Equity & Inclusion

When Bates opened in 1855, it was New England’s first co-ed college. Since then, we have admitted students regardless of their nationality, race, religion, sex, or socio-economic status. While this openness was at the core of our founding identity and principles, it has been tested throughout time and requires us to constantly reflect upon and recommit to our mission. 

Our Mission Statement

Since 1855, Bates College has been dedicated to the emancipating potential of the liberal arts. Bates educates the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship in a collaborative residential community. With ardor and devotion — Amore ac Studio — we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action. Preparing leaders sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world, Bates is a college for coming times.

From the President’s Desk: The Work of Antiracism at Bates

On June 15, 2020, President Clayton Spencer sent a message to the campus community affirming and detailing the college’s commitment to the work of antiracism. To learn more about Bates’ commitment to racial equity and inclusion as a core institutional and mission-driven priority, please read President Spencer’s full statement.


Interested in learning more about what our community is talking about? We invite you to explore our Equity, Inclusion, Access, Anti-Racism and Educational Justice Resources.

Prologue to Bates

At Bates, we value the diversity of persons and perspective, and engage in the transformative power of our differences. Our commitment to equity and inclusion is the guiding principle behind Prologue to Bates, a program geared towards students who express interest in being a part of our inclusive and pluralistic community. Seniors who attend school in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are welcomed to apply, especially students who are first-generation-to-college, low-income, and historically underrepresented in higher education.

Apply to Prologue

Bates Beginnings

Bates Beginnings is a cohort experience for admitted students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education, including first-generation-to-college students, low income, and historically underrepresented in higher education. Traditionally, Bates Beginnings is a fly-in program that provides travel and overnight housing for admitted students who have not visited campus during admitted students’ receptions in April. Depending upon COVID-19 conditions at the time, Bates Beginnings may be virtual.

Office of Equity and Inclusion

The Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) advances the college’s commitment to equity and inclusion by implementing and supporting campus-wide initiatives that strategically and proactively promote an inclusive excellence and educational justice.

Office of Intercultural Education

The Office of Intercultural Education (OIE) supports that Bates College community by providing educational cultural programming to students. Learn more about Bobcat First!, a program for first generation to college students; Heritage Experiences; LGBTQIAP2+ and SPARQ! programming and mentorship; and our Let’s Talk program.

Student Affairs

The Student Affairs Office intentionally manages all support for students centrally to create a more supportive and cohesive experience.

Learn about our support for International Students and Accessible Education.