Update on Investigation

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I write today to report to you on the results of the college’s investigation into an incident on March 5, 2021, during which a Campus Safety Officer placed a student in handcuffs. Please note that the names of those involved directly in this incident have not been provided in order to protect their privacy.

On March 5, 2021, a Bates College Campus Safety Officer (Officer 1) entered a residence hall and encountered a group of students on the second floor in a common area lounge. Officer 1 spoke to Student A, who attempted to evade the officer, and the officer and Student A engaged in a physical confrontation that resulted in the officer placing Student A in handcuffs, with the assistance of another Campus Safety Officer (Officer 2) who had been called to the residence hall by Officer 1. A Lewiston Police Department (LPD) patrol officer also responded to Officer 1’s request for assistance. The LPD officer released Student A from handcuffs and no charges were brought against Student A. In the immediate aftermath of this incident, the college learned that Officer 1 had been recorded earlier this winter making statements to students suggesting that he and other members of the Campus Safety staff enforced college rules differently based on the race of the students. Officer 1 was placed on administrative leave on Sunday, March 7.

Both of these events raised immediate and serious concerns across the campus community. In order to make informed and considered judgments about cause, accountability, and remedy, the college needed first to establish an accurate understanding of the facts. To that end, the college, through its counsel, engaged an external investigator, Sarah Worley, to investigate the events of March 5, as well as Officer 1’s earlier statements, which have raised broader concerns about the proper role of and performance by Campus Safety officers at Bates. In order to provide an appropriately prompt resolution concerning the March 5 incident without compromising the college’s need to conduct a more far-ranging inquiry into Campus Safety, the investigation was separated into two phases. The first phase, relating to March 5, has been completed, and this message is being sent to summarize the findings of that phase. The second phase is in progress and will be completed as quickly as possible. 

Please click here to view a summary of the investigation into the March 5 incident.

Carl Steidel
Senior Associate Dean of Students