SGA will now be providing free legal aid to all students on campus. The new services come from Legal Aid of Western Missouri, a non-profit organization that provides help to individuals that are in need and might not have the expenses to hire legal representation.
This is the first program to offer Legal Aid at Western. The idea was proposed by last year by SGA after learning of other legal aid programs on other campuses across the country. After jumping through a few hoops, the legal aid program is now up and running this semester. The program is very new and in its early stages as it officially began March 29.
SGA Executive Vice President Reece Christensen spoke on the convenience that Legal Aid brings to Missouri Western.
“It’s a service to students that they wouldn’t otherwise have. We are giving them easier access to help. There are locations in St. Joseph where you can get help like that, but we are bringing it to campus so it’s here for students.”
Director of Student Involvement Britane Hubbard talked about what SGA hopes to gain from a service like this and what they are doing specifically to help students.
“In general we’re hoping to gain community partnership”, Hubbard said. We are just trying to help students. We want students to get free legal aid. They do one on one sessions every week, but also we do a lecture that we going to try to do monthly next year.”
?Administrative Coordinator for SGA Jessica Frogge talked about what led SGA stepping in and helping students with legal matters.
“The VP of Student Government in 2016-2017 Connor Samenus through the idea around as to what services we could work on to offer students,” Frogge said. “The connection was made with Connor and Legal Aid and they started working together to try to bring legal aid to campus. This can create more a connection between Missouri Western and the St. Joseph community. So anytime we can work together and bring a serviced to students from the community into Missouri Western or outside of Missouri Western it’s a great opportunity.”
Criminal cases cannot be handled by Legal Aid, however they can direct students to assistance and get them help that they need. Cases may vary with the amount of assistance, but help will be appointed no matter the case. Students can make an appointment to have a set time but walk-ins are also allowed.