Frequently Asked Questions
What does the ombuds office do?
The ombuds office is established to help members of Bellevue College including students, faculty members, and staff members, resolve conflict and disputes fairly and informally.
It is an alternative channel to address issues, concerns, conflict, and disputes on campus. The ombuds office does not replace other administrative processes on campus.
When should I consider visiting the ombuds office?
- When you are not sure where to go
- When you want to know what options are available to you
- When other channels on the campus cannot provide the help you need
- When you are not sure if your rights have been intruded
- When you are not sure how and what policy and procedure applies to your situation
- When you have a problem that requires someone to negotiate a solution or facilitate discussion between you and a member of the campus community
- When you want to discuss a sensitive issue in confidence
How does it differ from other offices that handle with complaints on campus?
The ombuds office is a confidential, informal, impartial, independent, and non-adversarial alternative for the resolution of your issues and concerns.
What services does the ombuds office offer to me?
- One-on-one consultation
- Group meeting facilitation
- On-line resources
- Education and training
- Recommendations on institutional change such as policies and procedures revision and change
What if I want to file a formal complaint on my issue?
The ombuds office encourages its client to resolve concerns and issues informally. Talking to the ombuds, however, does not preclude you from using the formal complaint process. The ombuds office will stay out of the process when you proceed with the formal process.
What kind of help does the ombuds office provide to me to resolve my issues?
Every individual’s situation is unique. When you come to visit the office, the ombudsperson will:
- Listen to what you would like to share in the office
- Help you clarify the most important issues
- Help you identify and evaluate your options
- Refer you to relevant information and services on campus
- Explain the policies, procedures, and information related to your situation
- Serve as a neutral party in conflict resolution situations
- Seek a fair and equitable solution to a problem
- Offer coaching and training that prepares you to handle the situation yourself
- Facilitate a two-way conversation for parties in dispute
- Bring the issues to the attention of those with authority to address your concerns
What happens to information provided to the Ombuds Office?
- All the information shared in the Ombuds Office will be kept confidential. The office does not retain any information that would identify parties involved in a dispute.
- The office will document and report the trend of issues to the President annually without reporting the identity of individuals involved
- Here are three exceptions to the privilege of confidentiality:
- When the ombuds believes there is an imminent threat of physical harm
- When Federal and /or State Law mandates the disclosure of details that identify a client
- When there is a legal proceeding with subpoena
What does the ombuds office NOT do?
- Make decisions for anyone
- Replace any administrative functions on the campus
- Serve as an advocate for each party in a dispute
- Serve as a place to put the college on notice of claims
- Represent any college member in any judicial hearings and proceeding unless required by law after reasonable efforts have been made
- Testify in any judicial proceedings, unless required by law after reasonable efforts have been made
What kinds of issues can the office help me?
- Students are welcome to discuss grade disputes, misunderstandings between student and instructor, financial issues, interpersonal conflicts, harassment, discrimination issues and other issues.
- College staff may bring issues related to performance evaluation, promotion and demotion, compensation, disciplines, conflict with colleagues and supervisors, harassment, discrimination issues and other issues.
- Faculty members have sought assistance with course assignments, conflict with students, departmental policies, conflict with colleagues, compensation, harassment, discrimination issues and other issues.