Statement on May 26 incident

Aug. 23 update: News about court action relating to the May 26 arrests of Bates students will be posted here when available.

Below is the College statement of May 26:

The Bates College community is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred last evening, especially given that this incident involved injury.

Based on preliminary investigation and interviews with those directly involved, we can share the following facts:

  1. Bates Security was called to Smith Hall around 11:38 p.m. in response to a medical call. At that time a crowd of approximately 250 – 300 students was observed by Bates Security Officers in front of Smith Hall.
  2. Our Security Officers attempted to disperse the crowd. The ambulance arriving for the medical call had difficulty getting to its destination as the crowd would not move out of the way. When leaving the scene, the ambulance needed to turn on its lights and siren to get the crowd to move out of the way so that the student could be transported to the hospital.  That student was treated and released from the hospital.
  3. Because Security Officers were still unable to disperse the crowd, they called the Lewiston Police Department for assistance.
  4. Upon arrival, LPD utilized a public address system from their car telling the crowd to disperse. It is estimated that all but approximately 150 students complied and left the scene.
  5. A Lewiston Police Officer was injured on the scene, soon after which officers from neighboring police departments arrived.
  6. Eleven students were arrested with varying charges of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, and/or refusing to submit to arrest, with one of these students also being charged with aggravated assault.  We are aware that a small number of Bates students were also treated for injuries.
  7. The incident lasted less than one hour.

As a college community, Bates has enjoyed a long history of respect between our campus and local law enforcement.  This incident is highly unusual for Bates, where the College’s values are clearly grounded in personal responsibility and respect for others.  The Bates Student Handbook makes clear that membership in the Bates community requires individuals to uphold the highest standards of integrity in all academic and social undertakings, and states the following:

“Bates students are held responsible for their conduct at all times.  Any student who becomes disorderly, is involved in a disturbance, interferes with the rights of others, damages property, brings the name of the college into disrepute, or is individually or as a member of a group involved in unacceptable social behavior on or off campus shall be subject to disciplinary action by the Student Conduct Committee.”

In keeping with our stated policies and procedures, the College has initiated an immediate internal investigation of the specific facts of this incident.  We will also act upon the facts as they are revealed to mitigate against future incidents of this nature on the Bates campus.  We have great concern for our students’ safety at all times.

As the College’s investigation unfolds, we urge all campus constituencies to refrain from making assumptions until all the facts become available.

Elaine Tuttle Hansen

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