Bates is a small campus, and most students describe it as “self-contained.” Some of the college-owned houses spread into the city, but generally, Batesies opt to reside right on their well-lit, well-patrolled campus. Despite the incidents that took place in the past, most students feel safe on campus. Security officers definitely make their presence felt, although not in an imposing way; most security personnel are friendly and more than willing to chat or even hang out with students. Because so many security members ride bikes or walk around, rather than patrolling the campus in vans, they are an obvious presence on campus and very approachable to any students who have questions or concerns. Security members are not campus police—they are much more interested in keeping students safe than in punishing them. Security is not the enemy at Bates, and students here recognize the effort security members put forth in order to keep them safe and truly appreciate the fact that security accomplishes this so non-invasively.
Ever since the rape and murder that occurred several years ago and the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, security at Bates has become much more stringent. Only students have access to residential buildings and must scan their student ID on the keycard sensor in order to enter the dorms. Students must also scan their ID cards to access the gyms and the dining hall, as well as certain academic buildings after 7 p.m. In the event of a campus-wide emergency, security notifies students by e-mail, phone calls, and texting. While security is certainly strict in regards to student safety, security members are still very friendly. Students from other colleges are uniformly amazed by the friendly relationships students enjoy with members of security. There is a different security member responsible for each dorm, and each generally makes an effort to become friendly with the students living there.