I take issue with Auburn Mayor Jonathon Labonte’s comments (Sun Journal, March 19, “Bates panel tackles student involvement”).

Mayor Labonte believes the L-A communities would be better served if attempts were made to “bust up the Bates bubble.” He said, “I call it a moat.”

He should study the facts.

The Harward Center website has a report that clearly shows how many hours of involvement is provided by Bates College. Some 12,629 hours were provided in connection with public schools in both Lewiston and Auburn, and 1,143 students participated in academic learning from the fall of 2012 through the summer of 2013.

Bates students provided homework help at the Lewiston Public Library.

Other volunteer activities include Blake Street Tower, Tree Street Youth, court house assistance at the District Court, Auburn School Department, helping students prepare for SAT testing, Park Avenue Elementary Harvest Festival, Poland Regional High School, and more.

Thirty years ago, my three daughters participated in the Big Sister program sponsored by Bates College. Bates students provided tutoring at Pettingill School, held gymnastics classes and other activities.

As a senior citizen, I use their track, eat at their dining hall and attend plays and events at the Olin Arts Center. I do not see a moat. I see a first class institution that shares its time and talents as a neighbor.

The Bates College family is not recognized enough or thanked for the great asset they bring to our cities.

Diane Grandmaison, Lewiston

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