Bates security modified after death
After a Bates senior was fatally stabbed in downtown Lewiston this month, campus security procedures there have been substantially revised. Bowdoin's Security Department does not anticipate that the incident will prompt any changes in the College's policies.
Morgan McDuffee, a Bates senior, was attacked in the early morning of Sunday, March 3, Maine State Police Lieutenant Brian McDonough said at a press conference. McDuffee was walking in Lewiston with a group of Bates students when they encountered a group of Lewiston residents.
A fight broke out after the two groups exchanged insults, McDonough said. Police believe that late in the fight's progress, Brandon Thongsavanh, of Lewiston, became involved and stabbed McDuffee. Thongsavanh, 21, was arrested on March 4 at his home in Lewiston.
Bates Dean of Students Celeste Branham, in a March 4 press release, said that Thongsavanh is the son of a Bates employee. Thoune Thongsavanh, his father, works for Bates's Dining Services.
At Bates, the incident prompted immediate changes in campus security procedures. In a message to the Bates community a few days after the murder, President Donald Harward said that patrols by college security officers and Lewiston police officers have increased. Harward also announced that Bates security officers, "effective immediately have expanded the areas of escort and are responding to personal requests for escorting, including those via cell phone."
Bates's safety escort service relies on student dispatchers and escorters. When students call a number to request an escort after dark, student dispatchers take the call and assign student employees to either walk or drive-in a college-owned vehicle-with the student requesting an escort. There is also a daytime shuttle service that ferries students around the campus.
Since McDuffee's murder, those services have been supplemented by security officers, Bates Security Director Larry Johnson said. The officers will take students to off-campus locations that student escorts do not go to.
Bowdoin Security Director Bruce Boucher said that Bowdoin "provides a safe escort service throughout the year." Unlike at Bates, Bowdoin's student escorts are dispatched by Security staff. After 3:00 a.m., requests for escorts are answered by security officers, not students. Security policy is to provide escorts for off-campus students up to one mile from campus.
Bowdoin security officers conduct off-campus patrols, Boucher said, but only to and from outlying properties like the Stanwood Street parking lot and Harpswell Apartments.
Boucher said that he does not expect any changes to Bowdoin's security procedures connected with McDuffee's murder. Students who encounter dangerous situations off-campus should contact the Brunswick police, not Bowdoin Security, Boucher said. If security officers come upon such situations, he said, "and we can intervene, we do intervene," and that the officers would immediately contact the Brunswick police.
McDuffee's murder was not included in the biweekly crime report that the Bates security office is required to publish under the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act. The report- similar to what Bowdoin Security refers to as a "blue sheet"- for the days between February 24 and March 9 lists one bicycle theft, one theft from a motor vehicle, and two criminal trespass warnings, but zero murders.
Johnson said that the rules guiding what is included in the crime reports do not cover crimes that occur off-campus.
The Bowdoin Security Department contacted Bates on March 4 "offering help to our fellow officers." No assistance has been requested, Boucher said.