UPUA Legal Clinic to Open Today
After two years of hard work, the University Park Undergraduate Association Office of Student Legal Services is set to open in 135 Boucke Building today. UPUA President Gavin Keirans said, “Last year, we went through a year long process with the student activity fee board to establish funding for this service. This year I have co-chaired the search committee for the selection of the director.”
Under the guidance of Attorney Carolyn M. Larrabee, the office will be able to mount a legal defense for students on a variety of issues, including landlord-tenant complaints and minor criminal offenses. Interestingly enough, the office will not be able to represent students in cases against other students or against the University.
When asked about the best part of the new office, Keirans noted, “The great thing about legal services is that it will not just be advice, but rather actual legal representation. You are going to have an advocate and attorney in your corner.”
Christian Ragland, UPUA Presidential candidate and current UPUA Student Life and Diversity chair, weighed in on the program, observing, “I think there is no better way for [Keirans] to leave his office by having initiatives like this come into fruition… Legal Services, along with other great UPUA initiatives accomplished this year, are the kind of great accomplishments that should continue with the future of UPUA.”
David Adewumi, Ragland’s opponent, supports the program as well. “It’s imperative that students have access to critical needs that they may not be otherwise able to afford — legal, insurance, medical are all examples of those.”
The Office of Student Legal Services appears to be a concrete program from which all students, or at least those that need legal representation, will benefit. These are the types of programs that student government should be doing. It will be interesting in the coming years to see how this service is used by the student body.