipped off to the waxwings’ presence by fellow bird enthusiast David Haines, professor of mathematics at Bates.
This is how it went down, according to Mackiernan:
“February 22: It was a beautiful, sunny, and completely calm day. We were at the Bates College campus by 7:15 a.m. We started driving up and down neighboring streets, looking for birds sitting in trees. A quick shortcut through a hospital parking lot, out of the car and we had them: Bohemian waxwings, about three hundred of them! It was 7:47 a.m. exactly. We assembled the Questar [birding telescope] and soon were enjoying great views of all the salient field marks of these beautiful birds.
“However, the flock was restless and soon took off, calling (their call is lower in pitch and less thin than a cedar waxwing’s) and flying very high and far to the south. We resumed our quartering of the campus and neighboring streets. Many houses had Rowan trees, crabapples, or other berried trees and bushes, so you can see why waxwings like this area.
“Eventually, we saw another flock just north of campus. These birds proved more cooperative, and we were soon watching them feed on berries close to the ground. As we stood there, we realized that more and more birds were coming in. All up and down the street and all around the block were Bohemian waxwings with a few cedars mixed in. There were hundreds in the trees, eating snow on the ground and on roofs, bathing in snowmelt in the gutter, walking on driveways (I cannot recall ever seeing a waxwing walkbefore), flying in and out of berry bushes, calling loudly, tearing berries from the twigs as if starved, passing berries to their friends and relatives, and whizzing by our heads as they flew from one side of the street to another.
“Barry and I stood mesmerized by the Bohemians, which were putting on a show which we may never see repeated. We made a circuit of the entire block and estimated at least five hundred birds (probably more). I called David Haines from our car phone: ‘We are surrounded by Bohemian waxwings!'”
How to wind down after a week of hitting the books? Rob Chavira ’99 donned boxing gloves and spent a few rounds hitting — and getting hit.
At the Lewiston Armory in March, Chavira made his boxing debut as part of a Friday-night slate of amateur fights. He faced a fighter from Rumford, winning a three-round decision in a 178-pound match with a couple hundred Bates students cheering him on.
“The big difference between sparring in the gym and fighting [at the Armory] was the crowd,” Chavira said. “In the gym, everyone there is trying to help you. But during the fight, you’re on your own, trying not to disappoint the people who’ve come out to see you.”
Chavira, an American cultural studies major at Bates, is a lifelong boxing fan (his Texas hometown of Brownsville is a boxing hotbed), but he didn’t find his way into the ring until he came to Lewiston, a city best known among boxing fans as the place where Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston with a “phantom punch” in 1965.
“I went to a cardiovascular class at the YMCA, where they had a bike and a couple of bags, but I wanted to try the real thing,” Chavira explained in a Lewiston Sun-Journal story.
He was told to go to the gym of Joe Gamache Sr., the father of hometown boxing hero Joey Gamache, a two-time world lightweight champion.
Chavira said he enjoys boxing, and intended to box again before the school year ended. “I don’t think there’s any sociopolitical reason for it. I just want to try it out. If I find I have some talent, I’d like to do something with it.”
His grandfather was a Golden Gloves boxer, so his family isn’t fazed by Chavira’s interest in the sweet science. “They’re pretty supportive,” he said. “They see it as just another extracurricular activity.”
Fee Fi Fo Fum
The Bates Trustees have established a comprehensive fee of $30,070 for the 1998-99 academic year, President Harward announced in February.
Tuition at most of Bates’s peer colleges will also top $30,000 next year. Bowdoin’s overall fee, for example, will be $30,180, and Colby’s will be $30,420.
The Bates increase of 4.96 percent over last year’s fee of $28,650 marks the sixth straight year Bates has kept its annual fee increase to under 5 percent.
In a February letter to parents announcing the new fee, Harward pointed out that the actual cost of educating each Bates student will be almost $39,000 in 1998-99. “The difference between the actual cost and the comprehensive fee is provided by income from the endowment, grants, and support from the Annual Alumni Fund and the Parents Annual Fund,” Harward said.
He also noted that increased giving and earnings from the endowment have allowed Bates to reduce its dependency on fee income, a key measure of a college’s financial vigor. Ten years ago, 86 percent of College revenues came from fees paid by Bates students. Next year, that figure will be 73 percent, the lowest in Bates history.
“We have reduced our fee dependency by increasing other resources and by reducing costs wherever possible,” Harward said. “For 1998-99, we have budgeted no increases in the total costs of the systems and operating offices of the College, while improving the qualities of what is essential to teaching and learning.”
Nearly $12 million has been allocated for financial aid for 1998-99. During the recently completed academic year, the average financial-aid package at Bates was $18,951, with four out of every ten Bates students receiving need- based College aid.
Devlin is Development Veep
Victoria M. Devlin is the new vice president for development and alumni affairs at Bates. She replaces Ron Joyce, who resigned last August to take a similar position at Albany (New York) Medical Center and Medical College.
“We are exceedingly pleased with Vicky Devlin’s appointment,” President Harward said. “She is a leader in her field, and we look forward to the vision and talents she brings to the College. Her selection positions Bates to build upon its significant fund-raising successes of the last several years.”
Overseeing a 28-person development and alumni affairs staff at Bates, Devlin will plan and direct the College’s initiatives in the areas of annual, capital, and endowment fund raising, as well as alumni programming for 15,600 Bates graduates worldwide.
Devlin most recently served as vice president for development and marketing at WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, where she was responsible for all development activities for the nation’s largest public broadcaster. Devlin had responsibility for a 120-person staff at WGBH, where she initiated many breakthrough development programs, including a major-gifts program in an organization that had relied heavily on annual giving and corporate sponsorship.
Previously, Devlin held a similar position as senior vice president for development and marketing at WETA in Washington, D.C. A Holy Names College graduate, Devlin completed graduate studies in comparative literature and secondary education at the University of California, Berkeley. Devlin has served on the Founders’ Board, The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Washington, D.C., and on the board of directors of the Woods Hole Foundation. She is vice president for Women in Development in Boston.
Annually, Bates raises in excess of $10 million from nearly 11,000 donors, including alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations. In 1996, Bates concluded a $59.3-million fund-raising campaign, which helped push the permanent endowment to $150 million, a total that has tripled in less than a decade. Ongoing fund-raising initiatives at Bates include securing support for the new, $18-million Academic Building of 91,000 square feet, scheduled to open in 1999.
A French Champion
Three years passed at Bates before French major Jessica Lindoerfer ’98 realized that French was spoken in Lewiston. “That’s how insulated I was,” she told a Lewiston Sun-Journal reporter last winter.
But over the last year, Lindoerfer became something of an expert on the twin cities’ French-Canadian heritage.
Last summer, as an intern for the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce, she helped put together a proposal that convinced Forum Francophone des Affaires (FFA), a group that promotes trade between French-speaking countries and the United States, to locate its U.S. headquarters in Lewiston.
Lindoerfer, from New Milford, Connecticut, served as the contact person for all communications with the organization. Meanwhile, another Chamber intern, Ben Kloda ’98 of Eliot, Maine, provided technical expertise for a multimedia presentation to the organization. A third student, Brian Anton ’99 of Boca Raton, Florida, worked on the project as part of an independent study course.
Lindoerfer’s summer work inspired her honors thesis, as she chose to document the lives of area Franco-American women. She found that some ethnic traditions are not practiced in the home any longer, existing only in the memory of the area’s older citizens. Most notably, French is rarely spoken in the homes of younger Franco-Americans, she said. (Lindoerfer’s findings, in fact, were echoed by a recent Maine state commission report that bemoaned the erosion of French language heritage.)
Other French-Canadian traditions remain strong, such as the Catholic religion associated with the French culture, as well as traditional French cooking and celebrations.
The arrival of Forum Francophone des Affaires has renewed cultural pride, Lindoerfer found. “Nearly every person I talked to has a very strong sense of being Franco-American and being proud of that,” Lindoerfer said. “Almost everyone I talked to mentioned the FFA. A lot of people expressed pride over speaking French.”
Another of Lindoerfer’s tasks at the Chamber of Commerce last summer was translating a speech by then-Mayor John Jenkins ’74 into French for the annual Festival de Joie. Drawing a few chuckles with his unusual pronunciation, the mayor delivered the speech in a language that’s been part of the area’s cultural fabric for more than 130 years.
Big Gifts All Around
A Bowdoin graduate makes million-dollar scholarship gifts to his alma mater…andto Bates and Colby and the University of Maine?
Bring it on.
San Francisco businessman Bernard Osher, a 1948 Bowdoin graduate, made such gifts to the four Maine colleges last winter. In doing so, Osher recognized the higher need for scholarship aid over the tug of college loyalty.
The million-dollar gifts, to be added to the permanent endowments at each school, will provide annual scholarships for students from Maine, with preference for those from York County, particularly Biddeford.
“I grew up in Maine, and I know what a struggle it is for many Maine families and their talented sons and daughters to cope with the cost of college,” said Osher, a Biddeford native.
In accepting Bates’s gift, President Harward underscored the College’s commitment to Maine students.
“Bates has always recognized and valued the promise of excellence that Maine students bring with them,” Harward said. “This has been true from the College’s very first Commencement in 1867, with just eight graduates, all from Maine towns, and all of whom went on to lives of contribution and service — in business, the clergy, education, and medicine. That pattern has been repeated throughout our history, to the College’s great benefit.”
Hug a Tree
As a festive closure to the historic January ice storm, and in celebration of Earth Week at Bates, the College gave away several hundred ten-foot saplings to area residents. The trees came complete with detailed instructions on their care written by Bates’s arborist Bill Bergevin.
The event was held on the afternoon of April 24, with the campus community and visitors also enjoying a complimentary barbecue dinner. Music was provided by the aptly named Winterwood, an acoustic duo featuring Denny Breau and Brad Harnois.
Though several months had passed since the early January ice storm, reminders of its effects were evident even into late April, what with broken limbs still piled high along area roadsides awaiting removal and tree surgeons in cherry pickers working high in the Quad’s maples and elms.
A bone-chilling tradition begun in 1975 continued this year, when several Bates students cut a hole in the ice on Lake Andrews, donned bathing suits, and took a bracing St. Patrick’s Day dip.
Though absent from this year’s Puddle Jump, founders Christopher Callahan ’78, Scott Copeland ’78, and Lars Llorente ’78 have returned to Lake Andrews on St. Patrick’s Day every few years to brave the murky depths and admire the fruit of their ritual-making labor.
While the teeth-chattering plunge can cause headaches, Llorente said their appearance at the tenth-anniversary dip in 1985 was a “head-sweller.” When the crowd found out the founders were there, “they all went down on one knee like we were saviors,” he said.
What began as an “exuberance at the end of a hard winter,” according to Callahan, now has the trappings of legend. The “Dip Master,” the annually appointed grand-poobah of the polar plunge, cuts the hole in the ice with the same ax used for the original puddle jump. Just before midnight, participants gather in the basement of Smith South to hear the Dip Master read from the “Dip Book,” which contains a letter from Copeland as well as the names of Dip Masters past. (If you want to know what’s in the book…see you next year.)
A pair of Dippers — brawny members of the men’s rugby team in years past — stand on either side of the hole, lowering puddle jumpers into what was historically a netherworld of broken bottles, discarded textbooks, and duck droppings.
“One of the greater challenges is to see if you get some strange disease from the yellowish-green water,” Callahan said, though that perceived challenge has diminished in recent years as the Puddle undergoes cleanup and restoration.
Gates, Wallach Named Bates Trustees
New York City businessman James G. Wallach ’64 and author and scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. have been appointed to the Bates College Board of Overseers.
Wallach is chairman and CEO of Central National-Gottesman Inc., a pulp and paper sales and securities company with offices in the United States and around the world. Central National-Gottesman Inc. also distributes printing papers through warehouse facilities from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. Wallach graduated from Bates with a degree in economics in 1964. He attended Deerfield Academy and received an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966 before serving in the Marine Corps Reserves.
Gates, who spoke at the 1994 Bates Commencement and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, is the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Humanities and professor of English at Harvard University. He also chairs the department of Afro-American studies at Harvard and is director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute.
The author of eleven books, Gates has been awarded the American Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolfe Book Award, the Lillian Smith Book Award, the George Polk Award for social commentary, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award, the Zora Neale Hurston Prize, and the faculty prize of the Yale Afro- American Cultural Center. He has been named a Woodrow Wilson National Fellow, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, and a Mellon Fellow. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Lincoln Center Theatre board of directors, the African Literature Association, the Modern Language Association, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, the College Language Association, the Caribbean Studies Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Phi Beta Kappa.
Gates graduated summa cum laudefrom Yale University and received master’s and doctoral degrees from Cambridge University.