President Rule hosts student office hours

On Thursday June 5, students gathered in Student Programs for President David Rule’s first-ever student office hours. Around eight students attended the hour-long session discussing issues ranging from housing to sustainability to transportation.
Acknowledging the impracticalities of the cost of living in Bellevue for students, Rule identified affordability as a primary housing issue for students and employees alike. On-campus housing is one solution being considered though the idea is in its infancy. While outsourcing housing may seem like a sound investment at first glance, Rule points out that this would mean a loss of control for the campus and students. Such would also be the case were the college to outsource food service. While it would be a financial gain to the college, it could possibly lead to employees being laid off, price gouging and total loss of control over menu selections.
Alex Clark, environmental and social responsibility representative, brought up the proposal to include sustainability in the college’s mission statement. Rule stated that he had seen the proposal but that no action or discussion of significance had occurred at the time. In order for the proposal to be implemented, metrics would have to be created in order to measure how well the college was upholding that value.
How high a level of sustainability would be incorporated was an element of the discussion. Were it to be added to the mission, Bellevue College would be ranked overall according to how sustainable it is in addition to other standards.  Rule suggested that the board of trustees may find it to be better-suited in the strategic plan. Clark added that as someone who has worked with the office of sustainability for the past two years, the program has proven to be highly capable, citing the climate award they received and metrics already in place that could measure the college’s sustainability.
Another issue discussed was the impending cuts being made by King County Metro, particularly to the 271. Paul Bell, legislative director of the office of student legislative affairs, cast skepticism on the city of Bellevue’s capacity to fund the 271 to continue stopping on campus. According to Rule, in partnership with the city of Bellevue, the college is considering contributing funds to rerouting buses through the back of campus as a means of increasing accessibility to Eastgate Park and Ride and students This would entail remodeling the road which currently lacks side walks and sufficient lighting among other things.
While faculty and staff pay and tenure were brought up by students, Rule declined to comment due to labor constraints during the faculty and staff contract negotiation process. Students expressed interest in contributing to this discussion to which Rule welcomed any input such as letters and petitions but ultimately declined to speak to the specific outcome of such efforts. Despite there being student representation on the board of trustees, this position is currently barred from having any say or  being present during any matters of employment, negotiations. “I think it’s bogus,” said Rule. Multiple students expressed interest in amending the student trustee position to that of a full member of board, which would require a legislative amendment from the state of Washington.
No time has been set for another office hour between Rule and students. Rule hopes to maintain open lines of communication and figure out a way to most effectively hear from the various stakeholders of the college such as staff, faculty and students.