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Equity at Olympic College

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Olympic College promotes inclusive practices that leverage diverse perspectives, talents, experiences, and cultures as catalysts for educational excellence. We strive to ensure that all members of the College community enjoy equal opportunity and equitable outcomes.

Latest News

April 4, 2017

Remembering the Internment of Our Bainbridge Island Neighbors

March 30 marked the 75th anniversary of the forced removal of 227 Japanese Americans (Nikkei) from their homes in Bainbridge Island, under the 1942 Executive Order issued in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. They were the first of nearly 120,000 Nikkei (persons of Japanese ancestry) on the West Coast to be detained in government internment camps as “enemy aliens,” solely based on their ethnicity.

Commemorating that painful history, a plaque at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial readsNidoto Nai Yoni” − "Let It Not Happen Again." It is a poignant message to future generations not just of the atrocity of injustice, but also of the healing power of community.  Read more...

On a recent visit to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, I was proud to learn of the many local residents who supported their Japanese neighbors during their incarceration. They included Walt and Millie Woodward, whose Bainbridge Review was the only West Coast paper to speak out against the internment; Filipino-American and White islanders who maintained the internees farms and other property during their confinement; and those who welcomed home the handful of Japanese American families who returned to Bainbridge Island.  While many communities were deeply divided by anti-Japanese bigotry during and after World War II, Bainbridge Island serves as an example of the strength that can come from standing together across difference in the face of injustice.

Visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese Amercian Community website to learn about the Memorial.

See how OC’s curriculum is helping to preserve the history of the Japanese settlement Yama on Bainbridge Island

March 16, 2017

Diverse Learning Environments Survey - Aplify your Voice!

OC students, help shape the future of our College by completing the national Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) Survey. Complete the survey and you are automatically entered into a drawing for a one-quarter tuition waiver courtesy of the OC Foundation, and four $50 gift cards for the OC Bookstore. 

The DLE survey asses things like campus climate, diversity efforts, institutional practices and dialogue on diversity. It is a national survey administered by the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute. Through this effort OC will learn more about student perceptions regarding the institutional climate, campus practices as experienced with faculty, staff, and peers, and student learning outcomes. Diverse student populations are at the center of the survey, and the instrument is based on studies of diverse student bodies and the complexity of issues that range from student mobility to intergroup relations.

The survey is available online beginning April 3. 

Feb. 2, 2017

Presidential Equity and Excellence Lecture Series - Barbara Ransby

If you were inspired by the inaguaral OC Presidential Equity and Excellence Lecture featuring Angela Davis, you will not want to miss the next lecture featuring Barbara Ransby. An acclaimed historian, university professor, writer and activist, Ransby's lecture centers on democatizing knowledge and the role of teaching and learning for fostering critical citizenship. This event is free and all are welcome, including students, faculty, staff and the community. For more info, contact communications@olympic.edu.

Event Details

Tues., Feb. 28, 7-8 p.m.
Admiral Theater
515 Pacific Ave.
Bremerton, WA 98337

Jan. 19, 2017

Presidential Equity and Excellence Lecture Series - Angela Davis

The inaugural Presidential Equity and Excellence Lecture was an overwhelming success with more than 800 community members in attendance. Thank you to the many people from the College who helped to make this event a reality. If you were not able to attend, the lecture is being broadcast on Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) according to the following schedule:

  • 1/17       10pm
  • 1/19       5pm
  • 1/25       10am
  • 1/27       3pm

BKAT is on Comcast channel 12 or WAVE channel 3. It will stream on the website at those times, here: http://www.bremertonwa.gov/402/Bremerton-Kitsap-Access-Television-BKAT.

Sept. 22, 2016

The Elephants in the Room: Why OC Won’t Ignore Them

On Sept. 21, anyone walking on the Bremerton Campus in view of the Bremer Student Center, couldn’t help noticing something out of the ordinary  ̶  a giant inflatable elephant looming over an outdoor living room. Onlookers quickly recognized the metaphor, a reference to the unpleasant truths that are too obvious to miss, yet still go ignored. Surrounding the display were a host of staff and student volunteers eager to explain why Olympic College chose this symbolism to give visibility to the “elephants” it is naming and confronting in order to better support student success.


Student Government President Shannon Turner talking #equity4excellence with @olympic_college students.

A photo posted by Olympic College (@olympic_college) on

A Joint Statement on Equity and Inclusion from President David Mitchell and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Cheryl Nuñez

As a community college, Olympic College plays a vital role in the economic, social, and civic life of the communities we serve. By expanding access to postsecondary education and training and strengthening support for student success and completion, we foster the capacity-building that is so fundamental to communal well-being and to democracy itself. In order to fully achieve those purposes, we must redouble our commitment to eliminating barriers based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, sexual identity, class, religion and other group-based distinctions that make access and opportunity a hollow promise.

To fulfill our vision as a cornerstone of learning, we must also draw more fully upon the diversity of cultures, identities, experiences, and talents that exists within and beyond our community as catalysts for the rich and robust exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of educational excellence. All learners benefit from well-designed opportunities in and outside of the classroom to engage perspectives different from their own and to better understand the sociohistorical realities that have shaped their lives and world in which they live.

In an increasingly polarized world, we must ensure that our learning and working environments are safe, welcoming, and conducive to the success of our diverse community. In addition to enhancing our prevention and response to illegal discrimination and harassment, we must address bias, bullying and incivility that undermines student and employee engagement and productivity. We have a shared responsibility to maintain a climate characterized by inclusion and respect, in which all members of the campus community feel valued and empowered to contribute the best of themselves.

We are the beneficiaries of the courageous work of many colleagues, past and present, who have helped to sow the seeds of diversity, equity and inclusion at Olympic College. By strengthening the alignment of our people, policies and processes, and by leveraging our shared values, we will advance and reap the benefits of their efforts and ensure the viability of the College long into the future.

News Release - published June 22, 2015

BREMERTON – Cheryl Nuñez is Olympic College’s first Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. She was hired in May and will begin working at the college later this month

Ms. Nuñez brings extensive experience developing and leading strategic diversity plans in higher education.

“My emphasis as Vice President for Equity and Inclusion will be the students who are at the center of all we do,” she said. “Maximizing their success requires that we function as an inclusive community in which all can contribute fully to OC’s mission and strategic goals.”

As the Assistant to the President for Diversity and Equity and Chief Diversity Officer at Xavier University (2005-2013), she relied on assessment data and broad input to develop the college’s first strategic plan for diversity and many of the tools and strategies necessary to implement it.

Prior to joining Xavier, Ms. Nuñez held a similar role as the Director of Affirmative Action and Multicultural Affairs at Northern Kentucky University (1995-2005). She helped institutionalize multiculturalism in all aspects of college life, while overseeing Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action compliance.

“Cheryl’s experience aligns closely with work we’ve done to include diversity, equity and inclusion in our core themes and strategic goals. This will help us to close a widening opportunity gap while working to ensure all individuals have the ability to achieve their academic goals,” said OC President Dr. David Mitchell.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University and a master’s degree in Educational Foundations from the University of Cincinnati. She will oversee the Human Resource  Services and Communications and Web Services departments, in addition to providing leadership for some of OC’s compliance efforts.

Incoming student body president Drayton Jackson believes Ms. Nuñez will have a positive impact at the college in a variety of ways including hiring.

“What excites me is that she is involved in human resources because it will help spread diversity into the faculty,” he said. “We have a growing multicultural population here at OC and students want to see their diversity reflected in the staff and faculty they see on our campus.”