Like many colleges, Bellevue College has incorporated an Ombuds office on campus. BC’s Ombuds office was established in 2007 and is a program that provides an impartial party to dispute any issues that may arise amongst students, faculty and staff. Operating strictly under a code of neutrality and confidentiality, Ombuds is available to anyone on campus to utilize should they need it.
The Ombuds program provides a safe space to discuss any problems anyone at BC may be having. These include grades, discrimination, conflicts, financial issues or any other problems that may arise. For staff and faculty these may include promotion, demotion, compensation, performance evaluation and any conflicts. The Ombuds office’s main goal is to protect and enforce the rights and interests of all employees, students, faculty and staff.
In addition to these amenities, Ombuds also anonymously documents all the issues presented, and at the end of the year analyzes the information in attempt to find a pattern. This allows for the college to take action against any problems that may be persisting.
Ombuds was originally started several years ago after a tragic incident at BC that left college authorities feeling that members of the BC community were in need of more protection. Ombuds serves to provide neutrality based on the law, college policies.
However even if the issue at hand is not protected by the law or college policies, Ombuds can still help brainstorm personal solutions for the one affected to help with their concerns.
Although Ombuds is able and willing to provide solutions to any issues, the office is also available for purely informational purposes and to anyone who just wants to talk. Ombuds will present the student, faculty or staff member with basic campus information as well as a number of possible solutions to their issues and it is then up to the student, faculty or staff member to decide how to act.
Perhaps one of the most important things to keep in mind with Ombuds is not to come in too late. Even if you are unsure if your problem is valid, visit Ombuds anyway. The later the visit is, the harder it is for Ombuds to do anything. Many come to Ombuds much later after the incident in order to protect others from experiencing the same. However, instead of waiting, it is better to come immediately so that Ombuds can act as soon as possible.
Although it is possible to contact Ombuds completely anonymously, this makes it much harder to impose a solution. Ombuds assures strict confidentiality, so it is safe to come with any problem. Ombuds urges anyone to come and visit. Even if the issue you are facing does not have any possible solutions, it is better to check than to allow it to fester.
Ombuds can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (425) 564-2131 or by fax at (425) 564-6144. It can be found in the library behind the reference desk in room D126K.