A Message to Our Community

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Our Lewiston community has suffered a terrible and senseless tragedy in the past 12 hours, one that touches many who live and work here. No matter how many times something like this happens, I find myself at a loss for words. And this time, it happened so close to home. Our thoughts are with those who have close ties to those who were killed or injured. Unfortunately, as the search for the person of interest continues, we remain in an emergency situation under shelter-in-place orders. 

I want to let you know what I know at this time, which is that one college employee was present at one of the shooting locations and was injured, but is expected to make a full recovery. To the best of our knowledge, two students were also near one of the crime scenes but were unharmed.

Of course, an event like this affects everyone in our community, and I imagine many of us are working through feelings of fear and anxiety right now. Please review the messages that you have received from Geoffrey Swift (our Vice President for Finance and Administration and point person for emergency response) where resources for support are given in detail.

One of our best resources, at a time like this, is one another. Please connect with the people around you—to both give and receive support.

I should be clear that the lockdown continues, and I thank you for your patience with the challenges that it brings. Thanks too for your understanding as the college works to address events as they are unfolding, as we consult with the Lewiston Police Department, and as we strive to meet the most urgent needs of our community as quickly as possible. Now and always, the safety of our students, employees, and visitors is our number one priority.

As you know, the college had a presidential inauguration planned for tomorrow, with events starting today. Given the tragedy and the current circumstances, we have decided to postpone all inauguration events until a later date and keep our focus on dealing with the ongoing emergency. We will update you when we have more information.

Please continue to look for email updates from Geoffrey Swift with more details on the lockdown and the college’s response. You can also find all updates at emergency.bates.edu.

Finally, my deepest gratitude to all the helpers: to the members of the Bates EMS who are serving as first responders, to the staff and faculty who are helping support students through lockdown, and to each of you who are supporting a friend or colleague or classmate through this genuinely terrifying and challenging time. May we continue to seek and find strength in one another as we work through the fallout from this horrifying act of violence.

Take good care, and take care of each other.


Garry W. Jenkins
President, Bates College