BY DANIEL SAENZ
In a college town, regardless of the location, people tend to find themselves in a wide variety of different ways to be in trouble with the law. This could range from DUI’s, Minor in Possession (MIP) charges, or even landlord disputes. Needless to say, students who find themselves in these situations might benefit from having access to legal resources. For this very reason, the Student Government here on campus is offering legal counseling. So how does this work? Connor Mountford, Legislative Affairs Director for the SGA, explained this all.
The free legal counseling service is offered two days a month and it is at the end of the month every month. There is one morning session for three hours and one afternoon session for three hours. They are both broken down into 30-minute time slots. Students here at Fort Hays can go online to the SGA webpage and provide information about their respective situations, what sort of help they need, and what time slot is most convenient for them. Once this is established, a meeting is set up with lawyers.
The services covered are quite broad. Typical hot-button issues are mainly Minor in Possession (MIP) charges or landlord disputes. When asked about how hands-on the lawyers are, Mountford noted the difference between a personal lawyer and the role the legal counselors play.
“They are serving in an advisory capacity. They are not the students’ lawyers and will not be representing them. It is just counseling,” said Mountford. ”If the students need to appear in court, the lawyers will simply refer them to someone else. The program has been in place since last year.”
When asked to comment on its future, Mountford concluded by saying SGA hopes to continue the program.
“We would like for it to be a service that is offered every year and that can be something consistent for our students and a way for us to serve our constituents,” he said.