Bias Incidents & Hate Crimes
At Bates, we acknowledge and celebrate the plurality of identities, social positions, cultural perspectives and individual abilities that contribute to human difference. We believe in the emancipating potential of education to help all members of our community promote, respect and embrace diversity — broadly defined — and to preserve and advocate for human dignity. As we avow in the Bates mission statement, “With ardor and devotion — Amore ac Studio — we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action” to prepare leaders who are “sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world.”
Everyone is different; at Bates, we embrace and learn from that difference.
Reporting an Incident
If you feel that you have been the victim of an incident of hate, bias, discrimination or intolerance, or if you know of a situation you feel constitutes such an incident, please report it in one of the following ways:
1. Contact Gwen Lexow, Director of Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance | Lane Hall 202A | 207-786-6445;
2. Contact Bates Security and Campus Safety | 245 College Street | 207-786-6254; and
3. Report anonymously either online at bates.ethicspoint.com or by phone at 844-251-1879.
Alternatively, individuals may speak with Crystal Williams, who leads the Office of Equity and Inclusion and can assist individuals with filing a report.
As the Director of Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance, Gwen Lexow will work with individuals to investigate and resolve any incidents of bias, discrimination, or harassment. The college encourages individuals to report all incidents of bias and takes all reports seriously. Reporting can assist the college in assessing patterns and addressing behaviors that are antithetical to our community values. Reports may be resolved through informal and formal means, depending on the nature of the incident and considering the needs and desires of the reporting party. Individuals who report incidents will not be compelled to participate in any formal action. Individual privacy and agency are important aspects of our resolution process.
The college follows procedures that are consistent with state and federal law. These procedures include the preparation of annual disclosure of crime statistics in The Bates Annual Security Report. In addition, all incidents that may be considered hate crimes must be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office.
Individuals who wish to file a criminal complaint may do so by contacting the Lewiston Police Department at 207-784-6421. Individuals may also contact Gwen Lexow or Bates Security for assistance with filing a criminal complaint.
Bates Community Response Team
The Bates Community Response Team (BCRT) is a group of senior administrators who work to assess campus climate and to ensure a comprehensive institutional response to bias, discrimination, and hate crimes. Together, they work to achieve three goals:
- Foster a campus community that learns from, respects, and celebrates all forms of difference;
- Prevent incidents of prejudice, discrimination, and harassment on our campus in and in our community; and
- Remedy the effects of any incident that does occur.
Members of the BCRT are:
- Crystal Williams, Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Chief Diversity Officer (co-chair)
- Gwen Lexow, Director of Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance (co-chair)
- Matt Auer, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
- Sean Findlen, Chief Communications Officer
- Brittany Longsdorf, Mulitfaith Chaplin
- Kathy Low, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Psychology
- Melani McGuire, Director of Compensation and Performance Management
- Josh McIntosh, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
- Paul Menice, Interim Director of Security and Campus Safety
- Lexie Mucci, Assistant Director, Office of Intercultural Education
- Danny Sands, Facility Services Manager
- Carl Steidel, Senior Associate Dean of Students for Student Support and Community Standards
A bias incident is any event of intolerance or prejudice, not involving violence or other criminal conduct, intended to threaten, offend or intimidate another because of the other’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or physical or mental disability. Examples of bias incidents include hate speech, gay bashing, racist epithets, religious slurs, sexist jokes or cartoons, hate mail, offensive graffiti, or disparaging remarks on social media sites. Such incidents create a socially divisive atmosphere for members of the community targeted and negatively affect the campus climate.
A hate crime is the violence of intolerance and prejudice, intended to hurt and intimidate, committed against a person, property or society that is motivated by an offender’s bias against a specific characteristic of an individual or a group because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, age or physical or mental disability. Hate crimes are criminal offenses that include acts such as physical assault, stalking, cyberstalking, criminal threatening, intimidation, terrorizing, criminal use of explosives, arson, vandalism or other damage to property, reckless conduct, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or hate mail.
In Maine, several statutes provide civil and/or criminal remedies for bias incidents and hate crimes, including the Maine Human Rights Act,5 M.R.S. §4551 et seq., Maine’s Protection from Harassment Act, 5 M.R.S. §4651 et seq. and the Maine Civil Rights Act, 5 M.R.S.§4681 et seq.
Federal statutes also provide support and protection for victims of bias incidents or hate crimes, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., as amended, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994) and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009).