A word of care and thanks

President Garry W. Jenkins offered this message to the campus community on Oct. 27, 2023, two days after the mass shooting in Lewiston.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Today was supposed to be a glorious day of celebration for the college. Instead, as the shelter-in-place order following the Wednesday shootings in Lewiston continues, we’re saddened, disappointed, uncertain, and angry. And it’s especially hard to reconcile that difficult reality with the beautiful October day unfolding around us.

I am hugely appreciative of the grace and patience that you all have displayed in the face of this tragedy and the ongoing search for the suspect. Thank you for continuing to adhere to the state’s lockdown orders and for adapting as necessary. Safety remains the priority for everyone in our community, and you are all contributors to that effort.

Students, thank you for following the meal retrieval protocol so well — and with such good spirit— yesterday, which will occur again today. Jon and I loved seeing you and your smiling faces, and we were grateful to be able to be in community with all of you. We of course hope you will be back at the tables in Commons together again very soon.

Staff and faculty who have remained on campus and kept essential services running, thank you for your tireless dedication to our students, and for all you give to Bates. Yesterday Jon and I heard many words of appreciation for our staff and stories of amazing acts of support and kindness from faculty and staff that were so meaningful to students and to each other.

And to everyone else who has helped in small ways and large, or who has signaled a desire to be of service, or who has contributed simply by following the official mandates of the moment—you have my enduring thanks.

I want to assure you that we are working diligently to provide support and resources for our community, and we are sharing everything we know about the evolving situation. We are in regular communication with law enforcement, and I have spoken with both Gov. Mills and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. These conversations have helped us make the best and most informed decisions about our community’s safety, particularly with regard to the limited movements of students and staff. In general, though, we know about the same as you know from watching or reading the news.

Please continue to follow the shelter-in-place order and watch for updates from us. And please continue to help one another through this. I know that you will.

Take good care,


Garry W. Jenkins
President, Bates College