Invitation to Controversy

Bates egalitarianism bumped into the Bush campaign Sept. 29 when the Bates Republicans student group welcomed President Bush’s daughters, Barbara (left) and Jenna, who addressed an invitation-only gathering in Skelton Lounge as club president Oliver Wolf (right) looked on. The gathering was a thank-you from the Bush campaign to the Bates Republicans (the more active Bates political-party club) for its work, but the event’s exclusive nature caused soul-searching on campus, as critics noted that the Bates mission statement promises activities “open to all.” The Bates College Student Government investigated and noted that while security issues required a small, controlled event, the club violated ideals “Bates hold[s] dear” by restricting access. The club also violated budget rules by accepting $1,000 from the Bush campaign. The BCSG is pondering legislation that would levy financial penalties against Bates groups that close sponsored events to the campus community. But no one could quibble with the Bush event’s location: Skelton Lounge is named for William Skelton 1892, a noted Maine Republican.