Letter to the Bates Community

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My Fellow Bates Students,

Today marks over a month since Student Government has been in full force, working hard to transform itself into a more student-facing organization. This necessary rebuild comes with a host of diligent effort and, to be completely honest, a lot of trial and error. We are living in an extraordinary time at Bates, one of many changes. And those changes are constantly shaping how we study, learn, and grow during our time here. Much of the work that we do sometimes goes unnoticed; behind all the Instagram posts with Clayton, and the other fun publicity, there’s a great team of people working alongside me to make Bates an even better institution than what we are blessed to have currently. Therefore, I believe it only necessary to publicize the work we’ve been involved in over the past month to all of you.

As Bates continues to grow its endowment and financial aid, we will begin to accept more international students and individuals from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Consequently, this will cause more students to remain here during breaks, either due to lack of funds or distance of travel. It is for that reason that we are working tirelessly with Christine Schwartz to make meals free during breaks, in hope to create a more convenient atmosphere for students who remain on campus.

Obviously, our relationship with the city of Lewiston remains somewhat fragmented. This is disheartening because of the work we have done to bridge the gap between the school and the community. What we have proposed is working with both the Bates College Democrats and Republicans to get the new mayoral and City Council candidates up to Bates. This will allow us to understand which candidates have the true desire to work with the Bates community and repair the relationship between us and the neighbors.

In the meantime, if our social scene must transition to more events on campus, that cannot happen without a philosophical change from our Department of Security. Student Government has created a Security Advisory Council. This separate body, composed of faculty and students, will work in constant conjunction with the Department on its philosophy, policy, and procedural changes, as well as act as place to bring complaints concerning Security Officers.

Additionally, we recognize the inconvenience of the many cards one must have to function here at Bates. An I.D., a laundry card, and a debit or credit card to buy food at the Den or gear from the bookstore. Student Government is in the process of working with Geoffrey Swift to create a single card system, one that works as an ID, a laundry card, and to introduce BatesBucks, a refillable debit-like system that allows you to make purchases at the Den or bookstore. A long-term addition to this plan includes making laundry free for all students.

On a larger scale, some of our long-term goals include teaming up with Jason Fein, our new Athletic Director, to envision what changes can be made to our facilities while we await the plans for our new gym and fitness centers. We are also working along with the administration and the Human Resources department to increase diversity among not only our faculty, but also our campus workers, as the diversity within the city of Lewiston should be more apparent within the composition of our staff.

None of these goals are simple, and they require a lot of dedication and compromise, but we are willing to go the distance for the student body, as that is what our transformation is all about. For you all, there are tons of ways that you can stay updated, get involved, and let us know what you’re thinking. Follow @bates_stugov on Twitter, Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook. Our Student Government meetings are every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Benjamin Mays Center, and they’re open to every student. And don’t forget about the Speak Out forum on our website, where you can write up any complaint no matter how big or small and we’ll do our absolute best to resolve your issue.

Once again, our willingness to vigorously represent your interests will not waiver, and we encourage you all to work with us as we work alongside the administration and continue to change Bates for us, for the future of this institution, and make Bates the best possible place for each and every person here.

Stay Great,

Walter Washington II ’19

Student Body President

Copyright (C) 2016 The Bates Student