About Us

Nicki Purnell, Administrative Assistant 3

The Administrative Assistant for the Office of Student Life is a:

  • Receptionist for all telephone and email communications to the department.
  • Auxiliary support-person to Ami and Michael.
  • Resource for Western students.
  • Point of contact for faculty, staff, administrators, students, and family members to receive behavioral or safety concerns regarding students.

Nicki joined the Office of Student Life in October of 2022. Prior to her career at Western, she spent six years working in environmental regulatory consulting, and one year in social services. Her administrative background started in the private sector, working with small business to large corporate clients in the pesticide industry. It continued to direct service for individuals in need of rental assistance during the COVID 19 pandemic for a local non-profit. Now it leads her to Western, where she is excited to work with students, staff, and faculty alike!

Ami Ostman, Case Manager/Conduct Officer

The Case Manager/Conduct Officer for the Office of Student Life is a:

  • resource and liaison for Western students.
  • primary point of contact and liaison for faculty, staff, administrators, students, and family members to receive behavioral or safety concerns regarding students.
  • active member of the Student Care/Concern Team and assisting in coordinating multi-department response to behavioral or safety concerns involving students.
  • conduct officer for administering the Student Conduct Code.
  • one-on-one advisor to students to assist in their understanding of institutional policies and processes (including academic grievances, incomplete grade contracts, and general petitions).
  • case manager for students experiencing significant difficulties, sharing guidance regarding University and community services.

Ami Ostman joined the Office of Student Life as Case Manager/Conduct Officer in September of 2022. Prior to this, they served as a Career Counselor at Cascades Job Corps Center, working with a rotating case load of approximately 60 students to navigate college degree and industry recognized credential attainment in the fields of Healthcare and Information Technology. Ami earned their MS in College Student Personnel Services from Western Illinois University in 2016. As a graduate student, they coordinated the Accommodated Testing Facility for the Disability Resource Center as well as coordinating events through practicum work in The Center for the Study of Masculinity and Men’s Development. Ami has experience in working with Student Governance and Residential Living. They received a BS in Psychology from Washington State University in 2014 with a second major in Women’s Studies. They were selected as the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies’ Distinguished Senior for their graduating class.  Ami is a member of NASPA, NaBITA and ASCA. Their professional involvement and training includes:

  • Sexual Assault Response Team, Cascades Job Corps, 2016-2022
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Cascades Job Corps, 2017-2020
  • Recognizing and Responding to Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Skagit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, 2018
  • NABITA Case Management Standards and Best Practices September 2022
  • Husch Blackwell Annual Title IX Training for Coordinators, Investigators and Title IX Team Members October 2022 & July 2023
  • UndocuAlly Training, October 2022
  • Counseling and Wellness Center, Restorative Justice and Sexual Assault: Local Survivor Perspectives and Practices, April 2023.  Under Michael Sledge heading, in the top bulleted list, please add as a new bullet after the third existing bullet:
  • Provide leadership for the institution’s basic needs efforts for students;

Michael Sledge – Executive Director – Student Life


Michael is responsible for overseeing the Office of Student Life and the Office of Off Campus Living, as well as:

  • Serving as a resource and liaison for students, parents, faculty and staff to assist students in crisis; 
  • Facilitating the efforts of the Student Care/Concern Team, a cross-disciplinary group of Western professionals including leadership from Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Residence Life, Disability Access Center, Prevention & Wellness Services & University Police;  
  • Facilitating the efforts of the Violence/Sexual Violence Consult Team, a cross-disciplinary group of Western professionals including members from CASAS, Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, & Residence Life; 
  • Overseeing the student conduct process at Western including serving as the Dean’s designee in many student conduct appeals, and orienting appeals board members and facilitating appeals board meetings for suspension/expulsion level violations of the Student Conduct Code; 
  • Supervising the Office of Student Life. 

Michael began serving in the Office of Student Life in October 2012. Since then, he has worked with the Dean of Students’ Unit’s Cultural Competency work through 2020, supervised a Garrett Lee Smith suicide prevention grant, led a full revision of the Student Conduct Code in 2016, and created strong relationships with faculty in working to support students. 

Michael is a member of NASPA and ASCA. He has previously worked as the Assistant Director for Residential and Dining Services (2008-2012) at the Evergreen State College, and before that worked at Western in several roles including the University Residences Conduct Officer (2001-2008), Orientation Coordinator in New Student Services/Family Outreach (1999-2001) and Resident Director (1996-1999). Before that, he graduated from the University of Iowa with an MA in Higher Education Administration and a BA in English. 

Michael’s professional involvement at Western and elsewhere has included the following:  

  • Member, Washington State Postsecondary Basic Needs Work Advisory Task Force, 2021-23
  • NaBITA Behavioral Intervention Teams Standards & Best Practices, August 2 & 3, 2022
  • ATIXA Title IX Hearing Officer and Decision-Maker training, August 8 & 9, 2022
  • Husch Blackwell Annual Title IX Training for Coordinators, Investigators and Title IX Team Members, September 2020 & September 2023
  • Member, Structural Equity and Bias Response Team, August 2020 – present
  • Member, President’s Council on Equity, Identity & Social Justice, 2019-20
  • Washington State Government-to-Government training, Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, July 9, 2019
  • Certified QPR (Question Persuade Refer) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor, November 2017 – November 2020
  • Coalition for Academic Integrity, fall 2012 – present
  • Division Assessment Resource Team, fall 2012 – present
  • Emergency Management Committee, fall 2012 – present. Training includes FEMA Emergency Management Institute IS-100, 200, 300, & 800
  • Sexual Misconduct Institute, Association for Student Conduct Administration, March 26-28, 2018
  • Supporting Survivors/Being Trauma-Informed, Karen Burke, DVSAS, October 2, 2017
  • A Trauma-Informed Approach to Working with LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Violence, Northwest Network training, winter 2016
  • Investigation of Sexual Misconduct & Adjudication, & Title IX Overview, D Stafford & Associates, spring 2016
  • NaBITA Advanced Violence/Risk Assessment, summer 2016
  • ASCA (Association for Student Conduct Administration) Investigator Training, May 7, 2015
  • Campus Accountability and Safety Act: Implications for Student Conduct Practice, Association for Student Conduct Administration, April 12, 2015
  • Steering Committee Member, Campus Community Coalition, Bellingham-Western Washington University, 2007 – 2009, & 2012 – 2016
  • Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence, August 2002 – December 2006 & November 2012 – November 2014
  • Washington State Higher Education Conference on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Council of Presidents, October 30, 2014
  • Campus Title IX Investigator Training – NCHERM.ORG, University of Puget Sound, WA July 30-31, 2012
  • Co-presenter, Assessing Barriers for Transgender/Gender Non-conforming Students, NASPA Annual Conference, March 12, 2012

Office of Student Life staff regularly review professional ethical guidelines and best practices, and are regularly evaluated through performance reviews.