Legal help on campus

<p>Student legal services can provide help with housing inspection forms or waivers for organization-run events. <strong>Unsplash, Photo Courtesy</strong></p>

Student legal services can provide help with housing inspection forms or waivers for organization-run events. Unsplash, Photo Courtesy

Receiving help from Student Legal Services


What to bring

Student ID card and number.  

Services offered

SLS offers counseling, referrals, preventative education and acts as a legal resource center.

Where to go

Lower level of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, room L-17.  

Hours

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Student Legal Services (SLS) is a free resource offered to Ball State students with services ranging from criminal to civil law, according to the Ball State website. It can provide students with documents such as roommate agreements and housing inspection forms.

The most requested service fluctuates year-to-year, season-to-season, said the SLS Attorney John Connor.

Connor said he thinks fewer students were partying during the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore, his office dealt less with criminal misdemeanor issues. SLS has focused more on risk management and preventative education in recent years, he said, and he often helps student organizations draft releases and waivers needed for university events.

Despite marketing these services at freshmen orientation and at resource fairs, Connor said students often only find him after running into a problem. When he interacts with parents at resource fairs, Connor said they say, “My son or daughter won’t need a lawyer.”

However, SLS isn’t just a resource to dig students out of trouble. The office offers preventative resources that help students avoid making mistakes, Connor said. He encourages students to “view [SLS] as a resource that can be utilized more frequently than it is.” 

Among preventative education resources in the SLS office, students can find a legal guide and pamphlets on domestic violence, debt management, off-campus housing rights, identity theft, financial responsibility, power of attorney and Indiana’s comparative fault/negligence statute. 

Connor can help students prepare for small claims court and offers students a list of referrals to local attorneys to represent them in civil or criminal court where necessary. He said he talks with Muncie and Indianapolis-area attorneys to negotiate discount rates for student clients.

“If I send someone to a lawyer and they’re not happy, I want to know about it and that way, I can weed out the lawyers who don’t do good work for my students,” Connor said. “I’ll typically give students three or four names and I encourage them to call and ask the open-ended question: ‘What do you think you can do for me and how much will you charge me?’”

Connor encourages students to speak with him before sending out personal identification information, signing leases or studying abroad. Talking with SLS can help solve any hypothetical problems while abroad and can help prevent both identity theft and overpaying. 

To seek counsel from legal services, students generally must schedule an appointment in person.

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