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Excerpt from Policy

It is the policy of Bellevue College to provide clear and accurate information, provide accessible services, and offer excellent educational programs and quality service. Students have both the right to receive clear information and fair application of college grading policies, standards, rules, and requirements as well as the responsibility to comply with them in their relationships with faculty and staff members. The purpose of this policy and procedures is to provide a systematic way in which to express and resolve misunderstandings, complaints or grievances about dissatisfaction with college personnel, services, processes or facilities, discrimination or academic issues.

Bellevue College, through its affirmative action policy and general policy on sexual harassment, and in accordance with state and federal regulations, prohibits discrimination against students and employees on the basis of race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, religion, the presence of sensory, mental or physical disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.

Bellevue College employees are responsible for ensuring that their conduct does not discriminate against anyone; they are expected to treat people conducting business at Bellevue College with respect and may expect the same consideration, in return.

The college recognizes that disputes may sometimes arise and encourages the parties involved to resolve the conflict informally whenever possible. If resolution cannot be reached, a formal process provides an impartial and equitable way to resolve those conflicts.


The purpose of this step is to enable an individual to express and resolve misunderstandings, complaints, or grievances at the lowest level possible by speaking directly with the employee or departmental supervisor. The aggrieved person should make an appointment to talk directly with the employee to attempt to reach a mutual agreement. In some situations, such as a discrimination complaint, the aggrieved person may be more comfortable requesting a meeting with the employee’s supervisor, instead. Both parties should be courteous, flexible, and respectful, as concerns are identified and possible resolutions discussed. Both sides should be open to alternative solutions or suggestions. If the problem cannot be solved together, the following formal complaint procedures may be used.


All formal complaints must be made in writing and should include the complainant’s name; student identification number, if appropriate; address; e-mail address; telephone number; time(s); date(s); place(s); complete description of the complaint; and, in the case of grade complaints, both the grade received in the course in question and the reason for the grade complaint, specifying as accurately as possible all necessary performance scores and attendance data.

A. General Complaint Procedure:

An individual who has a complaint about an employee’s performance or behavior that is not discriminatory, or about college services, or processes should go to the Office of the Vice President of Student Services, B231-A, to be directed to the appropriate department, telephone (425) 564-2205, or visit Facilities-related complaints should be taken to Campus Operations, K100, or telephone (425) 564-2376.

Complaints should be filed as soon as possible or within six months after the incident occurs. The Office of the Vice President of Student Services will help the individual determine the appropriate department in which to file the complaint.


If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the administrative unit supervisor, he/she may appeal in writing to the appropriate dean or vice-president within ten days after the date of the letter from the administrative unit supervisor. The person filing the appeal should identify why he/she is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint and provide any additional information to be considered.

     B. Discrimination Complaint Procedure:

Whenever a complaint alleges discrimination or sexual harassment, this procedure should be used rather than the other complaint procedures. Alleged Title IX and Section 503 violations as well as other discrimination complaints will be investigated under this proadvocedure. A student or member of the public who believes he/she has been discriminated against should bring his/her complaint to the Department of Human Resources, A101, or telephone (425) 564-2274. Discrimination complaints should be filed within one year after the incident(s) occurred. The college will act promptly to investigate the complaint and will attempt to protect the rights of the individual bringing the complaint (the complainant), the alleged discriminator, and any witnesses involved. All parties involved have the right to protection from any retaliating behavior by the alleged discriminator or any college employee. All complaints shall be kept as confidential as is reasonably possible during the investigation/resolution process. However, complaints may be subject to public disclosure under the state’s Public Disclosure Act, and therefore the college cannot assure confidentiality to any participant in the process.  


Appeals of any disciplinary action, including any finding that discrimination occurred, may be made through the appropriate employee contract or the student code. If the complainant is not satisfied with the disposition of the complaint, she/he may file a written appeal to the President within ten days after notification of the disposition of the complaint. This request should include any and all additional information s/he wants the President to consider. The decision regarding the appeal, including appropriate corrective measures, shall be made in writing by the President within fifteen days after receipt of an appeal.


Any student, employee, applicant for admission or employment, or member of the public using BC facilities who believes he/she has been discriminated against has the right to bypass the internal college process and file a discrimination complaint with one of the agencies listed below or any other agency with the jurisdiction to hear such complaints. Individuals seeking assistance from state and federal agencies need to be aware that many agencies have strict timelines regarding the filing of complaints.

      Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
      909 First Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104-1061

      Human Rights Commission
      1511 Third Avenue, Suite 921, Seattle, WA 98101

      U.S. Office of Civil Rights
      Department of Education, 915 Second Avenue, Seattle, WA 98174-1099

C. Academic Complaint Procedure:

A student who wishes to express and resolve misunderstandings, complaints, or grievances with faculty members regarding grades, grading issues, or policies in a fair and equitable manner should bring his/her complaint to the appropriate instructional division office.

Students with a complaint or a request for a grade review must file a written request with the appropriate organizational unit administrator (OUA) within two consecutive quarters from the date of the issuance of the grade. The Executive Dean of Instruction may extend the time limits in the process under exceptional circumstances such as extended illness, sabbatical leave, or other absence of either party to the complaint in which case the dean will give reasonable opportunity to complete appeal procedures or reply to the charges before making a decision.

Since the evaluation of the course content is exclusively within the province of the instructor for a particular course, any adjustments or grade changes may be initiated only by that instructor, or under extenuating circumstances, by the Executive Dean of Instruction, upon the approval of the college president. In such an instance, the course grade record shall be coded and indicate “grade changed by administrative action.” The transcript shall indicate “changed by administrative action.”
The OUA shall discuss with the student his/her concerns including the options available to resolve the grade concern. The OUA shall also inform the student that the ASBC vice president of student affairs or another person the student chooses may act as an advocate who will assist the student in completion of the complaint process. The student may waive the right to an advocate.

The student’s written complaint, including remedies sought, shall be forwarded to the faculty member concerned, who must provide a written response within ten instructional days. If the written response does not resolve the complaint to the student’s satisfaction, he/she may submit a written request to the OUA, appeal to the OUA, citing the reasons for disagreeing with the instructor’s response. The OUA shall consult with the instructor and provide a written response within ten instructional days. If the OUA’s response does not resolve the complaint to the student’s satisfaction, the student shall provide a written request that the grievance be heard before the Student Academic Grievance Committee. The OUA will contact the Student Academic Grievance Committee chairperson to convene the Committee.


The Student Academic Grievance Committee shall be composed of four faculty and two student justices. The BCAHE will annually elect one faculty member for the committee who will serve as the committee chairperson for the academic year commencing fall quarter. Two faculty members will be selected from the same or a closely aligned organizational unit of the faculty member against whom the grievance is filed. One faculty member will be selected without regard to organizational unit, but who is sufficiently aware of related discipline issues so as to add professional perspective to the hearing. The two student justices will be appointed by the ASBC president from the ASBC judicial board.

The Student Academic Grievance Committee shall consider the case within ten instructional days of the request for a hearing. All hearings shall be closed meetings of the Student Academic Grievance Committee (to include the student and the faculty member), except that any party to the grievance may have one representative or advisor in attendance. Based upon the evidence and proceedings, the Student Academic Grievance Committee shall provide both findings of fact and a written recommendation of the action to resolve the grievance within five instructional days of the hearing to the Executive Dean. The Executive Dean shall review the recommendation of the Committee and, after consulting as appropriate with the student, the faculty member, and the Committee, shall render a decision. The decision of the Executive Dean of Instruction shall be final.

If the Student Academic Grievance Committee, at any point in its deliberations, finds that the complaint is without merit, the Committee may decide to dismiss the case. The Committee shall notify the complainant and the OUA of its decision. The Student may appeal the Committee’s decision to the Executive Dean.

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