The Student Government Association (SGA) and the Office of Legal Affairs are joining together to bring free legal advice to APSU’s student body. The free legal clinic will be held in the Morgan University Center ballroom on Jan. 29 from 11-2 p.m.
Students can speak with a lawyer for 10 to 15 minutes about any legal issue they may be facing on a first-come, first-served basis, and registration intake will end at 1:30 p.m.
“I think [the legal clinic] will give students great opportunities to discuss issues they face without pressure from the university,” Brandon Brown, SGA Senator for the College of Education said.
The idea to have real lawyers come to APSU to talk with students was brought to the SGA by Dannelle Whiteside (Vice President for Legal Affairs), according to Sydney Hawkins, SGA President.
“We know students often have legal issues and don’t have the proper resources to resolve them. So, the legal clinic is a creative way to give back to students in areas people really don’t think about, such as legal issues,” Elijah McGhee, SGA Secretary said.
According to a flyer advertising the free service, the clinic is advice-only. The lawyers at the clinic cannot attend court or represent students, and no student will be turned away regardless of the legal issue.
“[The legal clinic] is a great opportunity for people within a legal situation to have a chance to get advice from someone trained in that area,” Janesa Wine, SGA Chief Clerk and Sophomore Senator said.
In addition to the free legal aid clinic, SGA members look forward to addressing student concerns in the new semester.
“As an SGA senator, our main goal is to listen to students’ concerns and work to address those concerns. We love hearing from students and welcome any and all to our meetings on Wednesday nights,” Wine said. “I think I can speak for everyone on Senate when I say we are truly in this for the well being of our campus.”
SGA also wants to have a more notable presence on campus according to McGhee.
“SGA really doesn’t have a concrete plan for the semester but we for sure know we want to strive to be more visible and persistent with the student body,” McGhee said.
Brown also shares in these general objectives and believes that SGA will help better connect students and administration.
“Like last semester, I know our Executive Council and Senate will work hard to allow all students to be heard and work harder to facilitate the interactions between students and the administration to allow Austin Peay to be a more accepting and better university so that students can leave with positive and happy memories of this institution,” Brown said.
Senior Senator Ana C Pla Rosario has more personal goals this semester.
Last semester Rosario submitted legislation that she hopes can be developed further this semester. Her legislation promotes the creation of a fundraising committee to unify the efforts of different organizations on campus that work towards the same goals.
It would also aid in the overall collaboration of departments, groups and organizations in terms of fundraising ideas and events. For her legislation this semester, Rosario would like to do something to commemorate the class of 2020.
“Since I’m a senior senator, I think it makes sense for me to want to do something special. I want to do something that represents this class and that can be a legacy for the following classes,” Rosario said. “I’ve seen how we as SGA members and a generation care about the environment with how last year there were multiple legislations on recycling and the marches for the environment.”
Rosario wants to potentially create this legacy through an environmental project, describing it as an issue that she feels both her fellow SGA members and her generation care about. She cites SGA’s recent legislation on recycling and the marches for the environment as proof of this.
“I don’t have a solid idea but I’d like to do an ecological project, maybe tree plantings or something in that realm,” Rosario said. “I just think any small effort to educate or act in support of the environment would be reflective of what I stand for and, I would say, most of the student body I interact with.”
For more information on the free legal clinic, contact Whiteside at 931-221-7572.
SGA meetings happen weekly Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in UC 307.