Lewiston, ME
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3 College Sophomore

Diversity: For the most part, students at Bates are accepting. Bates is pretty diverse, but to some extent.

2 College Junior

Diversity: You'll realize that the groups at Bates aren't exactly diverse. International students tend to stick to themselves, and same with non-international students.

4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Bates has been getting better in becoming a more diverse school, but the demographics is still widely White. There are a good number of international students who add great cultural diversity to the environment, but coming from a low socio-economic family myself, it is hard to find those in similar financial situations as I am. The students are very kind and open, but like any school, we are still far from perfect and there are still prejudgments.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Bates is making a strong push to increase the diversity of the student body and it shows! Minorities are well-integrated, and no social groups are exclusive to one race, religion, or sexuality. At Bates, everyone is accepted no matter who you are

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Diversity: The campus is diverse but the campus is struggling to come up with its own definition of diversity at the moment.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 238th
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 824th
    Most Open-Minded Schools
  • 1158th
    Most Conservative Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Jessie Sawyer
Farmington, CT
English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a Spanish minor
View all previous student authors

Bates was founded by abolitionists on the principles of egalitarianism, and Benjamin E. Mays, a Bates alumnus, was an important figure in the human rights movement. Still, Bates is a college in Maine, and the vast majority of students are white. Students here tend to come from two kinds of backgrounds: those who are able to afford the nearly $50,000-per-year comprehensive fee and those who are paying for their education through scholarships. Over the past few years, diversity has been a big issue at Bates, and after a swatstika and racist comments were seen drawn on walls and dorm room white boards, many students formed a rally to end existing discrimination and further diversity on campus. The administration was very receptive to the students’ views, and organized several forums about how to improve diversity at the College. In 2008-09, for the first time ever, the number of minority students on campus was in the triple digits. Bates also offers a rigorous Hughes scholarship program for first years interested in the sciences, and the program, which takes place over the summer, attracts many minority students, allowing them to acclimate to Bates, make friends, and get a leg-up on their science credits and GPA before their semester even begins. The program is selective and pays the participating students. Politically, Bates is mostly liberal, but there is a small conservative following, as well. Bates, without a doubt, is a two-party college—while there may be some independent party voters on campus, the break-down is mostly Democrat and Republican.

Bates students who aren't able to visit the school before they come here may be surprised by the uniformity of the student body. Even students who aren’t minorities but are used to living in a more diverse environment sometimes feel uncomfortable in such a homogenous student body. But despite the small numbers of minorities on campus, the International Club and other minority clubs are a definite presence. Many students, not just internationals or minorities, attend events organized by these clubs, such as the International Fashion Show and the Asian Dinner. Considering its location and the fact that Bates is a small, private school, the College is about as diverse as you’d expect it to be—which just isn’t very much.

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • Connecticut
  • Foreign countries
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 1%
18-19: 49%
20-21: 44%
22-24: 5%
25+: 0%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 6%
Asian American: 5%
Hispanic: 3%
International: 5%
Native American: 0%
White: 75%
Unknown: 6%
Gay Pride
Bates has a gay-straight alliance called OUTfront. OUTfront organizes events such as Lick-it, a dance in which students wear next to nothing, as a symbol of freely accepting sexuality in all its forms. As Bates is mostly liberal, students are generally accepting of the gay population. Many of the gay/lesbian students on campus came out for their first time to friends at Bates or in OUTfront, so there is support from students who are willing to share their experiences with each other.
Political Activity
The campus is overwhelmingly liberal, and many students are politically active. Many travelled to Washington D.C. to protest the war in Iraq, as well as to attend President Barrack Obama's inauguration. The Bates College Democrats and Republicans help organize voting for students in local and national elections.
Economic Status
The student body contains representatives from many different economic groups. However, a majority of students are from wealthy families. This has led to some tension between Bates students and Lewiston “townies,” but on campus, differences between students’ economic backgrounds are hardly noticed, especially since many wealthy students choose to hold jobs on campus, which leaves few opportunities for differences in economic backgrounds to become apparent.
Most Common Religions
The campus has an ecumenical Christian Fellowship Group with a very diverse membership. Hillel services and events are also well-attended by the Jewish community. The chapel runs a variety of programs representing many different religions. Bates has a chaplain who welcomes religious diversity, organizes services for the different religions and often hosts dinners at his home. He and students run a multi-faith club on campus for people of all religions, including agnostics. There is also a group for the non-religious students on campus. A number of Bates students choose to attend religious services off-campus. The population of Lewiston is largely Catholic and several area churches offer masses in both English and French due to Lewiston's large Franco-American population.
Minority Clubs on Campus
Bates has a Multicultural Center which is affiliated with the school's 11 cultural and ethnic groups. These include Amandla! which aims to promote understanding of African culture, the American Indian Awareness Organization, the Francophone Club, Solidariad Latina, and the Women of Color Organization.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 14 responses

  • 7% Libertarian
  • 14% Not sure
  • 7% Very conservative
  • 14% Conservative
  • 14% Moderate
  • 29% Liberal
  • 14% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 15 responses

  • 0% Libertarian
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 0% Conservative
  • 40% Moderate
  • 0% Not sure
  • 53% Liberal
  • 7% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 15 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 14 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 14 responses

  • 0% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 7% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 36% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 57% Very accepting.
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