SGA seeks to provide legal aid
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10
Through a new proposal, the Student Government Association will provide students with easier access to area attorneys who will be able to assist with a variety of different legal matters.
The proposal, formally called the Student Legal Resource Partnership, is a combined effort between SGA, the Greek Council and the Office of General Counsel to expand legal resources available to students.
Jessica Borcky, president of SGA, said the Office of General Counsel will provide SGA with a list of attorneys who would be willing to represent students. SGA plans to put information about the list, which will include contact information for the attorneys, on its website, Borcky said.
Borcky said the list is not only important to help students gain legal assistance if they are in trouble with the police but in other situations as well.
Borcky said the partnership is progress toward making legal assistance a reality for students. The Office of General Counsel is working on compiling a list of attorneys who are willing to participate in the program.
“This will provide students with a valuable starting point in discovering an attorney,” Borcky said. “I think this is a step in the right direction for expanding legal resources for students. This partnership provides students with the opportunity to discover legal resources within the area.”
Students could call the SGA president in order to access the list of attorneys or simply come into the SGA office, Borcky said. The Office of General Counsel is working toward updating the list of attorneys which would slightly delay the start of the program which is slated to start spring semester.
Senior Kye Cho, president of the Greek Council, was also heavily involved in the proposal’s inception. He said the partnership was not a result of the I’m Shmacked events that occurred in September. Rather, he said it was more so a result of long-needed legal resource service that would make students feel more comfortable seeking legal assistance.
“I think there always has been a need for legal services,” Cho said.
Cho said he does not believe there will be a problem with finding lawyers who are willing to assist students. In fact, there may be even more who are willing to help than are needed, Cho said. He said he thinks the list will benefit not only students but also the university.
Both parties, the university and the student body, benefit when students are successful, Cho said.
Cho said he hopes this is just the beginning of growing legal awareness on campus. Greek Council is also looking into starting awareness programs on campus, Cho said, that would help students become more knowledgeable about their legal options when needed.
“I think it’s a very important resource for students,” Cho said. “I hope to see this agreement continue to grow to more than just a list of attorneys. Law awareness will contribute to students to be not only successful in college but after as well.”
Junior McKensie Walker said she hopes that other programs like this will be available in the future, especially if they cater to all students.
In its current incarnation, the partnership may favor off-campus students more than on-campus students, especially because it deals primarily with landlord-tenant problems, Walker said. She said those types of problems would never occur to a student who is living on campus.
“If the university is spending their money on that, I don’t think it’s right,” Walker said. “It really only affects the people off campus in that case.”