A message to the Bates community

Dear Members of the Bates Community,

Last night marked the end of one of the most divisive and vitriolic presidential campaigns in recent U.S. history. Regardless of which candidate you may have voted for, this campaign involved inadequate attention to solutions and policy and an unprecedented resort to language designed to underscore divisions along racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and economic lines.

At this point, the electorate has spoken, and we will accept the result. But we do not need to accept as legitimate discourse or behavior involving the othering of individuals who may not share our political views, our economic circumstances, our racial or ethnic backgrounds, our sex or gender identities, or the paths we have traveled to get where we are.

Rather, I encourage us all to approach each other with open minds and hearts, and recommit ourselves to the values that define us as a community. Bates was established in a divisive time — we gained our college charter in 1864 — yet our founders built an institution based on optimism, idealism, and a commitment to principles of equality and respect for the potential of every human being.

Bates is a strong community because of the conscious effort we make every day to honor our founding values. At our best, we work hard to know, encourage, and celebrate one another, and we embrace the transformative power of our differences. This work is our duty and our privilege, and it is more important than ever.

There are a number of opportunities today and this evening to come together as a campus and reflect on the election and its implications. I hope to see many of you at these events, and I encourage you to seek solidarity in conversation and community.