Understand your rights

Shannen Von Alt

Student Legal Services wants you to know your rights, offers free help

Every student at Kent State University has rights, and Student Legal Services is there to help students understand and know them.

SLS is part of a national organization that works with different universities to advise and represent students in legal matters.

“We are here to help students so they can focus on their education,” SLS Director Carol Crimi said. “We want students to come to us so we can help them face their legal issues, alleviate some of their stress and get back to their studies.”

Every student on campus is eligible to use SLS’ services as long as he or she has paid the legal fee included on the tuition statement. If the fee is waived, the student is ineligible to receive legal service for the semester.

“The $7 fee gives students access to legal advice and representation in court,” Crimi said.

She said the $7 cost is a good deal for students.

“Court costs and possible fines are on the student, but everything else is covered by the fee,” she said.

SLS has two staff attorneys and one paralegal to assist students and provide them with advice and education about their rights and representation.

“Any attorney here will help you as much as they can,” Crimi said. “We will represent you in court and even help with appeals.”

SLS does have limitations on what types of legal matters it can handle.

“We deal in three main areas: misdemeanor crimes, landlord tenant cases and certain civil matters,” Crimi said.

SLS cannot represent students in cases of felonies, immigration, tax issues, bankruptcies, divorce and personal injury.

Crimi said students can receive legal advice in these matters, though.

“While we cannot represent students in certain cases, we can still give them advice and refer them to someone who can help,” she said.

Although SLS is not part of Kent State, it cannot represent students against the university or in university disciplinary actions.

However, SLS can help in most student matters. The most common cases are misdemeanor offenses and landlord issues.

Landlord-tenant cases are very common for SLS to handle, Crimi said. Many different issues can arise for student renters, and knowing tenant rights is important.

“A lot of students do not really know all of the rights afforded to them as a tenant,” Crimi said. “If any student has a landlord issue, it is important for that student to come and see us. We can help.”

To receive legal service, students can call for an appointment to speak with an attorney.

SLS can be reached at (330) 672-9550. Pamphlets about SLS and students’ rights are available in the SLS office, located in Room 118 in McDowell Hall. ÿ

How to deal with police

&bull Never give up your legal rights.

&bull Don’t talk your way out of trouble.

&bull Save your breath for your lawyer or the judge.

&bull You don’t have to give consent to be searched; if arrested, plead not guilty – apply for a public

defender or contact SLS or a lawyer.

&bull You have nothing to lose but your legal rights.

– http://www.dept.kent.edu/SLS/rights.asp

Contact police and courts reporter Shannen Von Alt at [email protected].