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3 College Freshman

Diversity: Usual for a NESCAC school.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: Well its elite lib arts in Maine so a lot of rich white kids but thats not to say that there are many many diverse and mixed groups of people at Bates. The college puts a lot of effort forward to attract a mixed body of students.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Diversity: As with other NESCACs, there can always be improvements in diversity, especially in terms of socioeconomic status. However, coming from a fairly diverse area, I am fairly happy with what is present. The numbers of POCs, first gen, etc keep getting better and better with each new incoming class- all the seniors agree that Bates is much more diverse now than when they were freshman. The LGBTQ+ community isn't too visible but is growing more prominent with each new year. In terms of political views, most people are either liberal or apathetic. Generally most people aren't too religious but the various religious clubs on campus hold many events which are open to the whole campus.

3 people found this useful Report
2 College Sophomore

Diversity: Most students are white and upper-middle class.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Diversity: The school is mainly made up of richer students with liberal views based on what I've experienced. But, there are also some poorer students like me thrown into the mix. On diversity, it's pretty good because of the amount of international students, but not everyone tries to go out of their groups. Usually, though, it seems as though the richer, white kids don't try to diversify their groups that much.

2 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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 19 responses

  • 16% Progressive/very liberal
  • 32% Liberal
  • 11% Moderate
  • 16% Conservative
  • 5% Very conservative
  • 5% Libertarian
  • 16% Not sure

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 23 responses

  • 17% Progressive/very liberal
  • 52% Liberal
  • 30% Moderate
  • 0% Conservative
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 0% Libertarian
  • 0% Not sure

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 24 responses

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

What political party do you associate yourself with?    Based on 11 responses

  • 9% Republican
  • 64% Democratic
  • 18% Independent
  • 0% Other party not mentioned
  • 9% I don't care about politics

How accepted is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community on campus?    Based on 6 responses

  • 83% Very accepted. LGBT students are treated no differently than non-LGBT students.
  • 17% Accepted. LGBT students are treated fairly, but there are still some people who aren't accepting of them.
  • 0% Somewhat accepted. LGBT students aren't necessarily out and proud on campus, for fear of intolerance.
  • 0% Not accepted. LGBT students generally stay quiet.

How accepted is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community on campus?    Based on 12 responses

  • 83% Very accepted. LGBT students are treated no differently than non-LGBT students.
  • 8% Accepted. LGBT students are treated fairly, but there are still some people who aren't accepting of them.
  • 8% Somewhat accepted. LGBT students aren't necessarily out and proud on campus, for fear of intolerance.
  • 0% Not accepted. LGBT students generally stay quiet.

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 19 responses

  • 63% Very accepting.
  • 32% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 5% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 0% It's hard to be a minority here.
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