Living Respectfully in Lewiston
As a community, we take pride in our students, the contributions they make to college and community, and the social and educational atmosphere of our campus. This means that we have high expectations of our students, both in and out of the classroom. We also recognize that Bates exists within a vibrant and diverse city, and we encourage our students to engage deeply in the life of Lewiston and Auburn.
Each year, approximately 140 Bates students, almost all of whom are seniors, live off campus in the neighborhoods surrounding the college. We expect and hope that the opportunity to reside off campus offers students the chance to experience independent living as respectful neighbors with those around them. Unfortunately, in the past, not all students have met these expectations, causing late-night disturbances for our neighbors and other quality-of-life concerns, such as finding trash or vomit in their yard the day after a party at a student-leased residence. Last year, a heightened level of discontent was expressed by some members of the community about the behavior of some of our students. With the new academic year upon us, we write to ask your help in resetting the relationship between our off-campus houses and our neighbors.
Over the past six months, Bates representatives from Student Affairs, Security and Campus Safety, and Finance and Administration have met regularly with officials from the City of Lewiston, Lewiston Police, and the Lewiston Fire Department to discuss the concerns raised by a number of community members . These conversations have been productive and have resulted in a multifaceted approach for the coming academic year.
Just a few weeks ago, Lewiston Police hosted a public meeting on the Bates campus for local residents. The Chief of Police delivered a clear message that students should expect a more visible presence of officers in the neighborhoods surrounding our campus. Students living off campus should also expect additional follow-up from officers should issues arise from events at their residence. As has been the case for many years, Lewiston Police will continue to partner closely with Bates Security and Campus Safety to keep both our campus and the surrounding community safe and secure.
We are aware that it is often late-night and weekend events at off-campus houses that have the most potential to be disruptive to our neighbors. Over the past year, the Office of Campus Life has worked to expand weekend and late-night events on campus so that there are more opportunities to socialize on campus. Examples of this include the Late at Bates program and Wind Down Weekends. In addition, Campus Life will begin offering a greater number of student events at which alcohol will be available to those 21 and over. These events will be designed to bring students together in fun, meaningful, and safe ways. Finally, Residence Life has expanded opportunities for block and group housing in order to provide more opportunities for large groups of friends to live together on campus. These are just some of the recent efforts to strengthen our sense of community on campus.
Even with these expanded opportunities for social life on campus, we know that we may still experience disruptive student behavior off campus. We have reviewed and updated our policies for working with off-campus houses that host events that are disruptive or that result in other concerns. And, as always, individual students who violate our community standards, whether on or off campus, may be referred to our student conduct system.
Finally, the Lewiston City Council has been reviewing a number of proposed ordinances, including some related to parking and zoning in the area surrounding Bates. We will keep students informed regarding the potential impact of any such developments.
As we do each year, we will host a meeting at the beginning of the fall semester with students living off-campus to provide an opportunity to discuss these issues in more detail. We will also continue to partner with our off-campus students and city officials to offer support and address any concerns as they arise. It is important to recognize, however, that we will need active leadership and engagement on the part of students living off campus to make progress toward a more respectful and harmonious relationship with local residents.
Please know that we value all that Bates students do for the community, and we thank you in advance for your help in making the relationship with our neighbors as strong as it can be. Please contact either of us if you have any questions or comments.
Carl Steidel, Senior Associate Dean of Students
Paul Menice, Interim Directory of Security & Campus Safety